Sonos Roam Review: Portable performer

Having cabin fever in Singapore and needs to go on hikes in Clementi forest to de-stress? You might want to bring the Sonos Roam portable speaker along to have some accompanying music.

PRICE: $299, available in Lazada and Shopee
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2
WEIGHT: 430g

The first thing that strikes you with Sonos Roam is its simple yet elegant design.

The Sonos Roam in white. (Photo: Sonos)

Unlike the cylindrical shape found in many portable speakers, the Sonos Roam has a curved triangle shape on its short sides. It is available in two colours of black and white (version reviewed).

There are speaker grilles (with Sonos logo) in one long side and stumps on another for you to place the speaker. When placed as such, there is a power button and a USB-C port on its rear.

The USB-C charging port and power button is sited at its “rear”. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

On one of the triangle sides, you will find the volume up/down, playback and voice assistant buttons.

Hold it on your hand and you marvel at how lightweight the Roam is. Yet somehow, it is able to accommodate a single tweeter, two Class-H amplifiers and a custom mid-woofer.

+ Great audio performance for its size
+ Compact and lightweight
+ Suitable for outdoor use with its drop and water resistance
+ Supports wireless charging

– Bass lacks punch
– Does not include power adapter
– Not cheap

In addition, you can stream music to the speaker via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay 2. Not to mention, it also supports voice assistants like Amazon Alexa (not available in Singapore) and Google Assistant.

Furthermore, the Roam is rated at IP67 for protection from dust and water. In other words, the Roam can be submerged in water of depths down to 1m for 30 minutes. Thus, this makes it ideal for you to bring it for a hike in Singapore’s unpredictable weather.

The Roam is pretty water resistant. (Photo: Sonos)

On the downside, there is no power adapter included in the box. You only get a USB-C charging cable. Sonos sells a wireless charger that can used with the Roam. Yes, the Roam supports wireless sharing.

To set up the Roam, you need to download the Sonos S2 app (Android and iOS) and add the Roam into the app. You can add your music streaming service like Apple Music, Spotify or Deezer, so you can play your favourite Spotify playlist straight from the Sonos app.

You also customise the equaliser settings and activate Trueplay using the Sonos app. Trueplay uses Roam’s microphone to balance and fine-tune the speaker for consistent audio output regardless where you place it.

Using the Sonos app to pair with the Roam. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The app also allows you to create a stereo pair. But since I don’t have an extra Roam, I was unable to test this feature out.

Initially, I could not add the review unit to the app. I thought this is probably due to the fact it is still paired to the smartphone of previous reviewer. Thus, I reset the unit. True enough, I can easily add the Roam into the app once the unit is reset.

The setup of Roam is a breeze. (Photo: Sonos)

Once paired, you can easily stream music to the speaker. Whether I am playing music from the Sonos app on my Android smartphone or using AirPlay 2 from my iPhone, there were no lag or stutter whatsoever.

Given its compact size, the audio output can be considered to be great. Vocals are sharp and detailed with the highs never distorted. Even when you pump the volume up to maximum, the audio quality remains steady without breaking.

The Roam is really compact and lightweight. (Photo: Sonos)

My only complaint is that while the bass is solid, it can be better especially at higher volume. It lacks the punch that its price probably suggests.

Rated at 10 hours of music playback on a full charge, Roam’s battery life is pretty average for its genre.

And in my tests, I found it to be quite accurate. The review Roam unit has around 50 per cent battery life after around 4 hours 30 minutes of music playback at 75 per cent volume.

At S$299, the Sonos Roam is certainly not cheap. But you are getting one of the best portable speakers around with its compact size, water resistance and great audio output. However, if you prefer your music to be heavy on bass, then the Roam might not be music to your ears.

FEATURES: 8.5/10
DESIGN: 8/10
OVERALL: 8.5/10

Trevor Tan

Started out with dreams to become a street photographer, Trevor Tan somehow became a tech journalist with over 16 years of consumer tech experience. Maybe he plays too much video games and buys too many new gadgets.
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