If you’re a frequent flyer with Sonos and regularly use its speakers, the first thought that’s likely to cross your mind when opening up the water bottle-sized Roam is how will it live up to the excellent audio precedent set by the company? You won’t be disappointed.
The Roam is the missing piece in the Sonos jigsaw. It’s a quality speaker that weighs a little more than a can of pop and can slip into a small bag, opening up all new levels or portability possibilities.
Yes, the Sonos Move is a fantastic speaker, but it does have some weight behind it – the Roam is a good alternative if you want to travel light.
Designed to fit in with the existing Sonos ecosystem, it is connected via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When you walk out of reach of the Wi-Fi signal, the Bluetooth will automatically kick in with a seamless transition. Triangular-shaped, it can be stood on its end or side with ease, delivering the same sound in either position. Each end is rubberised to cushion any potential falls and the whole unit is rated IP67 and can purportedly be submerged in a metre of the wet stuff for up to 30 minutes and still function. The Roam is a great looking speaker; subtle yet stylish.
Initial set up over Wi-Fi takes a few minutes and then you can control a plethora of available streaming services through the Sonos app, or connect iOS devices over Airplay 2. If you’re taking it on the road, the speaker will connect by Bluetooth like a conventional portable speaker. There are large tactile buttons on the top of the speaker for volume, pause, skip track and to enable or disable the microphone, but your smartphone will likely be where you control it most. The Roam is charged using a USB-C port (it takes around two hours for a full charge) or you can use a Sonos QI wireless charging plate, but this is sold separately.
If you’re introducing the Roam to a Sonos-friendly household, it will nestle in nicely with an existing Sonos wireless multiroom ecosystem and share music over the network. And the company has introduced a cool new software feature named Sound Swap. Press and hold down the play button and the Roam will beam whatever is being played on the speaker to or from the closest Sonos speaker. It’s worth noting that the Roam is not compatible for a home theatre’s surround speakers – for that you’ll need the Sonos One.
When connected to Wi-Fi, the Roam will support voice assistants across Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can get the weather report, news headlines or footy scores as you step out from your morning shower.
Now to the all-important sound. As mentioned at the beginning, you will wonder how such a small speaker can deliver on the audio front. Five seconds of DMA’s’ The Glow allayed any concerns.
It might be small in size, but it’s big in sound, and there’s none of the tinny compression that you usually find with smaller speakers.
The sound is clean and crisp with exceptional mids and highs and plenty of bass (this and the treble can be adjusted in the app). It even performs well at full volume with very little distortion. Don’t expect it to serve as a party system, but for around the house, in the garden or for picnics, it’s absolutely perfect.
You can even link another Roam (only over Wi-Fi) for stereo sound. Another bonus is the implementation of Sonos’ Trueplay. This tunes the speaker to deliver the best possible performance in any given environment or room shape.
Overall, the Roam combines the benchmark of quality design and sound we’ve come to expect from Sonos. It fills a gap in its excellent range of speakers and in doing so puts itself right at the top of the class in the small portable speaker category. It’s an A+ from us.