Sonos, an American developer, and manufacturer of wireless home audio products have officially announced its latest speaker today, the Sonos Roam. It is a portable battery-powered speaker priced at $169 with Pre-orders starting today, and it will go on sale on April 20th.
The Sonos Move, the company’s first try at a portable product, was quite large and hefty actually to travel with. However, the Roam is a true “bring it anywhere” speaker. It’s the smallest speaker that Sonos has ever made, having dimensions of 6.61 x 2.44 x 2.36 inches and weighing 0.95 pounds. Sonos reportedly considered “hundreds” of different sizes and prototypes before settling on this design. The big question is whether the Roam can live up to Sonos’s reputation for good sound quality with this dimension.
Sonos has packed the Roam with “two Class-H amplifiers.” There’s a tweeter for high frequencies and a “custom racetrack” mid-woofer — similar in shape to what’s in the Arc soundbar — that “ensures faithful playback of mid-range frequencies and maximizes low-end output.” Sonos says that the Roam is not a 360-degree design like some Bluetooth speakers, as it fires audio where it makes the most sense.
Here’s how everything fits together:
Sonos is also bringing automatic Trueplay to the Roam, where it will use its built-in microphones (also there for the purpose of hands-free Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands) to calibrate performance based on its surrounding environment. This can make a real difference in echoey rooms and other different environments. Two Roams can be set up over Wi-Fi as a stereo pair over Wi-Fi but not over Bluetooth.
According to a report by The Verge, “unlike the Move, which gave you the options to choose between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes, the Roam takes advantage of both connections at once.” It’ll connect to your Wi-Fi network automatically and then repair your phone (also automatically) once it’s away from home.
Connecting to both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi at once will allow you to play a song from your phone or another device nearby to the Roam over Bluetooth — and that music can then also be extended to the rest of your Sonos multi-room system. Apple’s AirPlay 2 is also supported and you can play audio from a ton of services through the Sonos mobile app as always.
On a full charge, The Roam provides up to 10 hours of audio playback, and a USB-C charging cable comes in the box. Sonos is also selling a wireless charging stand which the Roam can attach to magnetically — but you can also use any Qi wireless charger that will fit the speaker when it’s standing up. The Roam can last for up to 10 days of standby time, when not in use.
“The speaker has silicone at both ends to help protect it when dropped. It’s rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, so it can survive baths in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.”
Sound Swap is another fun feature in the Roam. Just hold the play/pause button on the top for three seconds, and any other Sonos speaker in your system is closest will receive the music that’s playing on your Roam. “The way Sonos achieves this is clever: when Sound Swap is activated, all of your Sonos speakers will emit a high-pitched frequency that people (and dogs, I’m told) can’t hear. This is how the Roam figures out which one is nearby.”