Hands on: Sonos Move fits in the home as well as outdoors

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2019
Sonos has just made its new portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker official with the announcement of the Sonos Move, alongside the Port and the One SL. AppleInsider was in New York City with Sonos to try the speakers.

Sonos Move -- The first portable speaker for Sonos
Introducing Sonos Move -- The first portable speaker for Sonos


Recently, Sonos held a press event in New York's legendary Milk studio, where its CEO unveiled a trio of new devices to a mass of onlooking journalists. AppleInsider was in attendance and got the opportunity to try out the new devices, including the Move -- Sonos's first portable speaker.

Today, the Sonos Move, Port, and One SL are official, ending a long trickle of high-profile leaks.




The first Sonos portable speaker

The most exciting of the new products is the Sonos Move. Sonos Move is, as the company describes, a culmination of all its work to date. Outdoor speakers, especially Wi-Fi connected ones, are much more difficult than indoor speakers to execute well, and the company thinks that it has it all figured out.

Sonos Move works just as well in the home as outside the home
Sonos Move works just as well in the home as outside the home


Outdoor speakers need to be durable, have long-lasting batteries, good connectivity, and loud. That is exactly what Sonos has done with the Move.

The Sonos Move is weighty -- over six pounds -- and had a solid, premium feel to it when we hoisted it. Compared to other portable speakers, Move seemed to be on the large size but once we heard the sound it was capable of, and its list of features we understood.

The Sonos Move isn't a mass-appeal Bluetooth speaker that can be clipped to a backpack. Instead, it is marketed as a home speaker that can also be taken outside the home.

Sonos can stream over Wi-Fi and group with other Sonos speakers. Even works with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit
Sonos can stream over Wi-Fi and group with other Sonos speakers. Even works with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit


To that end, Move can operate entirely the same as any other Sonos speaker. It can connect over Wi-Fi, be grouped with others in the home, and even work with AirPlay 2. A simple dock gives it a place to rest when in your home, whether in the kitchen or on a desk.

What separates Move, is that it can then be picked up, separated from the dock, and taken anywhere, wire-free. If near your home -- say out on the patio -- the speaker can continue to stream over Wi-Fi. If away from the home, a button press on the back switches the speaker to Bluetooth mode.

Wirelessly, Move can jam on for ten hours. It can also be recharged on the go with a USB-C battery pack. Unfortunately, there is no USB output for charger other devices from the Move.

A button on the back toggles between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A button on the back toggles between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth


Sonos also touts Move as the most impressive wireless performance of any of its devices. It supports 802.11b/g/n at 2.4 and 5GHz and Bluetooth version 4.2. We will have to test the wireless range for ourselves, but Sonos assures us we will be impressed with the range.

One thing we were particularly impressed by with the Move was standby mode. After a period of inactivity, Move drops into a low-power suspend mode to conserve battery. Even while in this mode, it is instantly reachable whenever playback is to resume, including over AirPlay 2.

Sonos says that standby mode can be maintained for 120 hours on one charge.

Controls are familar on top of Sonos Move
Controls are familar on top of Sonos Move


On top of the Move are four far-field microphones. They are used for a user's assistant of choice -- either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, no Siri here. A chime alerts users when the assistant is listening and it can also be muted.

Those microphones also serve another purpose. Sonos has adapted its Trueplay tuning technology to happen on-device.

With other Sonos speakers, to use Trueplay, users must walk around the room moving their iPhone around. With Move, since it isn't always guaranteed to be in one place, it needed to be able to tune itself.

A gyroscope is inside Move so that whenever it is relocated, it will use the four microphones to automatically adjust playback to its new location. This is very similar to how Apple tunes HomePod. Sonos said it was able to crowdsource a significant amount of data from users' manual tuning to allow Move to do it on its own.

Outdoor sound

Sonos Move
Sonos Move is rugged for outdoors adventures


Taking an indoor speaker outside is usually not a worthy endeavor. The speakers aren't loud enough and have narrow sound spaces. Move, is designed to be outdoors, and is much more powerful. We listened to Move -- however briefly -- indoors and outdoors and came away impressed with how loud the Move could get. It easily will fill small to medium gatherings.

Sonos did, purposefully, design the Move with directional sound, rather than omnidirectional like the Libratone Zipp 2 or HomePod. They met in the middle by creating a very wide soundstage, so even though it only comes out one side, it is enough to cast a wall of sound. This is something we will continue to test in our full review.

There was a substantial amount of bass with the Sonos Move, something Sonos also focused heavily on with countless iterations on the cabinet design, many of which were on display at its press event.

The little things

There were two clear messages out of our time with the Sonos team. Sonos says that this speaker is multi-purpose for in and outside the home, and they claim to have focused on the fine details that make or break a product.

The battery should be replaced after about three years of use
The battery should be replaced after about three years of use


We heard many, many times how the speaker is designed to last, so Sonos engineered a battery that could be swapped after around three years of use and software updates. We heard how Sonos worked on powerful antennas to keep Wi-Fi reliable. We heard about the iterations of colors until they found one that had the most appeal, could withstand UV rays, and wouldn't look dirty.

The Sonos Move dock charges the speaker and gives it a place to live inside the Home
The Sonos Move dock charges the speaker and gives it a place to live inside the Home


That includes the dock itself which is used to charge the Move. Sonos said without a dock, users would set the speaker down right next to the charger but wouldn't go the extra step of plugging it in unless necessary. The dock was also designed to automatically align the speaker so that when it was placed, even haphazardly, it would settle correctly and charge.

Sonos also spent substantial time on protecting the Move. During the demo, journalists were invited to torture several different Moves with various scenarios such as a dust chamber, a water chamber, and a drop test. As far as ratings go, the Move has earned an IP56 designation which means it can keep out most dust and can withstand water jets from any direction though it can't be submerged underwater.

Sonos Move
Sonos Move


We were told that users could inadvertently leave Move outside overnight in the rain and it would still be undamaged by morning.

Sonos Move is a big step for the speaker maker, finally venturing outside the home. It has built upon its roots and expertise creating a powerful, portable speaker. We are eager to further test the Move for ourselves in our environment, but what we saw -- and heard -- left us eager to listen more.

Sonos Port

The second product announced is the new Sonos Port, the successor to the Sonos Connect.

Sonos Port
Sonos Port


It was upgraded with AirPlay 2 support and will allow users to play their favorite audio to their existing amplified audio equipment.

There is line-in to connect CD or vinyl players to the Sonos system as well. The new design allows it to be rack-mounted, beneficial for commercial installations. An added 12V trigger can also be used to turn on an external amplifier.

Sonos One SL

Sonos One SL has no microphones
Sonos One SL has no microphones


Lastly, we have the Sonos One SL. It looks and sounds exactly like the Sonos One, just without the array of microphones on top. There are no microphones on this device, which also means no smart assistant. For privacy-focused individuals, this is an option that gives you Sonos sound without the compromise.

Otherwise, it is the same as the Sonos One with dual class-D amps, a tweeter, and a mid-range woofer. Controls are on the top and a 10/100 ethernet port is around back.

Availabiilty

Sonos Move will be available starting September 24 for $399. Sonos One SL is available starting September 12 for $179, and Sonos Port is available September 12 for $399.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    The One SL is slightly cheaper than the One. I'm curious if it can be paired in stereo with a One, which you can't do with a Play:1.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 167member
    Sonos move is a little pricey for a portable speaker. I think I'll pass.
    hmurchison
  • Reply 3 of 15
    The Move looks like a nice speaker.  If the sound is anything like Sonos' other products, I'm pretty sure it sounds really good.  Buuuuuuuuuuut, I'm just guessin' it don't sound $400 good.  That's a little steep for a portable speaker.  Shave a $100-$150 then we'd have a winner imo.  

    The SL is appealing because no mics.  The smart part of smart speakers is generally wasted on me.  
  • Reply 4 of 15
    gordygordy Posts: 1,004member
    Looks like Sonos is leaving the lower-end of the market to their Ikea offerings. I'm disappointed to see that the outdoor speakers cannot be mounted...even semi permanently with a power source.
    hmurchison
  • Reply 5 of 15
     Certainly a lot more expensive than most top of the line BT speakers, but I guess the integration with existing Sonos products comes with extra costs. I’d be more interested if I could bring it to a fellow Sonos user’s deck or yard party and tie into their system easier than existing Sonos products that require a factory reset, and adding to their account. Can’t see myself lugging a $500 CAD speaker to the beach, or travel with it being 6lbs.
    space2001
  • Reply 6 of 15
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
     Certainly a lot more expensive than most top of the line BT speakers, but I guess the integration with existing Sonos products comes with extra costs. I’d be more interested if I could bring it to a fellow Sonos user’s deck or yard party and tie into their system easier than existing Sonos products that require a factory reset, and adding to their account. Can’t see myself lugging a $500 CAD speaker to the beach, or travel with it being 6lbs.
    It's too big.    Bose has the idea size with the Resolve line and their new  Wifi/Bluetooth/Batter speaker coming.  

    The Port is disappointing as a pre-amp.   Functionally it's behind the $199 Echo Link which has Line I/O, Sub Out,  Coax Digital out, Optical I/O and Ethernet.  

    If you're a Sonos fan then you shell out the 2x for the quality improvements after your sphincter loosens up but if you're just wanting to pipe audio through your in-ceiling speakers or whatnot then $400 is not fun.  
  • Reply 7 of 15
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,054member
    The One SL is slightly cheaper than the One. I'm curious if it can be paired in stereo with a One, which you can't do with a Play:1.
    According to the FAQ, you can pair the One SL with a One...In fact, they suggest that one of this speaker's reasons for existing is to avoid having redundant mics scattered all over a room with a stereo or surround setup.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,054member

    The Move looks like a nice speaker.  If the sound is anything like Sonos' other products, I'm pretty sure it sounds really good.  Buuuuuuuuuuut, I'm just guessin' it don't sound $400 good.  That's a little steep for a portable speaker.  Shave a $100-$150 then we'd have a winner imo.  

    The SL is appealing because no mics.  The smart part of smart speakers is generally wasted on me.  
    Value is subjective by nature and different people can rightly find different values to the same device. That said, he are my thoughts:

    Reading through the specs, it seems the Move (on paper) should be equivalent to a Sonos One, with the addition of Bluetooth audio receiver components, lithium ion battery pack, internal charging components and charging base. Sone One is a $200 speaker on its own. As the ex-owner of a $200 Bose Bluetooth speaker that finally died recently, I'm in the market for a new mobile speaker. The math I am doing is this: I already have a Play:1 in a bathroom that I would love to upgrade to get AirPlay 2 for podcast listening in the shower—so I was already in the market for a $200 Sonos One. I would likely spend about $200 to replace the nice Bose Bluetooth speaker that recently died. That puts me at $400 and nets me a much nicer mobile speaker than the Bose ever was. Not throwing shade at Bose, but the Play:1's in my house sound much better than the Bose ever did.

    Maybe all the additional components and functionality don't add $200 more value to you. But they might for some. I fall into the category that finds value in the Move. Tip of the hat to the marketing team at Sonos, they priced it right up to the line I'm willing to consider. If it was $450 or $500 I would be much less enthusiastic.
    edited September 2019
  • Reply 9 of 15
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,048member
    Thanks for a very informative article and video.   I like the Move but am considering the IKEA speakers too.   Only disappointment is no Atmos announcement.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,048member
     Certainly a lot more expensive than most top of the line BT speakers, but I guess the integration with existing Sonos products comes with extra costs. I’d be more interested if I could bring it to a fellow Sonos user’s deck or yard party and tie into their system easier than existing Sonos products that require a factory reset, and adding to their account. Can’t see myself lugging a $500 CAD speaker to the beach, or travel with it being 6lbs.
    It's too big.    Bose has the idea size with the Resolve line and their new  Wifi/Bluetooth/Batter speaker coming.  

    The Port is disappointing as a pre-amp.   Functionally it's behind the $199 Echo Link which has Line I/O, Sub Out,  Coax Digital out, Optical I/O and Ethernet.  

    If you're a Sonos fan then you shell out the 2x for the quality improvements after your sphincter loosens up but if you're just wanting to pipe audio through your in-ceiling speakers or whatnot then $400 is not fun.  
    I love my Sonos system.  Best purchase since original iPad.   
    polymniahmurchison
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Still would be nice for an updated Playbar with HDMI ARC and Airplay 2...surely it cant be that far away :(
  • Reply 12 of 15
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 252member
    Last thing I would want is to contaminate my home space with pointless wi-fi and Bluetooth radiation just to listen to music in lower quality lossy compressed formats. But then some people microwave their dinner from frozen supermarket packets too, also in the name of 'convenience'. One phat boy only ate chips his whole life (until he lost his eyesight) - but I digress.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,054member
    wozwoz said:
    Last thing I would want is to contaminate my home space with pointless wi-fi and Bluetooth radiation just to listen to music in lower quality lossy compressed formats. But then some people microwave their dinner from frozen supermarket packets too, also in the name of 'convenience'. One phat boy only ate chips his whole life (until he lost his eyesight) - but I digress.
    Never feed the trolls...I know! I just can't help myself.

    Sonos will happily accept uncompressed music if you have access to such media. Tidal. Your personal collection. Plex server. Lots of options.

    If you back out to the big picture, the popularity of compressed music streams is hardly an indictment of Sonos. I'd argue that Sonos is a stepping stone to becoming interested in high fidelity music in the home. Sonos started out as a system to stream your personal music library (often in uncompressed format when curated by those who consider such things important) and have bolted on the popular streaming services as convenience and accessibility features. Considering most people listen on their phones, TVs or Bluetooth jambox speakers, Sonos is a significant step up.

    Now high bitrate audio? That is the no fly-zone for Sonos and always has been. Then again, if high bitrate recordings are the only thing you are willing to spend your wifi radiation on, you are not looking for a mobile/lifestyle speaker system anyway. You have a listening workstation. I'm sure you enjoy your work. But you probably have to join a club to find other humans sympathetic with your music format ideology.

    All that said, please Sonos, let's get on the high-bitrate bandwagon! I have some high bitrate music (that Plex happily resamples for Sonos now) that would be fun to stream in full res, if only to tickle my nerd pleasure center (and shut up the haters!).
  • Reply 14 of 15
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    k2kw said:
     Certainly a lot more expensive than most top of the line BT speakers, but I guess the integration with existing Sonos products comes with extra costs. I’d be more interested if I could bring it to a fellow Sonos user’s deck or yard party and tie into their system easier than existing Sonos products that require a factory reset, and adding to their account. Can’t see myself lugging a $500 CAD speaker to the beach, or travel with it being 6lbs.
    It's too big.    Bose has the idea size with the Resolve line and their new  Wifi/Bluetooth/Batter speaker coming.  

    The Port is disappointing as a pre-amp.   Functionally it's behind the $199 Echo Link which has Line I/O, Sub Out,  Coax Digital out, Optical I/O and Ethernet.  

    If you're a Sonos fan then you shell out the 2x for the quality improvements after your sphincter loosens up but if you're just wanting to pipe audio through your in-ceiling speakers or whatnot then $400 is not fun.  
    I love my Sonos system.  Best purchase since original iPad.   

    I'm pretty happy with my two Sonos One and my Sonos Beam.   I'll probably pickup another Beam for the Master Bedroom and I'm considering the Symfonix  Lamp for my sons rooms.  If I'm a betting man I'm hoping 2020 brings us a new Sonos cheaper Subwoofer and the answer for Atmos support. 
  • Reply 15 of 15
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,054member
    k2kw said:
     Certainly a lot more expensive than most top of the line BT speakers, but I guess the integration with existing Sonos products comes with extra costs. I’d be more interested if I could bring it to a fellow Sonos user’s deck or yard party and tie into their system easier than existing Sonos products that require a factory reset, and adding to their account. Can’t see myself lugging a $500 CAD speaker to the beach, or travel with it being 6lbs.
    It's too big.    Bose has the idea size with the Resolve line and their new  Wifi/Bluetooth/Batter speaker coming.  

    The Port is disappointing as a pre-amp.   Functionally it's behind the $199 Echo Link which has Line I/O, Sub Out,  Coax Digital out, Optical I/O and Ethernet.  

    If you're a Sonos fan then you shell out the 2x for the quality improvements after your sphincter loosens up but if you're just wanting to pipe audio through your in-ceiling speakers or whatnot then $400 is not fun.  
    I love my Sonos system.  Best purchase since original iPad.   

    I'm pretty happy with my two Sonos One and my Sonos Beam.   I'll probably pickup another Beam for the Master Bedroom and I'm considering the Symfonix  Lamp for my sons rooms.  If I'm a betting man I'm hoping 2020 brings us a new Sonos cheaper Subwoofer and the answer for Atmos support. 
    Everyone I know with a Sonos system loves it, with the exception of people who obsess over specs. In my experience, the more speakers in my system, the more I love the Sonos lifestyle. I have them in every room except the garage & laundry. I only wish I had started collecting them after the switchover to AirPlay 2 support. Still, that's a minor spec sheet detail. I LOVE my Sonos home.
    hmurchison
Sign In or Register to comment.