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.

A Werewolf Boy – A 2012 Korean Movie

I don’t usually fancy random notifications that stream into my mobile phone. When VIU notified me that A Werewolf Boy is now available for streaming, my natural instinct kicked in, and just when I was about to ignore the notification, the words “Park Bo-young” caught my eyes.

A 2012 Korean movie featuring Park Bo-young.

She is an award-winning actress in Korea – though you must know by now that in South Korea, there are lots and lots of competitions from music to movies to TV-series to what-have-you.

I am a huge fan of Park Bo-young and have been watching her TV series whenever available. Here in Singapore though, K-dramas or K-movies especially the older ones can be limited.

Hence, I have got to give it to VIU and their well-crafted notification (as words are limited). Last night I have attempted to watch A Werewolf Boy but I fell asleep shortly after it had started. This afternoon, I was more alert and have watched the entire 2-hour movie in one go.

While it is an eight years old movie, I still enjoyed watching it. I am familiar with how werewolf themed stories work in the Western world. And it is refreshing to see it from the Korean’s perspective.

OK. Spoilers from this point onwards.

Song Joong-ki played the werewolf boy. His acting was superb. He really acted like … an animal not being able to speak or write and behaved like an untamed wolf. And the trigger for him to transform from his human form is when his loved one was endangered.

Neat eh?

Somehow, in this Korean version, the werewolf was created through a secret government project in an attempt to create super soldiers. I don’t really get why there is only one of them.

Not surprisingly, Park Bo-young was the one who could tame the werewolf.

At the end, when Park Bo-young asked the werewolf boy to wait for her return, the boy waited for decades.

Oh my.

He really loved her.

And yes, Park Bo-young’s acting is amazing, as ever.

A Chinese Novel “Forget You, I Cannot” by 寧靜 – 忘記你我做不到

I have picked up this book from either Hong Kong or Taiwan a long time ago. Three unrelated orphans – one boy and two girls – had been adopted by a couple in Hong Kong. Can these orphans fall in love with each other while maintaining family love at the same time? What if their adopted parents understood and supported such a notion? Would their love ultimately destroy the very family that brought them together?

A Chinese novel

The story started off light as the kids grew up together. But it gets darker when the youngest sister – also the rebellious one – fell in love with her brother but her brother and her elder sister have already fallen in love with each other.

Forget You, I Cannot is a story told from the youngest sister’s perspective. This book is a page-turner. There are a good number of plot twists to keep me hooked till the end.

The story is also a tragedy, which is hinted at through the preface. For those who do not read Chinese, here is my attempt to translate the preface for you.

This is my confession.

In my moment when life and death coexist, I write this so that I can see clearly the things that I have done are so stupid and ignorant.

In my memory, he is small as dust. So small that can be stuck in every corner, living in every space.

Because of loving him, I keep on doing my best, but also keep on doing the wrong things. In the end, he is far away from me; he hates me so much.

Therefore, I always think that the most pathetic person in this world is me. In fact, the one who has shaped my current self is no one but me.

My youth can no longer reach the time when it should have blossomed, now withered and destroyed.

Too bad, we can only live once.

I want to see him – my brother – and tell him that I am sorry. But I know an apology is just an apology. It does not wipe away my mistakes.

Darkness has come too early. The waking hours are coming too late.

There is nowhere to turn back. All I can see now is Heaven and Earth.”

Preface from the book 忘記你我做不到 written by 寧靜

Chronicon Guides

Similar to my good old Marvel Heroes days, I am keeping track of all the useful guides in one place. Feel free to check them out as you progress in the game. Since I have just started making guides for this game, the content is less at present. But it will get built up over time.

Endgame Build Guides

General Guides

This game is the most fun aRPG I have played in past decades!

The Legend of White Snake (2019) Ending Analysis & Afterthoughts (Spoiler Alert)

I have just finished watching 36 episodes of The Legend of White Snake (2019) that totaled up to 27 hours of TV entertainment. The first post is a review, with no spoiler. If you are interested to read my thoughts on its ending, read on. Spoiler alert!

Rating: 9/10.

White Snake 2019 has a complex event that leads to an interesting ending. Now, is it a happy ending? If I could borrow a repeated response from Fahai the Buddhist Monk, that would be a Yes and No (which my boss at work would have hated it).

It is a sad ending in the sense that Suzhen the White Snake gets locked up inside Leifeng Pagoda for what could have been at least 20 years. To Suzhen the 1,000 years old white snake spirit, 20 years seems fleeting. But she can’t see her husband Xu Xian during that time, also missing out on her child’s upbringing. That punishment of her seems pretty harsh, though still better than being executed by the gods.

More so for Xu Xian the Physician and his mortal and short life, not able to see his wife for two decades, also missing out on his son’s upbringing while busy curing people for free in order to seek redemption for his wife’s sin.

But in the spirit of reincarnation – which is the theme of White Snake 2019 – two decades or more may well be a sand inside an hour glass. Because there is the next life to look forward to. When these people believe in eternity and especially eternal love, missing out two decades in this lifetime doesn’t seem that bad.

Let’s not forget that Suzhen who was so close to immortality through 1,000 years of ‘cultivation’ with progress unknown even as the credit rolls.

The happy ending though, is that the family gets to reunite after two decades or so, which is possibly the best ending given the pretty terrible circumstances as Xu Xian was so close to be toasted together with Mind Demon inside the temple.

Before we agree that this is possibly be the best ending, let’s look at some of the alternatives.

Alternative Ending #1 – Just Walk Away

Upon receiving the elixir that trapped the Mind Demon, Xu Xian the Physician could have just passed that to Fahai the Buddhist Monk and walked away. Let the guys with supernatural power deal with the problem. And if Mind Demon is going to turn into a Prime Evil (like in Diablo games), let the gods deal with the situation. After all, did it not take the god of lightning one single strike to take out Mind Demon without killing the host in the actual ending?

Xu Xian could have followed his wife Suzhen the White Snake and retire happily in Emei Mountain raising their son Xu Shilin. He probably wouldn’t be able to play as a hero for a brief moment, nor his wife as a villain for a brief moment.

But alas! Since Xu Xian is a dude with big heart (and a pure heart according to the show), he wouldn’t have been able to walk away from saving the city, which ironically as his wife tried to save him, wiped out the city.

Alternative Ending #2 – Xu Xian Gets Toasted with Mind Demon

This could be rather tragic, though Xu Xian could have died a hero for those who know his true intention (read: just a handful). It would also be rather painful for us to watch Suzhen witnessing her husband getting toasted by some holy fire from Emei Mountain with her power being restrained by the Monk her “own good” (what could have been a few more days to immortality).

And since Suzhen the White Snake was pregnant with a deity reincarnate, let’s skip the alternative ending of her getting sacrificed instead.

Alternative Ending #3 – Mind Demon Gets Defeated by Snakes and Monk Combo Plus the Heavenly Army

That would have been my favorite ending. Suzhen the White Snake manages to overcome the influence of Mind Demon just before the flood hits the city. Heaven and Earth join forces to defeat Mind Demon a.k.a. Prime Evil. And a truly happy ending.

I guess this ending would have displeased the purists as it deviates from the original story too much without mentioning Leifeng Pagoda. I honestly don’t care. Maybe Guanyin can reward the two snake spirits to study at the pagoda and accelerate their path to enlightenment.

In the End, Almost Everyone is At Fault But One Takes the Punishment

From Suzhen the White Snake’s perspective, after going through so much to save her husband so many times, the final act is a no-brainer. Just that this time around, it is a bit hard to justify, when innocent lives are lost (and restored by the goddess). Hence, all down to the flood. Let’s break that down.

The idea comes from Jingsong the Golden Mouse, who by the way gives up yet another mysterious heavenly relic to restore Xiaoqing the Green Snake’s 500 years of cultivation, which she lost during a fight with Fahai the Monk. Jingsong’s plan was to threaten Fahai with the flood so that Fahai would give up toasting Xu Xian the Physician.

Xiaoqing the Green Snake is the one who steals the water token from the dragon god of the eastern sea, passes it to Suzhen, and strongly encourages her to use the token to call forth the flood. For lack of a better word, she is the accomplice.

Fahai the Monk does not give up toasting White Snake’s husband knowing very well that innocent lives will be lost. He has stopped in the past given similar situations. Why does he not this time around? The Monk has decided that sacrificing the city is justified when he could have stopped the ritual. I still don’t get why Fahai has to restain White Snake’s power when Mind Demon is at large and White Snake has demonstrated time and time again her power has proven to be useful. This Monk makes bad decisions.

Xu Xian the Physician should have shared his plan with his wife, especially when time and time again his wife the White Snake has managed to think of a solution of saving people, even saving the same person multiple times. But he goes ahead with his plan with full knowledge that his wife will certainly intervene.

Let’s not forget Suzhen the White Snake angered by the crowd’s lack of empathy is under the influence of Mind Demon when calling forth the flood. In the end, almost everyone is at fault but one takes the punishment.

To close off these ending afterthoughts with a bit of lightheartedness, I would just blame the Mind Demon, which by the way, has been vanquished by the god of lightning (Thor!) all thanks to the White Snake calling in the flood.

That One Question Unanswered

With this type of fantasy story genre, I am often flexible when it comes to whether or not a plot is believable. So long as it is consistent with reasonable support by Chinese culture or beliefs. For example, Suzhen does not participate in Jin Ruyi’s funeral nor visit Ruyi’s gravestone. It is because according to Chinese culture, pregnant women should avoid such events.

There is however one question unanswered. Ruyi towards the end of her own story line was alone, with no friend nor servant. Let’s just be a bit open minded and accept the part about her being able to throw her body into the furnace that is smaller than her. I mean, she was possessed. She could do ‘stuffs’.

But who then delivered the elixir from the furnace inside a cave that very few knew when no one even knew the existence of such elixir in the first place to Xu Xian’s home? Together with Ryui’s dress gifted by Xu Xian at the mid autumn festival?

It can only be supernatural.