Sonos Roam review: Can this wireless speaker really deliver high-quality sound anywhere?

Audio & Video Accessories

While the Sonos Roam is an ideal companion for the beach or pool, you can also use it while taking a shower or bath.

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Sonos Roam speaker review

With the combination of music streaming services, smartphones and Bluetooth speakers, listening to music on the go is simpler than ever. However, finding a Bluetooth speaker that meets our expectations of quality sound and portability is not always an easy feat.

Sonos claims to have the solution with their lightweight and portable speaker, which supposedly delivers the clarity, depth and fullness you would expect from a much larger speaker. The Sonos Roam transitions seamlessly from home to on the go by automatically connecting to your network when you’re home and pairing with your phone when you’re away. 

To see if the Sonos Roam portable speaker delivers high-quality sound anywhere, we put it to the test. Here’s what we found. 

What is the Sonos Roam?

The Sonos Roam is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a plethora of high-end features. You can use it on the go as a wireless speaker or slot it into your Sonos surround-sound system. It’s waterproof, dustproof and drop-resistant, so you can feel confident about bringing it along wherever you go.

How we tested the Sonos Roam

Our tester experimented with the Sonos Roam in indoor and outdoor conditions, pairing the speaker with different devices. They explored the sound quality with different types of music and various volume settings. Our tester has used other Sonos products as well as traditional Bluetooth speakers. 

How to use the Sonos Roam

When receiving your Sonos Roam, the first thing you want to do is turn it on by pressing the power button on the back of the speaker or plug it in using the USB cable. Setting up the Sonos Roam starts by downloading the Sonos S2 app and connecting it to your home Wi-Fi. Only after you’ve done this can you pair the speaker to your device over Bluetooth. 

You’ll want to add a product to the app, which will require you to enter the eight-digit code on the bottom of the speaker. After the speaker is set up and connected to Wi-Fi, you can add your voice assistant, either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and turn on automatic Trueplay.

While the app is essentially a control panel for the Sonos Roam, the speaker also has touch controls if you don’t have your phone nearby. In addition to turning the wireless speaker on and off by holding the power button for 5 seconds, you can put the Roam on standby to save battery by pressing it for 1 second, or press it for 3 seconds to pair with your Bluetooth device. 

The play/pause button can play or pause a song when touched once, skip a track when touched twice and replay a track when touched three times. Press and hold the play/pause button to group Sonos speakers around your home or hold even longer to use Sound Swap. There are also convenient volume controls.

Key features of the Sonos Roam

While any wireless speaker can be advertised as portable, the Sonos Roam is also a dustproof, drop-resistant and waterproof speaker — making it truly capable of withstanding any adventure. It’s built with shock-absorbent materials and has an IP67 dust and water resistance rating, meaning it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

In addition to Bluetooth, Sonos Roam can connect to your home Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi capabilities give this speaker more features than Bluetooth-only speakers. One of those features is being able to use Wi-Fi when you’re at home. Plus, the Sonos Roam speaker automatically connects to your Wi-Fi network when you’re at home and switches to your device when you’re on the go, so you don’t have to do it manually. 

One convenient feature of this portable speaker is that it’s voice-enabled, allowing you to use Google Assistant or Alexa to control your smart home devices or set timers. With Apple AirPlay 2, users can also play music from their iPhone, iPad or Mac, and even ask Siri to turn up the volume from that device. However, it’s important to note that you must be connected to your Wi-Fi to use the voice assistant. 

Sonos Roam has Trueplay tuning technology, which means it continually adapts the sound for your surroundings and the content by using its built-in microphones. This feature can be used on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Since this speaker can sit upright or horizontally, the sound also adapts to its orientation.

Sonos is known for their whole-house sound systems, so no Sonos speaker would be complete without being able to integrate into your Sonos system. This feature makes it convenient if you’re entertaining on the patio and indoors, so all your music will be synced. You can mix and match speakers to fit your home and even switch from one speaker to another with the touch of a button using Sonos’ Sound Swap feature.

Other best wireless speakers

Here are a couple of comparable wireless speakers to consider.

 

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

With 360-degree sound, 20-hour battery life and a waterproof exterior, the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 portable speaker is up for any adventure.

Sold by Amazon

 

JBL Charge 5 Waterproof Portable Speaker

JBL Charge 5 Waterproof Portable Speaker

The JBL Charge 5 features 20 hours of playtime and a built-in power bank to charge your device without taking a break. It comes with a protective case.

Sold by Amazon

Sonos Roam price

The Sonos Roam retails for $179.

Where is the Sonos Roam sold?

Sonos Roam speaker

You can buy the Roam speaker directly on the Sonos website.

Sonos Roam benefits

We appreciated that the Sonos Roam is durable, waterproof and dustproof, lending itself to any outdoor activity we’d planned. We took our Sonos Roam with us while golfing, and it withstood a dusty environment and falling out of the golf cart several times without losing functionality or interrupting our music. We could take this speaker with us anywhere and never worry about it getting dropped, wet or dirty. 

Setting up the Sonos Roam was straightforward. We didn’t have any trouble connecting our speaker and never once lost our connection, even when we wandered across the yard.  

The sound quality is excellent, and we believe it’s clearer and louder than similar lightweight, portable speakers we’ve used. For example, we were listening to music in our backyard one evening and were a little concerned the music would be too loud for our neighbors. 

We were most impressed with the Trueplay feature and noticed how it adapted the music to our different surroundings. Another feature that makes the Sonos Roam stand out from other Bluetooth speakers is the ability to integrate it into your home sound system.

Sonos Roam drawbacks

While the battery doesn’t have the longest life compared to other Bluetooth speakers, we used the Roam all day and it never ran out of battery. However, Sonos claims the Roam has 10 hours of battery life, whereas other comparable speakers have up to 20 hours. 

We didn’t like that the speaker required but didn’t include a 10W power adapter, which most people don’t have lying around their house. You can use a wireless charger with the Sonos Roam instead, but that’s also an additional cost. 

Should you get the Sonos Roam?

Based on our experience, we think the Sonos Roam can deliver great-quality sound on the go. It’s durable enough to handle any adventure, is easy to set up and delivers audio you would expect from a much larger speaker. We recommend the Sonos Roam to anyone looking for a speaker to integrate into their Sonos home system or a way to bring their music with them anywhere.

 

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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