Sonos Roam – An Honest Review

Update Apr 24th – After 1 week of using Sonos Roam, this product has stopped working. It just cannot be switched on. I shall update this post once the tech team has resolved this issue.

I am among the first batch of consumers in Singapore to receive Sonos Roam after more than a month of waiting through pre-order. TLDR – It is a superb product with great sound quality supported by innovative technology. It is especially fun and useful working in conjunction with other Sonos products. Yes, you can bring it outdoor and play sound through Bluetooth. After one week of usage, Roam has stopped working and cannot be switched on. There may be quality issue especially with the first batch that you may need to be aware off.

Sonos Roam compared to Sonos One SL. Same price, different purposes.

The Sonos Ecosystem

When it comes to Sonos, it is always about building it up slowly by modules if you have a budget constraint (or when you want to test out the suitability of the products). My first Sonos product was Playbar. The sound was amazing. Then I added a Sonos Sub. I love the punchy bass. After that, I have added a Sonos One SL for my study room and another Sonos One SL for my bedroom.

I was tempted by Sonos Move, which is battery-powered and hence, portable. But it is a bit too bulky for me to carry around and outside my home. Now, here comes Sonos Roam.

Why Sonos Roam?

When Sonos Roam was announced, I have made an immediate pre-order. What attracts me is that Roam is small enough to be truly portable. It also can bounce music back and forth to existing Sonos speakers. All you need to do is to hold it close to another speaker and hold the play button. It can also create that stereo or spatial sound effect with my Sonos One SL. How do I use Roam every day you may ask.

In the morning, I would bring Sonos Roam to the bathroom. After my shower, I would bring it to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I would then bring it to the balcony as I have my breakfast. Afterward, I would head over to the study room and bounce the music from Roam onto One SL and I would start to get ready for my work from home.

In the evening, I would group Sonos Roam with my Playbar and Sub (in the living room) and listen to music with a glass of wine in the dining area. Grouping speakers that way create a much fuller sound especially when I am not sitting directly in front of the speaker.

It is really fun to use Roam not just for bouncing music back and forth to or grouping it with existing Sonos speakers. Taking it outside my home, I could use it through Bluetooth connectivity.

Sonos Roam vs Sonos One SL

Believe it or not, both are very similar in terms of sound quality. I can set up a spatial effect with One SL on one side and Roam on the other and I can’t tell the difference.

One SL has a bigger sound, of course, due to its build. Also, Sonos One SL has a touch design while Sonos Roam’s buttons are physical clicks. It is much easier to skip or rewind a track for One SL while for Roam, I need to click the play button two or three times.

Both are of the same price here in Singapore. One SL requires a power cable while Roam doesn’t. Each has its purpose.

In Summary

It is a strong recommendation. If you already have a Sonos system, Roam is a fun addition and it is practical. If not, it is good to start with Roam and slowly build it up from there.

Pros

  • Superb sound quality.
  • Portable around the home and can play through Bluetooth outdoor.
  • Fun to bounce music back and forth from existing Sonos speakers at home. Just hold it close and press and hold play!
  • Great to group with existing Sonos speakers for a much bigger sound.

Cons

  • Build quality issue. Sonos Roam has stopped working after one week of usage. The orange charging light goes off after a few seconds of connection with a wired charger. Roam cannot be switched on at all even as the device is being charged. Sonos app cannot detect the product.
  • Not a Sonos Roam problem per se, it is always frustrating to use Spotify (Android) with Sonos products. Especially with Roam, the track on the Spotify app would appear to have stopped playing but the music would continue. I could use the Sonos app to play Spotify but that Sonos app doesn’t allow me to like songs in Spotify and add tracks onto my playlist. Also, connecting to Sonos speakers directly through Spotify can at times be frustrating. It just wouldn’t connect at first try.
  • I have experienced random music stoppage when connecting Sonos Roam through Bluetooth.
  • In theory, I could project sound via Bluetooth (e.g. YouTube) to my entire Sonos wifi-enable system through Roam. But I have experienced sound stuttering that could be due to my midrange phone. It is a novelty that I see little usage.

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