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Sonos Roam Assessment: Transportable Powerhouse



The primary new Sonos speaker of the 12 months is the agency’s smallest and smartest but. Right here’s our full Sonos Roam evaluate.

The Roam is a really transportable Bluetooth speaker that also works over Wi-Fi within the house as a part of a wider Sonos system. It follows the Sonos Transfer, which was the agency’s first Bluetooth speaker. However the Transfer’s 3kg weight and hulking dimension imply it’s not the simplest factor to remove from the house and backyard.

Effectively, the Roam fixes that downside and brings different options to the desk, reminiscent of wi-fi charging, making this speaker extra accessible. It places Sonos in additional direct competitors with the likes of Bose, Sony and UE.

Design & Construct

On the earth of Sonos, the Roam is tiny. It’s simply 1/sixth the scale of its huge brother, the Transfer, standing at 168mm tall and weighing solely 430g.

The Roam doesn’t have to face on its finish, however that is the orientation that makes probably the most sense. It takes up much less area and the buttons are on the top so it’s lots simpler to make use of them. Moreover, the wi-fi charging is on the alternative finish – I’ll discuss this extra later.

Its triangular form with rounded corners jogs my memory of the beautiful Kef Muo and I really like the way in which you’ll be able to see, if the sunshine is nice sufficient, the honeycomb construction behind the outer mesh.

It was initially obtainable within the typical choices of Shadow Black and Lunar White however Sonos now presents the Roam in three different colors at no additional value: Olive, Sundown and Wave.

The rubbery ends are grippy and concave to keep away from unintentional button pushes and the buttons are conventional somewhat than touch-sensitive. One additional button on the again is for energy and manually switching to Bluetooth.

Because the Roam lacks the standard be a part of button discovered on different Sonos audio system, the setup course of is a bit totally different. It takes longer, however the app guides you thru it no downside.

The LED subsequent to the microphone signifies its standing however there are two additional LEDs on the entrance, making issues a bit complicated. The one by the Sonos emblem is a standing mild for connection, mute and errors whereas the one on the different finish is devoted to energy and cost.

The form makes it simple and cozy to select up and may assist it keep away from rolling over in case you put it on its facet. There are additionally 4 little rubber toes for this orientation. Sonos has improved the sturdiness in comparison with the Transfer, upping the IP ranking from IP56 to IP67.

That’s as excessive as many flagship telephones and means it’s totally dust-proof and might be submerged in 1m of water for as much as 30 minutes. The Roam is pool party-ready.

Sound High quality & Options

Contained in the Roam is a ‘customized racetrack’ mid-range driver, together with a tweeter. These are powered by two Class-H amps and as typical, Sonos doesn’t state specs like a frequency vary or related. 

The essential factor is that the Roam sounds nice, providing significantly better sound high quality than you’d anticipate for a speaker of its dimension.  

Just like the Transfer, the Roam options automated Trueplay so it can retune itself each time you progress it. It’ll even do that on Bluetooth. As talked about earlier, you’ll be able to place it upright or on its facet relying on the place you’re utilizing it. 

The quantity of heat, wealthy bass the Roam is able to producing is astonishing and it’ll fill a median UK front room with out breaking 50% quantity stage. It’s additionally first rate outside, projecting effectively, though the Transfer is extra suited to this, particularly in case you’re having a giant get together. 

Whereas the bass does barely dominate, the mid-range remains to be true to kind and there’s sufficient top-end treble to maintain issues well-rounded. 

Issues do get a bit muddled whenever you actually push the quantity stage up however I can’t say I’ve ever examined a speaker this dimension that doesn’t have the identical downside. It’s unlikely you’ll have to push it past about 70% anyway, the place it nonetheless sounds nice. 

When you don’t discover that the Roam fits the music or different audio you’re taking part in by means of it, you’ll be able to all the time regulate the bass and treble ranges within the Sonos app. 

There is a new characteristic known as Sound Swap. While you’re at house (and produce other Sonos audio system), you’ll be able to long-press the play button on the Roam and the music will mechanically switch to the closest speaker. You too can do the reverse and pull it from a speaker in case you’re, for instance, heading out into the backyard. 

It really works very effectively and feels a bit magical, though there is usually a slight delay for the music to maneuver. 

An increasing number of Bluetooth audio system are getting ‘sensible’ within the sense that they assist digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Notice that that is restricted to whenever you’re on Wi-Fi, although, as are issues like making a stereo pair in case you get two Roams. 

The exception is that Siri works when utilizing AirPlay 2 however it’s a disgrace you’ll be able to’t use your telephone’s knowledge connection for digital assistants and even hands-free calls. That is attainable as a result of the B&O Beosound A1 (2nd-gen) can do each. 

It just about goes with out saying however simply in case, the Roam can’t be used as rear encompass audio system with a Sonos soundbar. Nor can or not it’s used with a Sub. 

Battery Life & Charging 

Regardless of being a lot smaller than the Transfer and having a battery half the capability (18Wh), Sonos has nonetheless managed to supply as much as 10 hours of battery life from the Roam; that’s just one hour lower than its greater brother.

In my testing, you will get the marketed 10 hours however the battery stage isn’t all the time indicator of lifespan. After a few hours of utilization, the battery had dropped to 90% (suggesting 20 hours), then after three hours it was right down to 80%. 

Whilst you’ll get quantity of playtime, rivals do provide lots longer, with some lasting greater than twice as many hours. 

Relating to charging, the Roam doesn’t include a base just like the Transfer. As an alternative, it has a USB-C port on the again with as much as 15W charging. Solely a cable is provided within the field. 

For the primary time on a Sonos speaker, there’s wi-fi charging. You need to use it with any Qi-certified system or get the official Roam Wi-fi Charger which is IP54 and snaps on with magnets. 

I haven’t examined it, however it’ll be actually helpful in case you don’t have already got a suitable wi-fi charger. It’s a little dear at £44/US$49 contemplating it presents 0-50% cost in two hours, so a less expensive one in your desk/bedside desk that’ll even be good in your telephone is likely to be a better option. 

Discover a wi-fi charger right here and study how we check audio.

Value 

The Sonos Roam is priced at £179 or US$179 which implies it’s lots cheaper than the £399/US$399 Transfer. It was the most affordable Sonos speaker at launch however a value hike in September 2021 means it is the identical value because the One SL. 

You should buy it from Sonos or John Lewis within the UK. The official retailer presents a two-pack however with no low cost. 

Within the Bluetooth speaker market, it sits in between rivals such because the £129 Marshall Emberton and B&O Beosound A1 (2nd-gen) at £200. It matches £179 Bose SoundLink Revolve II.

It’s a formidable value level contemplating that is way over only a Bluetooth speaker. You may take a look at our greatest Bluetooth audio system chart to see the way it stacks up in opposition to rivals. 

Verdict

General, Sonos has carried out an excellent job with the Roam by providing one thing way more compact and cheaper than the Transfer.

Whilst a straight Bluetooth speaker it fares effectively in opposition to rivals on design, value and sound high quality. 

Nonetheless, you are going to want to make use of the Roam on Wi-Fi at house as effectively to totally take advantage of it. And ideally with different Sonos audio system, too.

On this state of affairs, it is probably the most well-rounded and versatile speaker I’ve ever examined. You may arguably fill your own home with Roams plugged into low-cost chargers to create an inexpensive Sonos multi-room setup.

It is fashionable, compact and has a intelligent multi-orientation design that is additionally IP67. Add issues like wi-fi charging and Sonos unique options like Sound Swap and it might do greater than rivals.

Actually, the one complaints I’ve relate to battery life, solely as a result of rivals last more, and the way in which Bluetooth is proscribed to streaming regardless of the potential of doing extra – like utilizing it for calls or your telephone’s digital assistant.

Specs
Sonos Roam: Specs

2x Class-H digital amplifiers

1x mid-woofer

1x tweeter

Quad-core 1.4GHz A-53 processor

1GB SDRAM

Twin-band 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 5.0

Apple AirPlay 2 (iOS 11.four and better)

18Wh battery, 10 hours per cost

USB-C port 15W (for charging)

Wi-fi charging (Qi-certified)

Far area mic array

Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa

5x buttons – playback, quantity up, quantity down, mic, energy/Bluetooth

3x LED

IP67

168 x 62 x 60mm

430g

Shadow Black, Lunar White

About the author: SubSellKaro

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