Just a few years ago, home audio was a very expensive expense that also required a lot of cabling. Wi-Fi has gotten stronger, more music services have been introduced, and technology companies are delivering systems that take the hassle out and bring the price down. Sonos is a prime example of this with a range of products across multiple price ranges. The brand also focuses solely on all of the home audio, unlike some other brands in the room.
The offer ranges from extremely expensive soundbars that can replace complete home theater setups to portable entry-level speakers. The aim is to offer an audio solution that is suitable for every type of space and for every budget. Sonos also turned things upside down when it announced the S2 platform – it was a botched rollout as some products lost support and functionality, but most of the newer Sonos products are fully supported.
So let’s go through the range of Sonos speakers, soundbars, and woofers.
At $ 199, the One is Sonos’ affordable smart speaker. It has a fairly simple, tall, rectangular design with rounded edges that give it a sense of coziness and modernity. The One is compact (just over 6 x 4 inches), which means it’s compact enough to fit on a bookcase, bedside table, or coat without taking up a lot of space. Two amplifiers, a tweeter and a woofer provide the sound. The audio experience is rich and clear, while also providing the ability to fill a reasonably sized room and provide a lively mix. It’s the same as the sound of a HomePod, but you’ll likely need two Amazon Echoes to get that level of sound.
Sonos One can also be used as a smart speaker, as the built-in microphone array lets you choose your preferred voice assistant – either Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant – to answer your calls (and always be there).
The Sonos One is now a kind of gateway to the Sonos ecosystem. For $ 199, you can get a full-featured smart speaker that has a ton of sound.
For $ 20 less than the Sonos One, the One SL is a slightly less intelligent version of the speaker. You get the same internal hardware (two amplifiers, a tweeter, and a midwoofer) so you get the same sound quality as the Sonos One. But Sonos essentially ripped out the microphone array and some of the smarts. The One SL will continue to be controlled by the Sonos app. If you have other Sonos speakers with voice control, you can ask the app to play songs or a radio station on the SL speakers.
The One SL is the perfect option for those who don’t prefer a smart speaker. Finally, you can still control playback through the Sonos app. Second, it’s one of the cheapest ways to expand the ecosystem, but we still wish it was a little cheaper. If you have a Sonos soundbar like Beam or Arc, this is a great way to add extra speakers to your home entertainment setup. Like the One, the One SL is optionally available in black or white.
Mike Andronico / CNN
The Sonos Roam is the cheapest member of the Sonos family and the most portable. Roughly the size of a water bottle, this $ 169 bluetooth speaker is the perfect Sonos speaker for those who want something that they can easily toss in their pocket on the way to the beach or pool. Speaking of which, it’s also IP67 waterproof (meaning it can withstand immersion in the water) and lasts a solid 10 hours on one charge.
The Roam is great as a standalone Bluetooth speaker, but it can also connect to your home WiFi for all the benefits of a traditional Sonos device. Like the other speakers on this list, the Roam can sync with other Sonos speakers to keep the music playing throughout your house while giving voice commands through Alexa or Google Assistant.
We found that the Sonos Roam has a booming and rich sound for its size and a lot of versatility for the price. If you want a completely disconnected Sonos experience but don’t want to opt for the bigger, more expensive Sonos Move for $ 399, this is the Sonos speaker for you.
Jason Cipriani / CNN
PHOTO: Jason Cipriani / CNN
The $ 399 Move is the larger of Sonos’ two portable speakers with 10 hours of battery life, Wi-Fi connectivity and support for Bluetooth. It’s not waterproof, but with an IP65 rating, it can withstand a splash or two – just don’t leave it out in the rain. It automatically detects its surroundings to mix whatever you’re listening to for the best sound experience. It can easily fill a room and is significantly louder than a One or One SL. Plus, it makes a bump outdoors. We tested it on a deck on the second floor and could hear it in the back yard about 50 feet away. Most importantly, the sound is played back 360 degrees so you can put it on a table, center it on a patio, or set it aside and still get full coverage. It’s available in black or white for $ 399. If you want something bigger and more booming than the Sonos Roam, the Move is worth considering.
Aaron, Halie (intern)
Since the Sonos Beam lives in the Sonos ecosystem, it’s easy enough to play the role of a speaker for music, podcasts, and anything else on your TV. It’s relatively unassuming and small with a fairly simple design – but thanks to the multiple speakers inside, it can shake rooms. When we had it mounted during our review, it was known to rattle the wall with bass just to put it in perspective.
Inside the beam there are four woofers, a tweeter, three radiators and five amplifiers to supply audio. The Sonos app lets you activate a speech enhancer that is great for action movies as it increases dialogue while there is an explosion going on in the background. Overall, the mix is well balanced so you won’t hear a jumble of random sounds on top of each other, even with low, mid, and high notes.
Beam also supports the HDMI Arc standard, which allows the TV to turn it on or off (in sync with your TV) and control the entire setup with a remote control. You can also set the Beam as a smart speaker for Alexa or Google Assistant.
We’d bet this could be your Sonos home system for $ 399. It gets very loud and won’t disappoint on the movie night. The beam is available in black or white.
We’ll be honest: the Sonos Arc isn’t cheap at $ 799. It’s on par with home theater systems, but for the price, this 43-inch soundbar is more than enough to complete your home theater setup. It’s like the Beam on Steroids, with 11 speakers inside and support for Dolby Atmos.
It sits at the top of the soundbars without a doubt and offers an incredibly wide soundstage that is good for music, movies, TV shows, and spoken word audio. When you listen to live concerts you get a wall of sound, and it’s a really lively mix that really allows each tone to present itself to its fullest potential. As we noted in our full review, regardless of the content we threw on it, the result was a rich, crisp, and clean audio experience. It also transmits the speech enhancement function from the beam. The Arc is available in black or white for $ 799.
Much like the Arc, the $ 699 Sonos Sub isn’t cheap, but it is intended to add a sonic dimension to the soundbar you pair it with. You can also use it with a full 5.1 channel setup: essentially a soundbar, subwoofer, and two speakers (left and right) on the back. It’s safe to say that the Sub can pump out a strong bass force, but it won’t rumble the floor too much when the riders pick up the force. Instead of squeezing the power out of the speaker, shooting inward will reduce the rattle or shake. Sound still matters though, to say the least.
If you are looking for a strong bass, we highly recommend a Sub. When pairing it with the Arc, you should know that it supports the Dolby Atmos standard for proper mixing. The Sub is available in black or white for $ 699.
As we continue to test the Sonos family of products, we’ll be back with updates to this guide.
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