Sonos is one of the best-known audio companies in the world, and it seems to be on the verge of launching a new portable Bluetooth speaker, after details of the so-called Sonos Roam were leaked.
According to an inside source who spoke to The Verge , the Sonos Roam will be available on April 20 for $169 (around £120 / AU$220) – and with a Sonos launch event coming up on March 9, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to see if these claims are legitimate.
Alongside the price and release date, the source also revealed press photos of the new Sonos portable speaker, which back up previous reports that the brand is looking to release a smaller, cheaper version of the Sonos Move, coming with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
A subsequent leak has revealed even more details about the upcoming smart speaker, including some key features.
Meanwhile, a previous FCC filing (Federal Communications Commission) spotted by The Verge described a device that uses a wireless charging base, but requires less power than the company’s Move speaker.
We’ve known for a while that Sonos is releasing a new product this month. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence divulged in a call with investors that the brand would be releasing a new product in March, and while we initially though this could be the first Sonos headphones, everything is pointing to a Sonos Roam announcement on March 9.
While details of the next Sonos speaker are still to be confirmed by the company, there are a few features we can glean from the latest leaks and the FCC filing – as well as lots of things we’d love to see from the Sonos Move follow-up.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The Sonos Roam, a new portable speaker.
- When will it be released? April 20, 2021.
- How much will it cost? It’s rumored to cost $169 (around £120 / AU$220).
Sonos Roam release date
- Sonos Roam launch date: Sonos has an event on March 9
- Sonos Roam release date: rumors suggest it could be April 20
Sonos has yet to confirm the existence of a new wireless speaker, but a recent leak from someone with “direct knowledge” of the Sonos Roam suggests it will be released on April 20, 2021.
We’re expecting to hear an announcement from Sonos sooner than that though, after the company’s CEO has revealed that a new product is coming in March.
That’s according to a conference call between Spence and investors. In the call, which was transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Spence said that the company remains committed to launching “at least two new products per year”, and that “we are excited to introduce our newest product next month”.
The FCC filing for a new Sonos speaker also suggests that a release date could be imminent. Details of the original Sonos Move leaked shortly after its FCC filing was discovered (model number S17), so the new Sonos Roam (S27) may well follow a similar path.
Sonos Roam price
- Sonos Roam price tipped to be $169 (around £120 / AU$220)
According to the source behind the latest leaks, the Sonos Roam will cost $169 (around £120 / AU$220).
While that sticker price is still a bit high for a portable Bluetooth speaker, the Sonos Roam could in fact be the cheapest Sonos speaker on the market, undercutting the Sonos One SL which costs $179 / £179 / AU$269.
It’s also cheaper than Sonos’ first portable smart speaker, the Sonos Move, which costs $399 / £399 / AU$649 – a price that puts it firmly at the top end of the Bluetooth speaker market; but it earns this price tag with its array of Sonos smarts and powerful audio.
Sonos products are usually very expensive, and while that’s often justified as a result of their fantastic audio performance and multi-room capabilities, it means joining the company’s ecosystem is out of reach for many.
It’s a shame that Sonos Roam will likely still be fairly expensive, but if it doubles up a smart speaker as well as a Bluetooth speaker, it could still represent great value for your money.
Exclusive: this is the Sonos Roam, coming in April for $169 https://t.co/7NGKfKS4Jb pic.twitter.com/FIBEjW3S8TMarch 4, 2021
Sonos Roam design
The Sonos Roam will apparently be available in two colors (black and white), like other products from the company.
It’s set to be much smaller than Sonos’ previous portable Bluetooth speaker, the Sonos Move, with a (sort of) cylindrical build that’s reminiscent of the Ultimate Ears Boom 2.
How small will it be? Per the report by The Verge, the Sonos Roam measures in at 6.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches and weighs around 1lb, bearing a slight resemblance to a stage monitor speaker thanks to its rounded, triangular shape.
On the top of the speaker is a control panel with buttons to adjust your music playback, which seems to be made from a rubberized material. Though it’s hard to say for sure from the photos alone, this could be an indication that the speaker will come with waterproofing (something confirmed by the report).
The original Sonos Move is IP56 rated, which means it can withstand a coating of sand or dust, as well as a drop into a swimming pool, but boosting this to an IP67 rating for the Sonos Roam would make it a serious competitor for waterproof speakers such as the UE Wonderboom 2 and the JBL Flip 5. The leaks we’ve seen so far suggest the Roam is fully protected against water and dust.
It doesn’t look like there’s any kind of carrying handle, which could lead to issues with portability – though if the Sonos Roam is as light and compact as the report suggests, this won’t be a huge problem.
New Sonos speaker features
Like the Move, it sounds as though the Sonos Roam can connect with your Wi-Fi network when you’re at home, functioning just like any other regular Sonos speaker, and be taken out of the house and paired with your phone like a regular Bluetooth speaker.
However, the Sonos Roam is reportedly able to work with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – so it could reportedly transfer playback to your wired Sonos system when you get back home, using a feature that is apparently called Sound Swap.
Another rumored feature is the ability to control an entire Sonos Wi-Fi system over Bluetooth through the Roam, so you could connect to all of your speakers over Bluetooth, with no need for the Sonos app.
The Sonos Roam is also said to be coming with the same Auto TruePlay feature that the Sonos Move has, so it’s going to be able to adjust its audio output based on the acoustics of the room that it’s placed in.
Additionally, the speaker will be fully waterproof and will last up to 10 hours per charge, per The Verge. When it comes time to charge, the Sonos Roam will come with a charging cable inside the box, but the source claims that there will also be a separate charging dock available to purchase for $49 (around £35 /AU$60) as well.
Testing diagrams within the FCC filing show that the speaker will be accompanied by a wireless charging dock, and will offer Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) connectivity. That means it will be the first speaker to support Wi-Fi 5.
The filing also reveals that the new speaker will use less power than the Sonos Move, backing up claims that it will be smaller.
Making a smaller version of the Sonos Move makes sense. At close to 3kg, while it is possible to lift the current Move speaker with ease, you wouldn’t want to carry it around for too long.
However, the size is a necessity due to the large driver magnets that power the sound, and it’s a fair trade to make for the audio quality delivered. You can expect a smaller version to include smaller drivers and, perhaps, a less powerful sound as a result.
Sonos Roam: what we want to see
While details of the new Sonos speaker are still hazy, we can still present a list of a a few features we’d love to see from the Sonos Move successor.
Better dust- and water resistance
To start, we’d welcome an improvement to the water- and dust-resistance rating, particularly if the new speaker is to be more portable than its predecessor.
The original Sonos Move is IP56 rated, which means it can withstand a coating of sand or dust, as well as a drop into a swimming pool. Boosting this to an IP67 rating would make it a serious competitor for waterproof speakers such as the UE Wonderboom 2 and the JBL Flip 5.
Compatibility with a home cinema system
We’d also love to see a new Sonos speaker that can be used as part of a home cinema system, particularly if it’s on the cheaper side.
It isn’t possible to use two Sonos Move speakers as rear channels for you system, which Sonos claims is down to sync issues and the potential for a directional soundtrack to lose its focus if the speakers are placed incorrectly in a room.
This a shame, since having a wireless speaker that’s both portable and can be used to boost your TV’s audio is certainly compelling – and we’d have thought that Sonos’ Trueplay technology, which uses onboard accelerometers to detect movement, would be capable of addressing this.
Bluetooth 5 upgrade
Another feature that we’d welcome is an upgrade to Bluetooth 5, which would allow for pairing over longer distances and a more stable connection. The current Sonos Move only supports Bluetooth 4.2, which is slightly outdated now.
More color options
Finally, we’d love to see a few more color options for the new Sonos speaker.
Releasing a mini portable speaker is a great opportunity for Sonos to play around with different color palettes and finishes – although, based on the company’s preference to date of a black and white aesthetic, we’re not sure that this is likely, and the recent Verge report suggests the Sonos Roam will also adhere to this color scheme.