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Sonos Roam Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed May 12, 2021 at 10:18 am
Sonos Roam Picture
6.3
Music
6.2
Videos/Movies
7.2
Podcasts
8.5
Voice Assistant
6.6
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
Yes

The Sonos Roam is a portable speaker that comes with built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant. It offers a fantastic voice assistant performance, as it can hear your commands even if you're far away or in a noisy setting. It also comes with the Trueplay room correction feature, so audio reproduction is automatically optimized based on the unique acoustic characteristics of your room. With this feature turned on, it has a neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for lots of different audio content. However, like most small speakers, it doesn't get very loud, and it struggles to reproduce a deep, thumpy low-bass.

Our Verdict

6.3 Music

The Sonos Roam is acceptable for music. It comes with a Trueplay room correction feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of the room you're listening in. With this feature on, it has a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different genres of music. There are even bass and treble adjustments available to help you customize its sound. However, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing for some listeners.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Trueplay room correction feature.
Cons
  • Lacks some low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
6.2 Videos/Movies

The Sonos Roam isn't bad for videos and movies. Thanks to its balanced mid-range, it can reproduce clear and accurate dialogue. However, it lacks low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Its latency with iOS devices is also low enough to be suitable for watching videos, though you might notice a delay between your audio and your video with an Android device. That said, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Low AirPlay latency.
Cons
  • Lacks some low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
7.2 Podcasts

The Sonos Roam is decent for podcasts. Thanks to its balanced mid-range, it can reproduce voices clearly and accurately. It's both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible, so you can wirelessly stream podcasts from your mobile device to the bar. However, it doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts at max volume, which can be disappointing.

Pros
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
8.5 Voice Assistant

The Sonos Roam is amazing for voice assistants. It has Google Assistant and Alexa built-in, and you can use them over a Wi-Fi connection. The voice assistants can hear your commands clearly, even if you're far away or in a noisier environment. There's even a microphone mute button for when you don't want the assistants to hear you.

Pros
  • Mic mute button.
  • Excellent far-field performance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
6.6 Outdoors

The Sonos Roam is fair for outdoor use. It has a lightweight, portable design, and it's very well-built. It's even rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. However, it doesn't get very loud, and there's compression present when you play your audio at max volume. Also, its 5-hour battery life may not be suitable for long days on the go.

Pros
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Rated for impact resistance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • 5.1-hour battery life.
  • 6.3 Music
  • 6.2 Videos/Movies
  • 7.2 Podcasts
  • 8.5 Voice Assistant
  • 6.6 Outdoors

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Sonos Roam is a simplistic and discreet speaker that you can place either horizontally or vertically. It's available in both 'Black' and 'White'.

9.4
Design
Portability
Volume
39 inยณ (632 cmยณ)
Weight
0.9 lbs (0.4 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Sonos Roam is incredibly portable. It's small and lightweight, so you can easily carry it with one hand. Also, since it's battery-operated, you can use it outside without worrying about plugging it into an outlet.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Yes (IK rating unspecified)
Floats In Water
Unspecified

This speaker has an amazing build quality. The speaker is mostly plastic, including the grille that covers its sides. The end caps are made of silicone. Its materials feel pretty solid and durable, and it's even rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. The manufacturer also says it's drop-resistant, but there's no IK rating specified.

8.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
Yes (Physical)
Additional Controls
Yes

The Sonos Roam's controls are impressive. There's a play/pause button that you can hold to pair the speaker with another Roam speaker. You can double press this button to skip to the next track and triple press it to go back to the previous one. You can even swap audio between your speaker and other Sonos products by holding the Roam close to the other device and holding the Play/Pause button. Also, you can hold the Power button to activate Bluetooth pairing. There's also a microphone button that lets you mute/unmute for the voice assistant, as well as Trueplay tuning.

There are also audible chimes when you adjust the volume and when you reach max volume, which is handy. Additionally, the microphone light and the status light turn different colors based on their status.

Design
In The Box

  • Sonos Roam speaker
  • USB-C to USB-A charge cable
  • Manuals

Sound
6.7
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.06
Std. Err.
3.58 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
62.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.0 kHz

The Sonos Roam has fair frequency response accuracy. It comes with a Trueplay room correction feature that automatically adjusts audio reproduction when you move the speaker. With this feature turned on, the Roam has a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. However, like most small speakers, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. There are also bass and treble adjustment features in the app to help you customize its sound to your liking.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.1
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
3.49 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The Sonos Roam has a mediocre soundstage performance. Its directivity is good, especially for a speaker that doesn't have a 360-degree design, resulting in a soundstage that's pretty open and spacious, though a bit uneven. It also has to downmix stereo content to mono to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive.

5.3
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
83.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
4.26 dB

This speaker has a disappointing dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts present when you play it at max volume. It may not be suitable for use at parties or in large rooms.

Active Features
5.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
5.1 hrs
Charge Time
3.4 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C

The Sonos Roam has a middling battery performance. The manufacturer says it should last for ten hours off of a single charge, but it only lasted for five hours in our tests. Fortunately, there's a power-saving feature that automatically shuts the speaker off after 15 minutes of inactivity. You can also press the power button to activate Sleep Mode to help conserve its battery. However, battery life can vary depending on usage, so your experience may vary.

Note: The manufacturer says that you can also charge this speaker using any Qi-certified charger. However, since this is sold separately, we don't test for it.

9.4
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
Built-in (Wi-Fi Only)
Google Assistant
Built-in (Wi-Fi Only)
Siri
No
Voice Activation
Yes
Microphone Mute
Yes
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Great

The Sonos Roam has a fantastic voice assistant performance. It has both Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, and it can understand you clearly even if you aren't very close to the speaker. You'll need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network, as the voice assistants don't work via Bluetooth. There's also a mic mute button available if you don't want it to listen to you.

9.3
Active Features
App
App Name
Sonos S2
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The Sonos S2 app is incredible. There are bass and treble adjustments available to help you customize its sound more to your liking. When connected to Wi-Fi, you can also use the app to create a stereo pair with another Roam speaker. You can also pair multiple units together for a party or to play audio across different rooms of your home. However, these features aren't available over Bluetooth.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

This speaker can't be used wired. There's a USB-C port, but it's just for charging the speaker.

7.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Bluetooth iOS Latency
117 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
201 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

This speaker has decent Bluetooth connectivity. You can only pair it to one device at a time, which can be a bit limiting if you like to switch your audio source frequently. It has low latency when paired with iOS devices, so your audio and video should be in sync. However, it doesn't perform as well with Android devices, so it may not be suitable for watching movies over this connection. That said, different apps can compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

8.3
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 5
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
-2 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

The Sonos Roam has great Wi-Fi connectivity. It supports Apple AirPlay 2, and it has low latency, so it's suitable for watching videos over this connection. Unfortunately, it doesn't have Chromecast built-in.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sonos Roam is available in 'Black' and 'White'. We expect both color variants to perform similarly. We tested the 'Black' model, and you can see the label here.

If you come across another version of this speaker, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Sonos Roam is a very lightweight, portable speaker with built-in support for Google Assistant and Alexa. Like the Sonos Move, it comes with the Trueplay room correction feature to help optimize audio reproduction based on the room you're listening in. However, since it's smaller than the Move, it doesn't get as loud, and it can't reproduce a very extended low-bass.

See our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best Sonos speakers, and the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers.

JBL FLIP 5

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Sonos has built-in voice assistant support over Wi-Fi, and it offers an incredible voice assistant performance. It also comes with a room correction feature as well as bass and treble adjustments. However, the JBL has a longer battery life, though battery can vary slightly depending on usage.

JBL Charge 4

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Sonos is better-built with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. It comes with bass and treble adjustments and it supports voice assistants. However, the JBL has longer battery life.

JBL Charge 5

The Sonos Roam and the JBL Charge 5 are similar speakers, though they have different strengths. The Sonos is smaller and more portable than the JBL. It has outstanding voice assistant performance and comes with bass and treble sliders you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. However, the JBL can get louder than the Sonos with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It can be paired to two devices at once via Bluetooth and has outstanding battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage habits, so your real-world experience may differ.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose SoundLink Revolve or the Sonos Roam. The Sonos is better-built, with a better voice assistant performance. It also supports Wi-Fi and comes with bass and treble adjustments for sound customization. However, the Bose has a better soundstage performance and a longer battery life.

Apple HomePod mini

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The Sonos is more portable and better-built, and it also gets louder. Its voice assistant performance is better, and it has bass and treble adjustments. Also, it supports Bluetooth. However, the Apple has a better soundstage performance.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is a better speaker for most uses than the Sonos Roam. The Bose gets louder, has a better soundstage performance, and longer battery life. However, the Sonos offers a better voice assistant performance, and it's more customizable thanks to its bass and treble adjustments.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Roam or the Bose SoundLink Revolve II. The Sonos has a better voice assistant performance, and it comes with bass and treble adjustments for sound customization. However, the Bose has a better soundstage performance and longer battery life.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

Depending on your preferences, you may like either the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 or the Sonos Roam. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, gets louder, and has longer battery life. Its soundstage performance is better, too. While it comes with a graphic EQ and presets, the Sonos has bass and treble adjustments. The Sonos has a more neutral sound out-of-the-box, and it also supports voice assistants.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is better than the Sonos Roam. The Bose has a better soundstage performance and a more extended low-bass. It also gets louder. However, the Sonos is better-built, and it comes with a room correction feature.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the Sonos Roam. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, and it gets louder and has longer battery life. Also, its soundstage performance is better. While the Sonos comes with bass and treble adjustments, the Ultimate Ears has a graphic EQ for sound customization. That said, only the Sonos supports voice assistants.

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is a better speaker than the Sonos Roam. The Move can get louder, and it has a more extended low-bass. It also has a longer battery life, though this can vary slightly depending on usage. However, the Roam has a smaller and more portable design, which some users may prefer.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 or the Sonos Roam. The Sonos has built-in voice assistant support over Wi-Fi, and it comes with more sound enhancement features, including room correction and bass and treble adjustments. However, the Ultimate Ears has a better soundstage performance, a longer battery life, and it gets louder. It's also advertised to float in water, though we don't test for this.

Sony SRS-XB33

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB33. The Sonos has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it supports voice assistants. While it comes with bass and treble adjustments, the Sony has a graphic EQ for sound customization. Also, the Sony supports stereo content and has longer battery life.

JBL Clip 4

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4. The Sonos has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it gets louder. It also has a companion app with bass and treble adjustments, and it supports voice assistants.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker for most uses than the Sonos Roam. The Anker gets louder and supports stereo content. It also has longer battery life. While the Sonos comes with bass and treble adjustments, the Anker has a graphic EQ for sound customization. However, the Sonos has a better voice assistant performance, and it's better-built.

JBL Xtreme 3

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Roam or the JBL Xtreme 3. The Sonos has a more portable design and it supports voice assistants. It also comes with bass and treble adjustments for sound customization. However, the JBL supports stereo content, gets louder, and has longer battery life.

Sony SRS-XB43

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Roam or the Sony SRS-XB43. The Sonos is more portable and better-built, and it supports voice assistants. It comes with bass and treble adjustments, while the Sony has a graphic EQ for sound customization. Also, the Sony supports stereo content, gets louder, and has longer battery life.

Sony SRS-XB23

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB23. The Sonos is better-built, has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it supports voice assistants. While it comes with bass and treble adjustments, the Sony has a graphic EQ for sound customization. Also, the Sony supports stereo content and has longer battery life.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 or the Sonos Roam. The Sonos is better-built with a better voice assistant performance. However, the Anker has a better soundstage performance, longer battery life, and a graphic EQ.

IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf overall, though you may prefer one over the other depending on your listening habits. The Sonos is an incredibly portable Bluetooth speaker with outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. It also has better directivity, resulting in a more open-sounding soundstage. That said, the IKEA can produce a deeper low-bass than the Sonos. It can also get louder with fewer compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volume settings.

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