Sonos Roam White – Sonos Roam is Sonos’ most focused, calculated product. It’s a small $169 speaker that’s designed to compete with the portable Bluetooth speakers that people so often carry around without a second thought. But it’s also designed to match the Sonos multi-room audio platform and showcase the versatility that comes with it. In fact, excluding co-branded speakers that Sonos makes with Ikea, Roam is now the cheapest way into the company’s ecosystem.
The Roam supports hands-free voice commands, supports Apple AirPlay 2, includes wireless charging and has a rugged design that lets you use it almost anywhere. A lot is going on with this speaker; Sonos only releases a few new products each year, so they all have to deliver. So let’s check how the Roam compares to speakers of a similar size and whether it should replace what you have now.
Sonos Roam White
At 6.61 inches tall, the Roam is shorter than popular Bluetooth speakers like the UE Boom 3 and JBL Flip 5. And at less than a pound, it’s light enough to throw in a backpack or bag. The boom is bigger all around: you can almost fit a Roam in it. The Megaboom 3 UE and the new JBL Charge 5 increase the size advantage, while their price is still close to the Roam. Going up, you will reach real giants like UE Megablast. For this review, I’ll keep it simple and focus on speakers that are similar in size to the Roam.
Sonos Roam Tips: How To Stereo Pair, Tv And Surround Sound Support, And More
The Roam retains what has become the standard Sonos aesthetic, with hundreds of precision-drilled holes in the speaker. But it is
Cylinder-style speaker that records sound in all directions. The Roam has a curved triangular shape that naturally emits sound both forward and upward when placed horizontally. It comes in either black or white and I noticed that when black is in bright light you can see a hexagonal pattern behind the holes. This PCB is there for design reasons but is not really visible on the white speaker.
This is the first Sonos speaker to achieve an IP67 dust and water resistance rating. According to certification standards, this means that it should survive up to 30 minutes in water that is three feet deep. In practice, this means that you can use the Roam in the bathroom while showering and near swimming pools without having to worry about damage. However, it’s probably a good idea to keep it on the float if you insist on bringing it into a deep pool. This speaker does not float. Yes, I checked.
I was also able to drop my two review units a few times and they came away with only minor blemishes and a few nicks that you really have to hunt to notice. I classify it as awkwardness; it does not have a built-in handle like Move, but in general the curved shape of a triangle is easy to hold. Both sides of the Roam have silicone plugs for added durability. From what I’ve seen, it should be able to withstand being dropped from a bike and the wear and tear of being a truly portable speaker.
Sonos Roam Review: Portable Potential
There are controls on the top (vertical) or left (horizontal), which are actually click buttons under the silicone instead of the usual capacitive sensors that Sonos usually uses. Choosing real touch buttons for this product was absolutely the right decision. They are easy to feel and difficult to press accidentally. There are four buttons: play / pause, two to control songs, and a microphone button to turn on or mute the built-in microphones, which are used for voice assistant commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
There’s a USB-C port and a power button on the back of the Roam. In addition to wired charging, you can also boost the speaker with any compatible Qi pad it fits on. My Anker dual charger handled this task well. Sonos also sells a wireless charger that connects magnetically to the Roam, but I haven’t had a chance to test it. The included USB-C to USB-A cable is nicely angled on the Roam side so it won’t get in the way no matter how it’s oriented. Neither the cable nor the Sonos wireless charger are waterproof, so you need to keep them dry. If you are in a hurry, be sure to use the cable; Sonos says that with wireless charging it takes “about two hours” for Roam to charge wirelessly, compared to “about an hour” when plugged in. More powerful chargers can shorten both times.
Now let’s move on to the main program: sound quality. Sonos has built a good reputation with its previous speakers, but the question is whether the company can make a good name with such small and portable speakers. All I can say is that the Roam is one of the cleanest, nicest portable speakers I’ve ever used. Others, like the UE Boom 3, can be muddy and lacking in depth. Their sound and articulation do not stand out much.
Roam’s priority seems to be ensuring that the texture and vibrancy of the music is conveyed with maximum clarity. The vocals sound crisp and the strings in classical music are lush, off key. The instruments come out with a natural tone. Like other Sonos speakers, the Roam offers automatic room optimization called Trueplay, and Sonos says it constantly adjusts to optimize sound for whatever environment it is. an acoustically challenged room. (Automatic Trueplay works with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming music.)
Sonos Roam (white), Audio, Portable Music Players On Carousell
Let’s face it: while Sonos claims Roam is “against expectation,” it can’t defy physics. It’s a relatively small speaker and perhaps the best sounding in its size class, but it has weaknesses. At the top of this list is bass, which doesn’t quite match that of the Sonos One and is soundly beaten by the much larger, heavier Move. Even the slightly larger JBL Flip 5 has a firmer bass that gets noticeably louder than the Roam. It can also be louder. Larger Bluetooth speakers like the UE Megaboom and JBL Charge 5 will almost certainly beat the Roam with bass response, but I don’t find that surprising.
Low-level resonance – you will feel the vibration if it is on the table – but it is clear that the company has chosen balance over the explosion factor. The Roam can do so much when you use it in an open space outside with no walls to bounce the sound off of. Turns loud without much distortion, but can’t achieve the same fullness as Move. This is when you really turn up the volume that you’ll want to add some energy. This is not a partisan speaker.
Using two Roams simultaneously as a stereo pair brings out even more detail, and the bass also benefits from two of them playing together. There is no better stereo party, and two Roams cover a bedroom or living room with music better than just one. Unfortunately, the stereo assembly process can be laborious. You have to do this manually in the Sonos app each time. This makes sense because you have to choose which speaker is on which side. But I wish there was a button shortcut for faster stereo pairing – or at least an appeal when you turn on the second Roam that asks if you want to pair them, rather than leaving both alone by default.
Much to the frustration of some Sonos customers, the Roam does not allow stereo pairing when listening via Bluetooth. That’s the case with the Movo as well, but considering how much Sonos boasts about the portability of its new speaker, it feels awkward on the company’s part. This can present engineering challenges, but other Bluetooth speakers like the UE Wonderboom 2 can already connect to each other as a stereo pair without the need to use the app. Stereo Bluetooth may be an important reason why some people have two Roams, but currently this feature does not exist.
Sonos Roam Review: A Super Portable Speaker That Melds Into Your Existing Sonos Setup
At least introduced some new migration tricks when using it at home. The first is called Audio Swap, which lets you quickly switch the sound from the Roam to whichever of the other Sonos speakers is closest. Just hold the play button for a few seconds and the currently playing music skips. Repeat this process and the sound will return to Roam. In my experience so far, this has worked well, and Sonos cleverly tries to find the nearest speaker. When you activate Audio Swap, all speakers briefly emit a high-frequency sound that your ears can’t hear – but Roam can. When you go outside, Roam does a solid job of automatically pairing with your phone when you’re out of Wi-Fi coverage.
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