Sonos Roam 2 review
Image: Sonos.

Sonos Roam 2 wireless speaker review: hit the road

100% human
8.7

Whether you’re kicking back in the lounge room or picnicking in the park, the Sonos Roam 2 wireless speaker ensures you’ll have music wherever you go.

These days there’s no shortage of portable Bluetooth speakers to throw in your travel bag. While most are compact and affordable, the trade-off is that they tend to fall short on sound quality compared to decent in-home wireless speakers.

The Sonos Roam 2 aims to offer the best of both worlds. When you’re at home, it’s a Wi-Fi-enabled speaker that’s part of the Sonos ecosystem. When you hit the road, it works like a standard Bluetooth speaker.

Sonos is the gold standard when it comes to wireless multi-room audio, with a range of speakers and soundbars to suit every room. You can play the same music in unison through the house, or fling different music to different speakers – so the kids can dance to The Wiggles in the rumpus room while you strut around to The Rolling Stones in the lounge. 

While most Sonos speakers are house-bound, the hefty $799 Sonos Move 2 and the new $299 Sonos Roam 2 feature built-in batteries so you can take them out and about.

Sonos Roam 2 review:

First impressions

At first glance, the Sonos Roam 2 is identical to the original Sonos Roam. Both are a very travel-friendly 430 gm; roughly the bulk of a bottle of water.

On the top, you’ll find the same play/pause and volume controls, along with microphone mute. Look closer and you’ll see the Roam 2 adds a handy dedicated Bluetooth sync button on the back above the power button. 

The Sonos Roam 2 is very easy to set up if you already have a Sonos account and the app on your smartphone. Just power up the speaker and select “Add Speaker” in the app, which quickly recognises the Sonos 2 and connects it to your Wi-Fi network.

That said, you don’t need to own other Sonos gear to make the most of the Roam 2. You don’t even need the Sonos app if you just want to use it as a Bluetooth speaker. Yet realistically, it’s unlikely to be anyone’s first foray into the Sonos ecosystem. At $299, it’s also rather pricey compared to Bluetooth-only portable speakers of a similar size.

Once the Roam 2 is set up in the Sonos app, you can control it like any other Sonos speaker: playing streaming music, internet radio, podcasts or content from devices on your home network like a PC or NAS. You can also link two Roam 2s to create a stereo pair.

Sonos Roam 2 specifications

SpeakersTwo Class-H digital amplifiers, one tweeter, one midwoofer
MicrophonesFar-field microphone
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5 GHz (inc AirPlay 2)
Bluetooth 5.2
CodecsAAC, SBC
CPUQuad Core 1.4 GHz A-53
Memory1GB SDRAM, 4GB NV
Smart assistantAmazon Alexa, Sonos Voice Control
Battery18Wh, up to 10 hours playback
Charging15 W USB-C, Qi wireless
RuggednessIP 67 water and dust proof, “drop resistant”
DimensionsHeight: 168 mm, Width: 62 mm, Depth: 60 mm
Weight430 gm
ColoursBlack, White, Olive, Sunset or Wave
Price$299 RRP
Warranty1 year
Official websiteSonos Australia

Features

If your Sonos Roam 2 will never actually roam then you’d be better off spending the extra money on a house-bound Sonos speaker like the $399 Sonos Era 100. The Roam 2 wants to wander, with a built-in 10-hour battery and Bluetooth 5.2 for streaming from your portable devices.

It’s easy to connect the Roam 2 to your devices using the Bluetooth sync button. At this point, you can control it either as a Sonos or Bluetooth device. When you power down and restart the speaker, it automatically rejoins your Wi-Fi network but doesn’t automatically connect to your devices via Bluetooth.

While switching to Bluetooth 5.2 mode has benefits in terms of portability, there are some drawbacks compared to Wi-Fi mode.

One benefit of Wi-Fi mode is improved sound quality, including the benefit of AirPlay 2 streaming. That said, the improvement isn’t that striking on the pint-sized Roam 2. Keep in mind you can only take advantage of the AAC and SBC codecs, you miss out on aptX and hi-res options like aptX HD.

Wi-Fi mode also lets you take advantage of Sonos’ automatic Trueplay tuning, which uses the speaker’s built-in microphones to test the acoustics of the surroundings and adjust the sound characteristics accordingly.

Opting for Wi-Fi over Bluetooth means that your phone doesn’t need to stay close to the speaker. It also means your music won’t be interrupted by notifications on your smartphone, such as incoming calls or text messages.

Another advantage of Wi-Fi mode is that you can take advantage of the built-in smart assistant, either Amazon’s Alexa or Sonos’s own Sonos Voice Control but not Google Assistant.

Inside, the Sonos Roam 2 is the same as its predecessor, packing two Class-H digital amplifiers supporting one tweeter and one midwoofer. A far-field microphone array uses beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation for voice control and automatic Trueplay tuning. Keep in mind, you can’t use the speaker for Bluetooth hands-free calls.

Another subtle change from the original Roam is that the Roam 2’s charge cable now has USB-C on the other end, rather than USB-A. This means you need a USB-C AC adapter, which doesn’t come in the box. Naturally, the switch to USB-C will please some people and frustrate others.

The Sonos Roam 2 also supports Qi wireless charging. It doesn’t come with a charging base like the Move 2, but you can buy a Qi charging base as a $79 optional extra.

Once you get off the beaten track, you’ll appreciate the Roam 2’s IP67 rating – meaning it’s sand-proof and can survive a 30-minute dunking in a metre of water.

Quality

On the software side, one of the Sonos Roam 2’s key improvements is better battery management. The original Roam had a frustrating habit of running flat when not in use, which you’d only discover as you grabbed it to walk out the door.

The new Sonos Roam 2 features idle Bluetooth auto disconnect, battery saver mode and Wi-Fi power save mode. All of this helps ensure the speaker still has some juice when you need it.

Speaking of software, the Sonos smartphone app has been very clunky of late after a major refresh earlier this year. The situation is slowly improving as Sonos releases updates, but the mobile Sonos app still isn’t as solid and dependable as the desktop app.

When it comes to sound quality, the Sonos Roam 2 carries on the solid tradition of its predecessor. Out of the box, the sound is perhaps a tad flat for some tastes, but bumping up the bass and the treble in the EQ really helps.

Despite its small stature, the Roam 2 produces a surprisingly wide soundstage and full-bodied sound. There’s plenty of low-end punch without being overpowering, while the mid-range offers great clarity that doesn’t get murky when things get crashy.

The Roam 2 is enough to rock a small room, but perhaps not a mid-sized room considering that the sound quality starts to suffer once you crank the volume above 75 per cent. Rather than distort, the digital sound processing eases back on the bass so the sound becomes rather harsh if you’re listening to something with a fat low end.

Switching between Wi-Fi or AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth connectivity, the sound improvement is very subtle – you need a good ear and the right track to really appreciate it. The difference is a lot more noticeable on the considerably larger and more powerful Sonos Move 2.

Who is the Sonos Roam 2 for?

The Sonos Roam 2 is a great standalone Bluetooth speaker, but it’s best suited to people who already have Sonos gear. It will seamlessly integrate into your existing multi-room audio system, with the added benefit of portability into the backyard or out the front door.

Realistically, you’d need to use the Sonos Roam 2 both around the house and out on the road in order to get the full value from it. If your Roam 2 will never actually roam then you’d be better off spending the extra money on the Sonos Era 100.

Alternatively, if the Sonos Roam 2 is only going to live in your travel bag as a portable speaker, then you might get better value from a more affordable Bluetooth-only portable speaker – even if it doesn’t quite match the Roam 2’s sound quality.

If you already own the original Sonos Roam, there’s no reason to upgrade. Also keep in mind that, if you have an ear for sound quality and a budget to match, it’s hard to go past the hefty Sonos Move 2.

Sonos Roam 2
Delivering big, full-bodied sound for such a small speaker, the Sonos Roam 2 is ready to go on tour.
Features
8.5
Value for money
8
Performance
9
Ease of use
9
Design
9
Positives
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
AirPlay 2 support
Great sound, wide soundstage
Lightweight and portable
Negatives
Expensive
No high-end Bluetooth codecs
No Bluetooth hands-free calls
No Google Assistant
8.7