Sonos Era 300 review smart speaker

Sonos Era 300 review: new horizons for smart speakers


Bringing spatial audio to the lounge room, the Sonos Era 300 smart speaker takes multi-room audio to the next level. The bigger sibling to the impressive Era 100, both speakers form a powerful duo for living room sound.

Sonos has long been the gold standard when it comes to multi-room audio, in terms of ease of use, outstanding sound quality and access to a vast range of streaming music services. It offers the ability to easily play the same music in unison throughout your home when it’s time to party, then enjoy different music in each room when everyone needs their alone time.

We’ve seen several generations of Sonos speakers over the years but, as the name suggests, the Sonos Era range marks the dawn of a new age. While the Sonos system can tap into a vast range of streaming music services, the new Era 300 is also designed to do justice to Dolby Atmos spatial audio available from streaming music services like Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited (but unfortunately not Tidal).

Spatial audio is basically a version of surround sound that adds depth to the music and makes it feel more immersive. It’s worth noting that it’s not the same as 24-bit lossless audio, which offers a greater level of fine detail and can also make audio feel more immersive.

Thankfully, the Era 300 supports both spatial audio and lossless audio. For now, it only offers lossless audio when playing local files or streaming through Amazon Music Unlimited and Qobuz, with Apple Music to come. Obviously, not every track is available in spatial or lossless audio, but their libraries are growing.

First impressions

The Sonos Era 300 sports a new hourglass design, slightly pinched in the middle to assist with spreading music around the room. It’s roughly the size of the old Sonos Play 3, which was discontinued a few years ago – leaving a gap between the Sonos One SL and beefy Sonos Five.

Sonos has stuck with the touch-sensitive buttons on the top for play/pause, next/previous and volume, adding the handy ability to slide your finger across the volume strip to gradually turn it up or down.

As with most current Sonos speakers, the Era 300 also features a built-in mic for supporting a smart assistant. There’s a physical kill switch on the back which disables the mic when you want a little more privacy.

Sonos speakers have supported Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa for a few years, but they’ve always been a little flaky compared to using them on their native hardware.

Last year, Sonos added its own, which can be called upon with “Hey Sonos” – offering a more reliable and intuitive way to control the speaker’s music functions including multi-room playback. With the Era 300, Sonos drops Google Assistant but still supports Alexa.

If you don’t feel like chatting with your smart speaker, you can call upon the Sonos app which is available for desktops, tablets and mobiles. It makes it easy to cue up music from the services to which you subscribe, and then mix and match what’s playing through each speaker throughout your home (yet, to be honest, the Sonos iOS app has been sluggish of late).

On top of this, there’s the option to stream music directly from your devices via Bluetooth or AirPlay 2. The latter offers better sound quality, as the Era 300 supports the high-end AAC codec favoured by Apple but only the standard SBC Bluetooth codec and not aptX and aptX HD. 

As for ports, you’ll only find USB-C, but you can connect adaptors such as the Sonos Line-In Adapter for connecting Hi-Fi gear and the Sonos Combo Adapter for adding Ethernet.

Sonos Era 300 specifications

TweetersFour: one firing forward, two to the sides and one upwards
WoofersTwo: angled left and right
MicrophoneFar-field array
Smart AssistantsAlexa, Sonos
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5
Dimensions16 x 26 x 18.5 cm
Weight4.47 kg
ColoursMatte Black, Matte White
Price (RRP)$749
Warranty12 months
Official websiteSonos Australia


Sonos speakers have always been impressive feats of engineering and the new Sonos Era 300 is no exception.

The speaker features six drivers, each powered by its own class D amplifier and configured to help create an immersive wide soundstage. There are four tweeters – one firing forward, two to the sides and one upwards – along with two woofers angled left and right.

That upwards-firing tweeter helps create Dolby Atmos’ sense of height, plus the speaker design incorporates waveguides that help direct the sound.

To make the most of this, Sonos recommends leaving at least 20cm of clearance around the speaker, including at the rear, to allow spatial audio to perform its magic. Of course, this could be difficult depending on your room and the best spot to place the speaker.

As with all Sonos speakers, you can play music just through the Era 300 or you can group it with other Sonos speakers to play the same music in perfect sync across different rooms in your home.

You can also link two Era 300 speakers as a stereo pair or use them as Dolby Atmos rears for a Sonos-based home theatre system built around a Sonos soundbar.

As part of the set-up, you can use Sonos’ Trueplay feature to fine-tune the speaker to its environment – which is worth doing because it makes a clear improvement to the sound. You’ve the choice of a quick tune using the speaker’s built-in microphone, or the traditional slower Trueplay setup which requires you to do a rain dance around the room with an iPhone to measure the acoustics. Support for both is good news for Android users.


Put to the test, the Sonos Era 300 doesn’t disappoint, although you need an ear for quality to appreciate the improvement of spatial audio.

For starters, the speaker sounds fantastic even when you just throw standard music at it with a decent bit rate. It delivers a wide soundstage with impressive stereo separation considering the size of the unit.

You’re treated to full-bodied sound with impressive clarity and definition, no matter what you throw at it – from the thumping bass lines of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to more nuanced music like Miles Davis where it shows due respect to every instrument.

That wide soundstage is particularly impressive when you cue up live albums, whether it be an acoustic set like Ian Moss’ Six Strings or outdoor concerts with big airy sounds like U2’s Under A Blood Red Sky at Red Rocks. You can crank it right up with no fear of distortion.

Switching over to Dolby Atmos spatial audio tracks on Apple Music, the improvement is subtle but clear if you know what to listen for.

Elton John’s Rocket Man delivers an amazingly wide soundstage from one speaker. Switching between the spatial and non-spatial versions, spatial adds a depth to the audio which makes it feel more immersive. It sounds more like you’re in the room with the musicians, rather than listening to a recording via a speaker.

Likewise with Lorde’s Royals and Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me, spatial audio really helps bring tracks to life, as cliched as that sounds.

That said, fans of a sweet low-end (looking at all those bass players out there) might be a little underwhelmed compared to what we’ve come to expect from the Sonos range. Whether it be the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the Violent Femmes, the bass lines don’t quite sing the way they do when listening to some other speakers in the Sonos line-up – even smaller speakers. 

Who is the Sonos Era 300 for?

It’s hard to fault the Sonos Era 300 when it comes to features and sound quality, perhaps unless you really want those sweet bass runs to blow your mind.

All up, the Sonos multi-room audio system is a fantastic way for music lovers to fling their favourite tracks around the house, while spatial audio will please audiophiles who’ve signed up to compatible streaming services.

The only potential drawback is the hefty $749 price tag. You could argue that’s a reasonable price for a speaker of this calibre but, if you don’t care about spatial audio then you should weigh up the Era 300 against the rest of the Sonos range.

For this price, you could pick up a stereo pair of Sonos One SL speakers, which would do a better job of filling a large space. Alternatively, you could spend a bit more and pick up a single beefy Sonos Five with bass for days. It’s a shame that the old Play 3 has been retired, as it would be another tempting option.

Sonos Era 300 review: new horizons for smart speakers
The Sonos Era 300 is a great way to bring spatial audio into your lounge room.
Value for money
Ease of use
Spatial audio
Impressive sound stage
Support for a wide range of streaming services
Bass can be a tad underwhelming
No Google Assistant support