The Roam is the cheapest way to get a look into the Sonas's ecosystem and it is the first from the company to compete against the multitude of Bluetooth speakers.

Sonos Roam speakerImage courtesy Sahil Bhalla
Atom Review Friday, October 22, 2021 - 18:04

Sonos, a manufacturer of audio products, is a brand whose products I first got to test about a decade ago when my dad brought a speaker to India from the USA. In the summer of 2021, they finally ‘officially’ launched in India. On October 13, the small but potent Bluetooth speaker was launched in the country for Rs. 19,999 and is offered in Lunar White and Shadow Black colour options. 

The Sonos Roam, in a nutshell, is a sleek and portable speaker that doesn’t distort at loud volumes. Sonos has an ecosystem that is very friendly and the Roam has IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating. Plus, if you’ve got multiple Roam devices, then you can pair them together for an even greater listening experience.

After listening to music from the 60s till the present day, I can safely say that Sonos has done a good job, during a pandemic, to encourage the listener to take the Roam to the park, beach, or the poolside. It’s a device set to help us listen to music together.

Top-notch portability

The Roam is the cheapest way to get a look into the company’s ecosystem. It’s the first from the company to compete against the multitude of Bluetooth speakers. The Roam is a nondescript, small and cylindrically rounded triangle that’s about the size of a small can of soda. It comes in at 6.61 inches tall and is shorter than its competitors like the UE Boom 3 and JBL Flip 5. The Roam weighs in at under one pound (430 grams) and can easily be tossed into any backpack or tote that you’re taking upon your journey. It’s shock-resistant, with the end caps being rubberised and extremely durable.

The Roam has a smooth matte finish and a very clean design. It’s got a big Sonos logo imprinted on the speaker grille and rubber buttons on the side. 

The top of the speaker has four buttons - a mute button for the microphone, a play/pause, volume up and a volume down. There’s a single USB-C port and power button on the backside. The Roam has an IPX67 rating which means it can be fully submerged underwater (up to 1 meter) for up to 30 minutes. The kicker though is that the Roam is fitted with drop resistance. Drop it while you’re hauling it from one place to another and it’ll be just fine. 

Finally, the bottom of the speaker is a wireless charging coil. The Roam can therefore charge with any Qi wireless charger and be used alongside being topped up.

Sound quality, features and battery life

The Sonos Roam is only the company’s second Bluetooth speaker to have built-in Bluetooth. When you’re at home, it’ll connect via your home network. When you’re outside of its range, the Roam will automatically switch to Bluetooth. It’s a neat feature. 

For a speaker of this size, I was mighty impressed with the sound. It's one of those speakers that can easily fill a medium-sized room with sound. Pair two together and you’ve got a force to reckon with. 

From the highs to lows - and almost everything in between - the Sonos Roam has it all. It may not have as much bass as its counterparts such as the Sonos One or the Move, but plenty enough to keep you on your feet from time to time. I heard everything from the 60s - Rolling Stones and the Beatles - to contemporary pop - Ariana Grande, Black Eyed Peas and Taylor Swift - and the clarity from the highs were mighty clear. This has been made possible thanks to the dual-driver system with a dedicated subwoofer and tweeter.

Sonos has outfitted the Roam with a technology it calls Automatic TruePlay. It listens to the space and surroundings and equalises the music to make it sound better in that space. It’s most noticeable in enclosed structures than outside.

The Sonos Roam’s sound is more natural than its competitors and that’s what keeps drawing me back to it. For most, if not all the tracks, the sound was relatively well-balanced and not at all overly processed.

I managed to get about the 10 hours of battery life as advertised by Sonos. Your mileage may vary depending on your Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth usage and just how loud you have the Roam set to be. It’ll also depend on whether you turn it off completely or keep it on ‘standby’ mode.

Verdict

It’s launched in India at Rs 19,999, which is a higher price than in the USA ($179.99 or about Rs 13,500) but still very much worth it. Maybe wait for a festive discount if you can.

It’s a one-size-fits-all solution from the company that has been a major force to reckon with in the audio industry. 

I wish that Sonos had priced the Roam at a more competitive price in India. That is the only negative for me. Look beyond the price and you’ll have a potent speaker ready to be taken outside on a whim. Just don’t expect big sounding miracles and you’ll be mighty pleased with the Sonos Roam.

Views expressed are the author's own.

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