Sonos Roam – TEST: Superb!

Sonos Roam is the name of Sonos’ smallest and most affordable speaker to date. Apart from the Symphonic speakers which are made in collaboration with Ikea and which are sold through the latter.

Roam is the company’s second portable speaker and costs less than half of the Sonos Move launched in 2019, and perhaps it marks the start of more affordable speakers from the popular manufacturer of multi-room speakers, which have a reputation for being a bit expensive.

Small and handy

Sonos Move plays phenomenally and the build quality has little to say, but some of the disadvantages of Sonos’ first portable speaker is that it is large, heavy (three kilos) and has a relatively high price tag of just under 4000 kroner.

With its three kilos, it was not just to throw Move in the bag and take it to the park or on the beach, but you can do it well with Roam whose weight stops at 430 grams – which is equivalent to the weight of barely two iPhone 12 Pro Max.

In terms of size, the Sonos Roam is also modest, 16.8 x 6.2 x 6 centimeters – in other words much more portable than its big brother / sister Move.

Sonos Roam on the left and Sonos One SL on the right. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
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Roam otherwise has a simple and stylish design, which does not differ significantly from other portable speakers in the same class, and comes in the color options black and white.

The front consists of a gingerbread patterned speaker grill that extends slightly around the sides of the speaker. Here are also two of Roam’s total of three indicator lights: one showing battery status and one showing speaker status, which lights up blue when Roam is connected to a device via Bluetooth.

At the back of the speaker you will find the charging port – Roam also supports wireless QI charging – and the power button, which you also use to put Roam in pair mode.

The box comes with a USB-C cable, with USB-A at one end, for charging, but not charging block. Sonos recommends a power adapter of at least 10 watts, which you probably already have for your mobile. You can also buy an official Sonos power adapter for 149 kroner, or the company’s wireless Roam charger for 499 kroner.

You can nicely place Roam both standing and lying down. The latter makes it stand more stable on a level surface, while the standing one may do best on a sideboard or on a shelf.

The top panel has buttons for volume, microphone and pause / play. It has a rubberized surface, and the same goes for the bottom.

In the app, you can also turn off both the status light and the touch buttons, if you wish.

At the top you will find buttons for volume, microphone and play / pause. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu

At the top you will find buttons for volume, microphone and play / pause. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
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Setup

Like the other Sonos products, getting started with Roam is easy. If you are a former Sonos user, you will probably see Roam appear automatically in the pairing app when you turn it on. If not, you can add it manually by clicking “Add Product” under System and following the on-screen instructions.

In fact, Roam has an NFC chip so you can plug your phone against the speaker to connect.

If you are a new Sonos user, you must first download the app and then create a user to get started.

Like the Move, the Sonos Roam also supports Bluetooth so you can use the speaker on the go when you are out of range of your WiFi network. You pair Roam with your mobile by holding down the power key until you hear a beep and search for a new device on your mobile.

TEST: Enormous improvement in TV sound

Features

One thing Android users with Sonos envy iPhone users is support for Sonos Trueplay, which adjusts the speaker’s soundtrack to the room it’s located in.

With Sonos One and Sonos Arc, for example, you set up Trueplay by moving around the listening zone and swiping the phone up and down while the speaker plays various sounds to register the sound in the room, and adjusts the soundscape accordingly.

Move and Roam, on the other hand, have automatic Trueplay, which uses the speaker’s microphones to adjust the sound image without the need for an additional device.

Not only does it want Android users to have fun, but it is also very beneficial as Sonos Roam and Move are portable speakers that many will move around, and then it is nice that the sound picture is on top at all times.

On the back of the Sonos Roam you will find the USB-C charging socket and the on / off button. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu

On the back of the Sonos Roam you will find the USB-C charging socket and the on / off button. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
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Trueplay depends on Roam’s microphones being turned on, but you can do that without activating a voice assistant. Roam also supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

If you do not see the benefit of Trueplay, you can disable the feature in the Sonos app, and here you will also find an equalizer where you can adjust the bass and treble.

Sonos Roam also has a new feature, called Sound Swap, which means you can press and hold the play / pause button to send the sound to the nearest speaker in your Sonos system, but we have not actually achieved this to work.

On the other hand, the function works by pressing and holding the same button on another Sonos speaker to play the same sound on it as well.

You can also connect two Sonos Roam together as a stereo pair, but so far do not use them as rear speakers with, for example, Arc. Note that stereo pairing does not work in Bluetooth mode.

Test: Brilliant from Ikea + Sonos

Water-resistant

Like the Move, the Roam also falls into the “outdoor speaker” category. Move is, for the sake of order, “only” IP56-certified, which means that it is dust and water-repellent, while Roam’s IP67 certification means that it is dust and waterproof.

Admittedly, the certification means that it is only waterproof down to a maximum of one meter depth and for a maximum of 30 minutes, but that means that it can withstand a proper rain shower or can play music immersed in water.

WATER WATER: Yes, you can swim well with Sonos Roam. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
WATER-RESISTANT: Yes, you can swim well with Sonos Roam. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
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Plays very well

Sonos Roam is equipped with one midwoofer and one tweeter powered by two digital class-H amplifiers.

In familiar Sonos style, we think Roam has a good and well-balanced sound image out of the box, without us feeling an immediate need to touch the EQ to fine-tune the bass and treble.

However, we have activated loudness, which increases the frequency ranges to, among other things, bass when listening at low volume, as well as automatic Trueplay, which we feel does best indoors.

The soundscape can in many ways be reminiscent of the Sonos One, without the extra omphen and the depth that the larger speaker delivers. You undoubtedly get the most and best sound for the money with a Sonos One, but Roam’s uses extend beyond the desktop model.

SONOS ROAM: Stylish design. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
SONOS ROAM: Stylish design. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
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Battery life

Sonos writes that Roam has a battery life of 10 hours when playing music, which fits well with our experience, and can be in sleep mode for 10 days before it runs out of battery.

10 hours is in most cases more than good enough, but Sonos Roam falls short in competition with competitors. For example, UE Boom 3 which plays for 15 hours, ie 50 percent longer.

Like the Move, the Roam also goes into sleep mode when it is left unused for 10 minutes and the charger is not connected.

To stream to a Roam that is in sleep mode, you must either use the Sonos app or turn on the speaker manually. Spotify Connect does not work when Roam is in sleep mode.

LANDSCAPE AND PORTRAIT: You choose how you place the Sonos Roam. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
LANDING AND STANDING: You choose how you place the Sonos Roam. Photo: Martin Kynningsrud Størbu
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Conclusion

Sonos may have seen what Apple has probably realized as well. Namely that customers want cheaper speakers in a market that is starting to get very saturated.

Roam is Sonos’ most affordable speaker to date, and is the the speaker we were actually waiting for after testing the Move. Under half price, much smaller, low weight and IP67 certification, and that the sound is more than good for intended use – size taken into account.

In the familiar Sonos style, the sound image is good and well-balanced out of the box, and automatic Trueplay means that the sound is always at its best, as long as you do not play over Bluetooth.

Other things you lose over Bluetooth are the ability to control the music with your voice and you can not pair two Roam via the technology named after the Danish Viking king Harald Bluetooth.

– Supports WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spoitfy Connect and similar services
– Well-balanced sound image
– Support for a variety of power services
– Easy to set up
– IP67 certified
– Small and neat

– Some childhood diseases
– Does not support voice assistants in Bluetooth mode
– Weaker battery life than the competition

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