Sonos has something to prove with the Sonos Move. This must be the most versatile speaker from the American manufacturer at the moment. Although that claim is technically correct, we think the price tag of 399 euros is actually too much money for the bluetooth and wifi speaker.
Many Sonos brand fans may have waited years for it: support for bluetooth. You might not expect it with speakers that nowadays can manage everything via a wifi connection – but the big advantage of bluetooth speakers is that you decide for yourself which music streaming service you listen to. You are not obliged to choose something that supports Sonos or to go for Spotify (even if that is the largest music streaming service at the moment). The choice is really yours this time.
Although Sonos has been known for years for its multi-room capabilities and has made that understanding accessible to many households, it is the simple bluetooth speakers from brands such as JBL, Teufel and more that create a furore when it hits portability arrives. Not only do users of such speakers have the ability to play all the music they want (even locally stored music without giving them immediate access to photos, media and other files), they can also listen to their music anywhere.
the Sonos Move is a pretty important speaker for the company, since it now combines both elements of a bluetooth speaker with a wifi speaker. This is of course not a new product, since such speakers already exist, but this is the first time for Sonos. And although the manufacturer initially leaves a very positive impression, we soon notice that we are missing certain things. Speakers that cost 399 euros have to do a lot to convince – how are things going for the Sonos Move?
Portable speaker of 3 kilos
Sonos seems to go wrong immediately if we look at the concept of “portability”. Although three kilos is not that much at all of course, it can become an annoying weight if you have to wear the speaker in a backpack for a long time (presumably with a lot of other products). If you wear the black colossus from the living room to another room or the garden, then it's no problem. The handy lever on the back offers enough grip to hold it comfortably. Your palm does not rest on the buttons either.
On top of the Sonos Move we find four touch-sensitive buttons and six small holes. Four of these holes contain the microphones that can receive voice commands from the other side of the room. The top button is for turning the Google Assistant on and off, while the three buttons below it can turn the volume up and down and play and pause the music. On the back there is the on and off button, as well as the pairing button and the switch with which you switch between the wifi and bluetooth connection.
The design is fairly unique for a Sonos speaker, but if we should compare, it still has the most away from a big Sonos Play: 1. However, the top is much rounder. The black cylinder is equipped with two D-class digital amplifiers, a midwoofer and a downward-looking tweeter. The latter must ensure an even distribution of the sound. At the front you will find the Sonos logo. The speaker comes with a narrow and sleek holder that you can use to charge it.
Operation via Google Assistant
When you unpack the speaker and place it on its holder, you can immediately start installing. First it is important that you link the Sonos Move to your Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, this is done in no time via the free Sonos application. You will then be asked if you want to link music streaming services and voice assistants. Fortunately, this process also speaks for itself. You simply follow the steps that appear on the screen, log in to the service accounts and you can immediately start listening.
Like the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam, you can also control the Sonos Move via the Google Assistant. You can pause and play the music, you can go to the previous or next song, and you can raise and lower the volume. Of course you can also ask for specific songs, bands and playlists, for example by saying “Hey Google, play Metallica via Spotify”. You can also do this through another music streaming service once you have installed it. So be clear about that with your command.
That is not the only thing: you can also use the smart speaker to control other devices in the house. For example, you can ask the Sonos Move to arrange all sorts of things at home when you have many smart home devices that work with the Google Assistant. Switching lamps on and off, asking your Xbox to start a game controlling the temperature in the house – it is all possible. Of course you can with any smart speaker that the Assistant supports, but nevertheless it is nice that the Move can help you with this.
Bluetooth is a great addition
At least, things like that are only possible when you use the Sonos Move in Wi-Fi mode. If you switch to Bluetooth, the smart functions are canceled. That is because you switch off Wi-Fi when you switch on Bluetooth. In addition, it is very unfortunate that the Move does not support the bluetooth aptX and aptX HD standards, so you do not have access to higher quality audio when you stream from your smartphone – and this is very popular with Android users.
Despite the fact that the speaker loses its smart functions and only supports the standards aac and sbc, it is nice that you now also get a bluetooth speaker in the house. That makes the Sonos Move indeed more versatile and user-friendly. You are not obliged to use a music streaming service that is supported by the app (Juke, Spotify, Deezer, Apple iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal, Napster, Amazon Prime Music, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, Qobuz and TunIn) and can therefore listen what
And whether you use the speaker with Bluetooth or WiFi, you can remove it from its standard with a simple action and put it anywhere you want thanks to the built-in battery. It must be possible to charge that battery approximately nine hundred times and therefore last for three years. If there is something wrong with it, then it is fortunately easy to replace. Sonos promises about ten hours of listening pleasure on a full battery, but that depends entirely on the volume: the harder it is, the faster it goes empty.
In Wi-Fi mode you naturally get access to multi-room options. You can record the Sonos Move in an existing Sonos network and therefore play the same music in different rooms on each speaker, if you wish. So if you have already invested in Sonos products, you do not have to jump through hoops to be able to use this speaker. The installation for this also speaks for itself and the app helps you with it. Sonos users will have no problem with this at all.
What we miss are other multi-room options. It is a pity that the Sonos Move cannot be included in a Google Cast network. Because there is no Chromecast functionality built-in and that makes the speaker less versatile. If you have other speakers with Google Assistant and Cast then you cannot include the Move in that network. A missed opportunity, especially since the function can be added via a simple software update. This is really at the expense of its versatile nature.
That said, it is nice to see that there is support for the multiroom platform from Apple, namely Airplay 2 . This makes it possible to create your own network of Airplay 2 speakers and stream music directly from your iPhone or iPad, without too much hassle. Moreover, there is also Spotify Connect. From the official Spotify app you can therefore manage what music you listen to. You therefore do not need the Sonos app and you do not necessarily have to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Sound does not always sound equally good
Sonos speakers often concentrate on a pleasant and pleasant bass response. They present a warm and full sound and can often easily fill small to large rooms (depending on the speaker purchased, of course). In terms of sound reproduction, the Sonos Move may be closest to the Sonos Play: 1, but just a step higher. If you place the speaker in a corner, the bass may be somewhat overwhelming due to the acoustics. Unfortunately, you do not have the option to adjust this within the app, if desired.
Because of the generally pleasant bass, the Sonos Move allows you to effortlessly listen to pop music, r & b, dance, house and more genres in that direction. As long as the emphasis is on the bass. If you go in a different direction, for example in the direction of rock and metal, then it can happen that the music reproduction is slightly distorted from the cylindrical speaker. The guitar strings sound wrongly measured and do not reach their full potential on the Sonos Move. In some cases it sounds a bit tinny and unpleasant.
Apart from that, we notice that the Sonos Move can be set quite hard before music starts to sound really shrill. The sound keeps coming out proportionally and certain aspects of the music never really prevail. Fortunately, that means that you can effortlessly fill reasonably large rooms (we tested it in an area of 27 square meters) and gardens with a further warm and detailed sound. Because even though not all genres come into their own, the music reproduction can be called versatile.
Sonos Trueplay for iOS users
One way to get a better sound from the Sonos Move is by using the automatic Trueplay option. This is automatic calibration technology for your music, which determines what a fine audio reproduction is based on the location of the speaker. The speaker optimizes the sound, but only in combination with an iPhone or iPad. Android and Windows users do not know the functionality; it is all the more unfortunate that the Move cannot play music of higher quality via bluetooth.
Android and Windows users do not have access to Trueplay and that is a deadly sin. Because it is a portable speaker and can be used in various places both indoors and outdoors, the optimization mode can provide a much better sound experience. If you operate the Sonos Move with a suitable iPad or iPhone, you will actually hear a difference within 30 seconds when you move the speaker. The technology is not new, but it is still just as impressive.
Sonos Move – conclusion
The Sonos Move is the most versatile loudspeaker that the American company has released. There is support for WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay 2, Spotify Connect and more than enough music streaming services. Sonos Trueplay has also been further optimized and is still doing its job perfectly. And the fact that you can effortlessly pick up the speaker and then put it in the garden for up to ten hours for a party is, in our opinion, the icing on the cake. The voice control is also more than welcome.
However, the versatility is not for everyone. If you use the Sonos Move in combination with an Android or Windows device, you will already miss Trueplay. Moreover, it is unfortunate that something simple like Google Cast is not built in and we think it is a shame that Android users cannot fall back on a better audio experience through Bluetooth aptX (HD). Furthermore, it is striking that in some cases (in specific music genres) the sound can sound measured and tinny and that is a shame.
That said, we are nevertheless satisfied with the Sonos Move. Because although the multifaceted nature has suffered a dent, we are positive about the state of sound reproduction. The music usually sounds warm, the bass sounds nice and deep and rooms and gardens can be filled effortlessly with (usually) undistorted sound. So have you already invested heavily in Sonos or are you planning to do so as an iOS user? Then the speaker is worth its price. Other users should wait for a price drop.