Nomad in Stereo: New Sonos Roam Portable Speaker is First of Its Kind
The Sonos Roam portable speaker, Sonos’s latest engineering feat, is smaller than a water bottle, weighs about as much, is IP67-rated (waterproof up to 3 feet/1m for 30 minutes), boasts 10 hours of playtime, and raises the industry standard with several smart-tech firsts.
Sonos Roam is Nomadic Audio Tech
When I say ‘nomadic,’ I mean that the Sonos Roam acclimates durably to just about any environment. This flexibility draws from the combined architectures of analog construction, hardware, and software.
As the Sonos team stated in its March 9th press event for the Roam: the mission is to provide a hyper-intuitive portable speaker “to build the space you’re in.”
When discussing the latest tech innovations, we tend to push the analog features off into the margins. But in the case of the Sonos Roam, that would be a fantastic mistake. I find the device’s nonprogrammable properties to be its most distinctive, if not its most cutting-edge (although I think that’s the case, too).
The Roam portable Bluetooth speaker, which clocks in at a lithe 15 ounces, takes form as a triangular prism. The prismatic shape fulfills two highly thoughtful purposes. First, the triangular architecture, owing to physics, directs soundwaves upward. This means that no matter which of its side you lay it on, the Roam always projects to its fullest potential and highest fidelity. Second, the five-sided prism allows users to orient the portable speaker vertically (the small footprint is ideal for conserving surface space) or horizontally (the low-profile stability is ideal for uneven or busy surfaces — grass, the poolside, you get the idea).
The design team at Sonos fashioned concave end caps, where the embossed touch-control buttons live. The concavity aids in the Roam’s structural stability, vertical balance, and — cleverly — to prevent the accidental mashing of operative buttons. The button design is a complete departure from Sonos’ previous molds; this generation is tactile and raised to suit utile purposes and meet accessibility needs.
And then there’s the 360-degree acoustic transparent grill, which enables maximum outflow of good vibrations and tensile protection of the Roam’s delicate, precision-engineered internals.
The Roam’s software is a veritable suite of innovation, too. Something consumers have come to expect from the sound maker. The portable speaker’s magic manifests in the following ways:
- The app, touch, and voice command options each harness the same degree of device control.
- Though not new to the Sonos media line, system integration features let the Roam connect to and play in tandem with multiple surrounding Bluetooth or WiFi-connected speakers.
- Sound Swap allows you to throw the sound from your Roam to the nearest detected Bluetooth or WiFi-connected speaker.
- Intelligent Auto-Switch seamlessly dithers between WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity depending on your whereabouts (WiFi at home, BT on the road).
- Trueplay tuning automatically adjusts audio quality according to the speaker’s position, environment, and content.
- In addition to traditional Bluetooth and WiFi streaming, the Roam boasts voice assistant integration, access to over 100 streaming services through the Sonos S2 app, and Apple Air 2 comprehension.
As for heavy metal features, Sonos’s first-in-class audio engineers have plenty to show for their rigors:
- 2 Driver-Specific Class-H Amplifiers
- Racetrack Mid-Woofer
- Adjustable Equalizer
- Innovative Efficiency Motor
- Far-Field Mic Array for ENC and Voice Assist
The Sonos Roam portable speaker (MSRP $169) drops on April 20, 2021, in Lunar White and Shadow Black finishes. Out of the box, the Roam portable speaker will come with a USB-C type charging cable. For $49, you can add the magnetic Qi charging base to your order.
It is currently available for preorder through Sonos’s website.
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