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Sonos is finally jumping into the world of portable speakers. The company has announced the new Sonos Move, a $399 speaker that works with Sonos’ current Wi-Fi-based system but also includes the ability to connect to devices via Bluetooth. It comes with an internal battery, which is good for up to 10 hours of playback, and a charging base to keep it charged while at home. The Move will be available for preorder today, September 5th, with retail availability starting September 24th.
Wireless Sonos Speaker
At nearly 10 inches tall and weighing more than six and a half pounds, the Move is larger than the Sonos One, making it easier to carry than the typical UE Boom Bluetooth speaker. So Sonos designed a handle right into the Move’s plastic shell to make it easy to pick up and move from room to room or out of the house. The charging base, which has two pogo pins that line up with contacts at the end of the move, gives the speaker “home” when not in use, ensuring that it is charged and ready to go when you need it. If you’re traveling and need to charge, there’s also a USB-C port on the back.
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The larger footprint of the Move provides more volume and power than the Sonos One. It is equipped with two Class-D amplifiers, which drive a single tweeter and mid-woofer driver. Sonos says the Move is powerful enough to handle sudden volume drops that happen when you’re playing music outdoors. The Move also has an IP56 water and dust resistance rating, and the company says it’s tough enough to withstand drops, rain and humidity, sand and dust, and other elements that can be encountered when the speaker is taken outdoors.
The Move is also the first Sonos speaker with automatic TruePlay tuning, which allows the speaker to adapt its sound to its environment. With previous Sonos speakers, TruePlay tuning required walking around the room with an iPhone or iPad while beeps were played from the speaker to “map” the room. The Move can use its own microphone to adjust the sound in about 30 seconds of playback, which is easier than the previous method and convenient for speakers who will move from one place to another regularly. Sonos says this will come to other speakers with a microphone in the future.
The Move’s battery is also replaceable: the company says it should be good for up to 900 charges (or about three years of use), and will sell replacements for those that can be replaced if needed. Charging the battery takes several hours, but the Move can last up to five days between charges in low-power “pause” mode when not in use.
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Of course, all these features are in service because you can use the Move outside the house, which is not possible with other Sonos speakers. That’s mostly thanks to the battery and the new Bluetooth 4.2 function, which allows you to pair your phone, tablet, laptop, or other device to the Move like you do with any other Bluetooth speaker. Sonos says there’s no clear difference between listening to music over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the speaker is smart enough to remember the last device you connected to when you switch to Bluetooth mode using the button on the back.
The Sonos Move has buttons on the back to change modes and an included charging base for charging.
Like the Sonos One, the Move has a remote microphone for voice control via Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.
Wireless Speaker Stands For Sonos Play:1 And Play:3
Sonos says the Wi-Fi radio and antenna included in the Move are the most powerful they’ve ever used, so if you’re just moving the speaker from inside the house to the porch, it should be able to use your Wi-Fi. . -Fi for that, without having to pair via Bluetooth. When on Wi-Fi, the Move is similar to the Sonos One: you can pair two units in stereo; control with the Sonos app, Spotify Connect, or Apple AirPlay 2; and use your voice to command Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant via Move. This feature is not available when the device is in Bluetooth mode. (You can’t use the Move as a Surround speaker. Sonos says it’s useful for portable speakers.)
As for why Sonos launched its portable speakers, CEO Patrick Spence says there are a number of factors, including development resources, available technology, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the company’s culture is resistant to dedicated Bluetooth. Developing support for other protocols helps companies prepare products that don’t rely on Wi-Fi. “Supporting AirPlay helps us get comfortable with delivering a Sonos-like experience over wireless protocols other than Wi-Fi,” Spence said. “We also have to deal with battery technology, which is also new for us, because we always work in situations where you can mount the speaker to the wall”.
The company has also standardized the technology used in its products, which has never been done before. Although each Sonos speaker has its own tuning and design, many lessons learned from developing volume controls and other features for previous speakers can be easily implemented. Spence says that using the same hardware, such as processors and memory, in all products also makes it easier to develop software that works with everyone.
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In short, the Sonos Move probably wouldn’t exist if the company hadn’t developed the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam, which use the same processing hardware and have the same capabilities, just in different form factors.
The Move likely won’t be the last or only Sonos speaker with Bluetooth or portable features. This is just the first time. Spence said that one of his goals when he came to the company in 2017 was to speed up the cadence of new products, and he said that the team is working on more products at the same time than ever before.
But the Move is the first Sonos speaker you can take out of your home, and despite its hefty price tag compared to typical Bluetooth speakers, it’s sure to find plenty of fans among the Sonos faithful. We’ll be spending more time with the Move as we review it, so stay tuned.
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