A Comparison of Sonos Portable Speakers

by Paul Joseph  |  Published December 28, 2022

Whether you’re on the move around the house, or around the world, Portable speakers allow you to play music or other audio content wherever you are, encumbered by wires.

(Photo: Sonos)

When it comes to choosing the right portable speaker for your needs, there are a number of factors to consider, such as functionality, look and price. And if you’re plannning to take one with you while travelling, then size is likely to be important, too. But the one consistent metric is that buying off a reputable manufacturer is a good guide to quality. American audio makers Sonos are one of the biggest names on the market and among their product range are two portable speakers. We’ve compared them both below.

Sonos Move

Sonos’ first ever portable Bluetooth speaker launched back in 2019 and quickly gained widespread acclaim. Larger than most other portable speakers on the market, the Move is designed to be transported between rooms and into the garden, rather than, say, taken to the park, pool or beach. But it’s the functionality and sound quality where Move really comes into its own. The speaker boasts both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, so you can stream tunes to it offline from a phone or tablet, or over the internet. It comes with a USB-C cable complete with charging base and its battery is also swappable should you need to replace it.

Other features of note include Auto TruePlay technology, which uses the speaker’s microphones to measure the frequency response of its surroundings and adjust the sound accordingly. So, if you move the speaker from a bookshelf to a coffee table, for example, it will recalibrate to its new surroundings to give you the best audio experience possible. The Move is available in black or white.

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Sonos Roam

The first thing you’ll notice about the Roam is how much smaller it is than the Move. It’s distinctive ‘toblerone’-esque triangular shape also catches the eye, and its diminutive size makes it extra light, too.  The main similarities  between the two spakers start and end at functionality, with both featuring Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, a USB-C cable, a swappable battery, and Auto TruePlay technology. But there are plenty of new features on the Roam, most notably automatic switching between WiFi and Bluetooth, meaning when you leave the house it can connect to a Bluetooth device without you having to initiate pairing.  ‘Sonos Swap’ is also new to the Roam, letting you ‘hand off’ whatever music the Roam is playing to another Sonos speaker (the nearest to it) by long-pressing its play/pause button.

As for sound, that’s probably the main point of difference. While the Roam shares the same broad sonic character as the Move, it unsurprisingly sounds much smaller. In essence, while the Move is designed to fill a large lounge or garden with weighty sound, the Roam is designed more for picnics at the beach or park, where listeners will be sitting quite close. But it’s the ability to pop it in your bag, or even a large pocket at a stretch, that’s enough to swing the verdict for many consumers. The Roam is available in a choice of 5 colours.

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