Sonos Move Review: A Portable Bluetooth Sonos Speaker is Finally Here

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Earlier this month, Sonos announced their new Move speaker, the company’s first Bluetooth speaker, which also supports Wi-Fi, to go with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. We had the opportunity to go hands-on with the Sonos Move and test it out—here’s our quick review of this latest member of the Sonos family.

Unboxing the Sonos Move

Sonos is up there with Apple when it comes to unboxing a product, as the packaging is well-laid out, plus easy to remove without any extra tools. The Sonos Move sits in the box covered in a soft cloth cover:

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Inside you’ll find the Sonos Move, a quick start guide, plus the included power base for charging:

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The Sonos Move is larger than the company’s Sonos One and also heavier, coming in at 3 kilograms (6.61 pounds). There’s an ergonomic handle build into the back of the speaker which makes it easy to carry around (or use as a dumbbell). The dimensions come in at 9.44 x 6.29 x 4.96 inches (240 x 160 x 126 mm):

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The top looks similar to the Sonos One, with an array of mics to support Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant (you can only select one assistant at a time, not both; similar to the Sonos One). Tap the mic button and you can turn off the mic for privacy:

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On the back, there’s a power button, which users can press to enable a suspend mode to preserve power for the removable built-in battery. Below that is the Bluetooth-WiFi button, which you press to switch between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi:

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The charging base is actually cleverly designed and almost acts like a wireless charger because it’s frictionless to charge the Sonos Move. You just place the speaker on top and gravity takes over, making a connection at the back to charge the speaker, which comes with 10 hours of listening time. If you’re away from home, a USB-C port on the back supports charging at 12V/3A, 15V/3A, or 20V/2.25A.

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Here’s how the Sonos Move in the colour ‘shadow black’ compares to its sibling, the Sonos One, in white:

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Here’s a side shot, with an old iPhone 6s Plus for context. The Sonos Move is taller and heavier than the Sonos One:

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Setting Up the Sonos Move

If you’ve set up a Sonos speaker before, it’s an equally simple process. Just download the Sonos app and follow the simple step-by-step instructions. You’ll connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, create a new Sonos system or join it to an existing one, and also enable Alexa Assistant or Google Assistant.

This time around, however, there’s no need to setup Trueplay by walking around with your iPhone looking silly—the feature is automatically built into the Sonos Move, tuning the speaker on the fly, similar to Apple’s HomePod. No matter where you place the Sonos Move, Automatic Trueplay will tune the speaker EQ to its environment. We noticed a difference when moving inside and out as the speaker would tune itself and get louder outside.

Sonos Move: Booming, Satisfying Sound

How does the Sonos Move sound? We’re not ‘audiophiles’ but for its size, the Sonos Move packed a real punch, surprising us with its capabilities.

Sonos says there’s a custom-designed mid-woofer that’s built into the cabinet for durability to go with a “downward-firing tweeter that sends sound into a patented waveguide,” powered by two Class-D amplifiers.

Listening to a variety of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and pop, the Sonos Move offered some deep bass, to go with crisp instrumentals and good mid-range vocals. It was very satisfying listening to music on the Sonos Move.

The Sono Move can be made into a stereo pair with another Sonos Move only, meaning you can’t pair it with a Sonos One, for example. But it will easily form a ‘group’ with your existing Sonos family.

Using Bluetooth Mode

After you’ve set up Sonos Move to your home Wi-Fi network, switching to Bluetooth mode requires a press of the Bluetooth mode button located at the back of the speaker. Once you press the button, the top LED on the Sonos Move will change from white to blue, signalling Bluetooth mode.

Just head to the Bluetooth menu on your iPhone, iPad, or other device and select the Move. Once connected, the Sonos Move will play music and other system sounds from your iPhone, for example.

Listening to music over Bluetooth, it was pretty hard to distinguish between a Wi-Fi connection, as the sound was equally as good. Do note when Bluetooth mode is enabled, Alexa and Google Assistant won’t work, as they require Wi-Fi.

To switch back to Wi-Fi, press the Bluetooth button again.

Also, Sonos Move–like the Sonos One–supports Apple AirPlay 2 on Apple devices iOS 11.4 and later. This means you can stream music from your iOS device to the Sonos Move, as part of your multi-room audio setup at home.

Carrying the Sonos Move

It’s easy to forget you can pick up your Sonos speaker and take it with you wherever you’re going. The handle in the back of the Sonos Move makes it really easy to grab the speaker and go—it won’t fall out of your hands.

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With the built-in handle in the back, walking around with the Sonos Move while it’s pumping out tunes made it feel like a modern-day smart ‘boombox’ you can take anywhere. The speaker has some hefty weight to it so once you place it down somewhere—it won’t be moving.

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Portable and Rugged for the Outdoors

The Sonos Move has a “durable shell” according to Sonos, to go with an IP56 rating, which is just one rating below being submerged underwater. The bottom portion of the shell has a tougher, stickier coating to protect the speaker no matter where you place it.

Sonos says the Move can withstand rain, moisture (red wine, soda, sunscreen, for example), dust, and accidental drops from 76cm high, along with extreme operating temperature ranges of -10C to 55C. There’s also a UV-resistant finish on the speaker to withstand the sun and also keep touch controls cool.

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I left the Sonos Move on our deck overnight during this week’s torrential downpour in Victoria, and the speaker had no issues working fine the next day.

Battery Life

On a full charge, the Sonos Move is advertised for 10 hours of listening time. We were able to have the Move last for days before we needed a charge. The speaker will automatically enter a suspend mode after 30 minutes of inactivity, which Sonos says can help save battery for up to five days. You can view the remaining battery percentage within the Sonos app.

To exit suspend mode, you need to hit the power button on the back of the speaker, or by launching the Sonos app to resume play. It would have been nice to have the touch controls wake the speaker up as well.

As for the battery inside Sonos Move, the company says it’s replaceable and will last three years or 900 charges. Being able to replace the battery years down the road means you can extend the life of this speaker.

Charging the Sonos Move is really easy, as we previously stated. Just place it down in the charging base—no need to plug anything in or do anything. When charging, the base blends in seamlessly with the design of the Sonos Move.

Sonos Move: Booming Sound with an Even Bigger Price Tag

Sonos takes their speakers seriously and with Move, it’s the first time customers can have “access to brilliant sound outside of Wi-Fi,” the company told us in an interview. With this engineering also comes a hefty price tag of $499 CAD in Canada.

At $499 CAD, that’s $100 more than Apple’s wired HomePod speaker, known for its excellent sound. But HomePod isn’t portable, doesn’t support Alexa or Google Assistant and Siri itself is absolutely clueless. Also, HomePod is limited in supporting music services with Siri aside from Apple Music, whereas Sonos supports over 100 streaming services. At $499, that also works out to a pair of Sonos One speakers.

Sonos Move sounds great and will allow music listeners to take high-quality sound with them anywhere, in a rugged package. The speaker is well-designed and is fairly large for a portable speaker, but is well-built and can withstand the elements. I can see businesses seeking portable sound at trade shows, fairs and other events taking advantage of the Sonos Move and its Bluetooth capabilities.

If you can swallow the giant price tag, the Sonos Move is worth considering as a delightful Bluetooth and Wi-Fi smart speaker that’s easy to use, ready to elevate any outdoor or indoor adventure with some good sound.