At IFA this year Sonos unveiled its very first bluetooth speaker - the Sonos Move.
As the name suggests, its portable. And while that's true in theory, we had a little trouble justifying ever taking this out of the house.
What Is it?
It's Sonos' first ever bluetooth and wireless speaker. Like those before it, the Move is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
It comes with a charging base to juice up the battery, as well as a convenient handle built into the back of the device for seemingly easy portability.
Like other Sonos speakers, it connects to your Wi-Fi and will sync up with other Sonos. If it gets too far away from an internet connection, it can stream over bluetooth from your phone instead.
What's Good About It?
The sound is great
Sonos speakers sound great, and the Move is no exception.
In fact, it's been optimised to project sound further for outdoor use. It contains a downward-facing tweet that its own custom-designed cone that projects sound at 360 degrees.
Its new Auto Truplay functionality also utilises the built-in mic to scan its surroundings in order to tune the speaker.
It works beautifully and takes the quality you'd expect from a Sonos to the next level.
In terms of the sound itself, its reminiscent of the Sonos One. You're going to get a clear and crisp sound across the board, with balanced mids and admirable treatment of bass. Your music will sound bright, warm and alive.
Easy to set up
One of the best things about Sonos is how damn easy they are to setup, and the Move is no exception.
All you need to do is download the Sonos app and follow the instructions. It only takes about thirty seconds.
This is my first Sonos. I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who isn't used to having a bunch set up around the house. I'm not used to listening to music or podcasts from room to room.
While I now want to live that life, I think it afforded me the opportunity to better appreciate taking my sound around through a proper speaker, as opposed to just on my phone.
I found myself using it a lot while cooking because the volume and sound quality had no problem combating the noise from the stove.
I liked that I could then just pick it up without unplugging anything, move it to the bathroom and continue listening to podcasts about cults while in the bath.
While I would rather to have a multi-room speaker system set up, I don't, so this was a decent alternative.
It's quite resistant
This is the first time that Sonos has developed a product for outside the home and extensive stress tests were undertaken to make sure it was up to the challenge.
In addition to drop, tilt and dust test, it was also put up against snow, sand, sweat and even sunscreen.
That being said, it's not going to be the best choice for parties involving bodies of water. It only has an IP56 rating, so you don't want to get this thing wet - let alone submerge it.
What's Not So Good?
It's too darn heavy
But while it can theoretically be taken outside so you can enjoy your tunes at the beach or wherever, I can't imagine a scenario where I would bother.
And this has nothing to do with not wanting to listen to music or podcasts at a picnic or even out in the wilderness. I'm all for it so long as you aren't bothering other people with your questionable music taste.
But at 3kg this thing is way to heavy and bulky to make this convenient in practice.
It could be okay if you can load it into the car and drive to your destination, otherwise I recommend balcony and backyard use.
Battery could be better
This is Sonos' first battery-powered speaker, so it's not entirely surprising that it's not the best that the market has to offer.
You'll get around 10 hours if playback, which isn't bad, but certainly may be a further deterrent for bothering to take it anywhere outside of your home.
On standby you'll get about 5 days.
Wi-Fi to bluetooth could be better
While the Move has the ability to go between Wi-Fi and bluetooth, it's not particularly seamless in practice.
The speaker won't switch to bluetooth automatically when it loses connectivity. Instead, you need to hit the bluetooth button at the rear of the device.
This becomes more complicated if you've forgotten to enable bluetooth on your phone. You'll notice that your music will cut out and that you'll need to dive into your settings to turn it on if you don't like having that function toggled all the time.
If you do have bluetooth on all the time, you can hit the button before you lose Wi-Fi and your music should keep playing uninterrupted.
We're hoping that this whole process will be a little more automated in the future.
$649 is a lot to ask when its not as ultra-portable as one would like.
If you want a good sounding speaker but don't care that much about moving it, you can easily opt for a Sonos One instead.
If you care more about the portability, there are cheaper options that are far less heavy.
Should you buy it?
If you're a hardcore Sonos stan, we can see why you would be tempted by the Move.
Being able to take your Sonos into the backyard without having to keep it wired is genuinely awesome and would add a little extra flavour to your connected household.
But if you're new to the Sonos range, or really want something that is ultra-portable, the Move probably isn't the best place to start - especially when it costs $649.
If you're simply looking for a really great home speaker - try literally anything else Sonos has to offer. They're easy to set up, the app UI is great and the sound quality en pointe. It's also a breeze to add more to the network.
If you want something more portable, we expect that Sonos will create far smaller and more portable second and third generations in the future. In the meantime, you might want to consider something like Ultimate Ear's Megaboom3.
In addition to being a fraction of the price, it has double the battery life and can be submerged in water. It's a far better and more durable option to take on your outdoor adventures.