The Sonos Roam speaker is the kind of audio-focused product that draws attention for its minimalism from the first contact. With this, the high price of the product begins to raise questions about the real justifications for this.
After all, in a market where the JBL Flip 6 is under R$700, what is so special about Roam that its value close to R$2,000 makes sense? Is her minimalism also reflected in the North American brand’s care when it comes to refining the sound quality? Check out my opinion in the full review!
Sonos Roam Pros and Cons
App with online radios
Google Assistant and Alexa Compatibility
Lower quality sound than expected
Lack of equalization via app
design and construction
It is undeniable that the Sonos Roam is a Bluetooth speaker with an attractive look. This is due to the fact that the manufacturer opts for a minimalist design. Regardless of the color chosen — black, white, blue, orange or green — the care taken by the brand to give the product a unique identity is notorious.
Dimensions (L x D x H): 6.2 x 6 x 16.8 cm;
Weight: 430 g.
It has the shape of a triangular prism, but with its rounded ends to make it stand out even more. This aspect also allows the speaker to be positioned either lying down or standing on furniture.
On the back is the button to turn on the box and the USB-C connection for recharging. At the top, there are four keys for the following uses:
Power: turns on and connects the box via Bluetooth;
M: toggles between 3D EQ mode and bass boost;
Play/Pause: several different functions
1 touch: play or stop music;
Pressing: connects Roam with other Sonos speakers;
2 taps: skip track;
3 touches: rewind track;
– : reduces the track’s volume or rewinds;
+: increases the volume of the track or advances;
Microphone icon: with the light on, activates the personal assistant and Trueplay mode .
To top it off, the Sonos Roam has two LED lights on its front. The one at the top gives warnings regarding connectivity and the one at the bottom informs about the battery.
“The Sonos Roam’s minimalist design is one of the great strengths of this speaker. In addition to giving the product a beautiful appearance, the fact that most buttons have more than one function helps to emphasize the use of more functions with fewer keys.”
Regarding the sound quality, Sonos gives a flashy tone to its product, but the practical use is less than expected. When the Roam is turned on, the sound emitted by it surprises by bringing an attractive bass.
However, when playing the first songs, it is noticeable that the device cannot deal with the nuances that each song aims to provide. During playbacks, it was noticeable that the frequencies were divided according to the volume of the box.
In up to 20%, the bass was more prominent. Between 30% and 60%, the mids stood out, but above that level, the highs were loud and strident, without the necessary refinement to become pleasant.
In my opinion, it is very strange that the speaker behaves this way. After all, my expectation was that the tones would equalize evenly so that they would all be noticeable at different volumes.
Trueplay technology promises to make the sound adapt to offer the best sound experience in different environments. However, in practice, even in places with good acoustic treatment, the resource continued to deliver a low quality in tones and volume.
One element that could make a big difference for the Roam speaker is the Sonos app. Just by using it, it is possible to take advantage of all the features implemented in the product, as its use only over Bluetooth has limitations, such as the impossibility of using personal assistants.
However, it is clear that this tool still needs to evolve to elevate the user experience. After plugging in the box, it’s noticeable that the app has few really useful options, and I missed an audio equalization option.
After all, as I said above, it seems that the Trueplay function does not always work correctly. Even in quiet environments, the sound result achieved with the product does not please me and, perhaps, the possibility of customizing the frequencies would improve this experience.
In the media area, you can control the songs played by Spotify , as there is a synchronization between the applications. In addition, the audio feature makes it possible to listen to stations from different regions of Brazil and the world digitally. For example, even living in São Paulo, I was able to listen to a radio from Goiás.
“The sound quality of Sonos Roam is below expectations for a product that characterizes itself as premium. The absence of bass together with the impossibility of adjusting the frequencies via the app limits the experience to the dependence on Trueplay, which does not work effectively.”
Battery and connectivity
Sonos Roam has the advantage of IP67 certification which provides water resistance. It has Bluetooth 5.0, and this connection is already a lot easier to use on a daily basis, but it’s not such a recent version anymore. In any case, keep in mind that this synchronization option is recommended when using the box in environments without a WiFi network.
That’s because one of Roam’s main differentials is compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant virtual assistants, which can be triggered by the microphone input. And for that, the speaker needs to be synced with the house WiFi, but this process completely depends on the Sonos app.
Regarding autonomy, the manufacturer promises up to 10 hours of continuous use. In practice, playing different rhythms of songs with the volume at 50%, I managed to use the speaker battery for 7 hours and 41 minutes. An advantage is that it also has fast charging, and this allows the charge to reach 50% in just 1 hour.
Despite the Sonos Roam being a compact speaker that can exceed R$ 2 thousand, there are alternatives that are much cheaper and with better sound quality than it. And that’s the case with the JBL Flip 6, which is the latest version of a popular product that only evolves with each generation.
The speaker manages to deliver the same level of sound quality regardless of volume. It’s loud, doesn’t have hiss even with the sound at 100%, and the midrange frequencies are fuller.
Another element to highlight in Flip 6 is the JBL Portable app, as it brings equalization features that allow you to adjust the tones for an individualized experience. In addition, the portable speaker is IP67 certified so that its use in water does not affect the physical integrity of the product.
An already mentioned advantage of the JBL Flip 6 over the Sonos Roam is the price. The device can be found at retailers for less than R$600, and that represents a practical savings of almost R$1,400.
Sonos Roam is worth buying
As I said in the introduction, Sonos Roam is a minimalistic speaker. Visually, this feature can be treated as a positive point, as its shape and the way the buttons are optimized to work in the “less is more” format makes sense in this category.
However, this minimalism has no place when it comes to the refinement given to the audio. Roam is very different from the good reputation in audio that Sonos has, and falls short of what we’ve seen in other products of the brand, such as the Beam Gen 2 soundbar.
The experience of using this speaker to listen to music did not meet expectations regarding the division of keys and the volume, which is very low. However, it is important to note that it can be attractive to those who have smart home devices and want to use Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands.
However, paying almost R$ 2 thousand to have an alternative to the Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini doesn’t make sense, since they are products that cost between R$ 200 and R$ 300. compact speaker, it is recommended to buy the JBL Flip 6, as it costs a third of the amount and is more worth it.
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