Thu. Nov 14th, 2019

Sonos Move review: going where no Sonos has gone before

4 min read

The Sonos Move is the company's first truly portable, battery-equipped speaker (Metro.co.uk)

The Sonos Move is the company’s first truly portable, battery-equipped speaker (Metro.co.uk)

The Sonos Move builds on a framework that established the company as the leading multi-room music solution for regular folk like you and I.

It looks good, sounds good and is easy to set up and connect to any existing Sonos devices you may have dotted around your home.

But it brings with it a party trick. While 2017’s Sonos One introduced voice control for the first time, this 2019 model introduces true portability to the Sonos line-up.

Up until now, all Sonos speakers have had to be tethered to a power socket. If you wanted to take the music out into a garden or anywhere outside then you had to swap to a portable Bluetooth speaker. Not anymore.

The Move is a 240mm-tall cylindrical audio powerhouse that booms out tunes over either WiFi or Bluetooth depending on where you’ve got it stationed. It sits on an indoor charging base that comes included with the speaker but can be lifted off at any time. Power then comes from an integrated battery that (Sonos says) gives you up to 10 hours of music playback time. 

Touch-sensitive controls are on top of the device along with microphones for voice commands (Sonos)

Touch-sensitive controls are on top of the device along with microphones for voice commands (Sonos)

I found that 10 hours was achievable when the volume was kept at around 50%. It takes around 3 hours on the base station to recharge and Sonos says  

The design of the speaker is constant with the rest of Sonos’ products. It’s sleek and minimalist with touch-sensitive controls on the top and six small holes for the microphones. It’s compatible with either Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant and had no problem picking up any orders I barked at it 

The back of the speaker features a smooth cutaway that houses three buttons. The first is a power switch, the second swaps between WiFi and Bluetooth (the light on the top will change from white to blue) and the third is the standard Sonos button for connecting to an existing setup. If you’re an Apple user, you’ll be happy to know the Move also supports AirPlay 2 streaming. 

The cutaway back of the speaker houses buttons and serves as a handle (Metro.co.uk)

The cutaway back of the speaker houses buttons and serves as a handle (Metro.co.uk)

The cutaway also serves to give you your handle for picking the speaker up and moving it around the house or into the garden. However, with a weight of 3kg it’s debatable how much you’ll be hiking this around. I have to tell you that the Move is big. It’s bigger than a Sonos One and bigger than an Apple HomePod or Amazon Echo and considerably bigger than something like the 600g UE Boom 3 Bluetooth speaker. 

You can carry it around but it's heavy (Sonos)

You can carry it around but it’s heavy (Sonos)

If you did decide to take it outside, then it can stand up to the elements thanks to robust casing with IP56-level water and dust resistance. I particularly appreciated the silicone rubber base that means you can easily wipe off any muddy stains that come from plonking it down on the grass. 

The Move speaker comes in just the one colour: ‘Shadow Black’ – which is actually a little bit lighter than other black Sonos speakers. 

Obviously, design is all well and good but what really matters is the sound. As you’d expect from Sonos, no corners have been cut here. It’s plenty loud enough to fill large rooms without struggling – the only thing to bear in mind is with the volume cranked up you’ll fall short of that 10 hour quoted battery life. 

The Move sits on a special ring base connected to the mains that charges the battery up in about three hours (Sonos)

The Move sits on a special ring base connected to the mains that charges the battery up in about three hours (Sonos)

Even when the volume is increased, the Move retains its clarity. A thumping floor drum or the twang of a bass guitar can still be picked out over vocals or a high treble. For audiophiles, the noise is coming through a 16bit/44.1kHz DAC delivered via a forward-facing mid/bass driver and a downward-facing tweeter. 

I have always been impressed with the high quality of audio that comes from Sonos’ gear and this is no exception. It’s a premium audio product in both performance and price. 

So, is it a worthwhile purchase? It depends on how you’re going to use it. 

If you just want a portable speaker that sounds great to take outside with you during a summer barbecue or a kid’s party then advise you to look at the Ultimate Ears range. Specifically, the WonderBoom  2 which is plenty versatile and much, much cheaper. 

But if you’re keen for another addition to an existing Sonos setup and aren’t balking at the price then the Move is a great purchase. I really see the Move as sitting in a kitchen or dining room and then being picked up and taken outside for a party or meal if the weather is looking nice that evening. You won’t be taking it away with you or moving it around your house every day because it’s just too cumbersome. 

The Move works as well with Sonos' other speakers as it does on its own (Sonos)

The Move works as well with Sonos’ other speakers as it does on its own (Sonos)

The price is a little tough to swallow, though. Bear in mind that for the same price, you could buy two Sonos One speakers and have one permanently in a living room and another in a bedroom. 

Moving past that, the Move is a highly competent speaker and an excellent addition to the company’s line-up. It works as well on its own as it does with other products in the Sonos stable and thanks to all the connectivity options and stylish finish, this may well be the best Sonos has ever produced.   

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