I’ve been pining for a transportable outside Sonos speaker for years. I think anybody who’s purchased into the Sonos ecosystem has. The Sonos Move not solely scratches that itch, its Bluetooth radio provides me the choice of taking the speaker on the street. What could possibly be higher than that? Audio efficiency rivaling the mighty second-generation Sonos Play:5, plus real-time room compensation and your alternative of Alexa or Google Assistant onboard.
The Move isn’t Sonos’ first outside speaker. The firm partnered with Sonance in late 2018 to provide the weatherized Sonos Outdoor by Sonance audio system, however these are wired, passive, and costly at $799—plus the price of an amplifier to drive them. You should buy them direct, however they’re actually meant for the custom-installer market. The Move isn’t precisely low cost at $399, however it’s self-amplified, battery-powered, and—weighing in at 6.6 kilos—luggable, with a deep deal with molded into the again of its enclosure.
At house—and in all places else
To hearken to the Move at house, you’ll wish to join the speaker to your Wi-Fi community. The onboard dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter gives vital vary that ought to allow you to pay attention nearly anyplace in even a big yard, supplied you will have router. That can even allow you to sync it to all of your different Sonos elements in a multi-room audio system. You can pair two Move audio system as a wi-fi stereo pair when linked to Wi-Fi, however you’ll be able to’t pair the Move with the Sonos Sub. The Move additionally helps Apple’s AirPlay 2 audio expertise.
I evaluated the Move whereas linked to a three-node Samsung SmartThings Wifi router that I’m within the means of reviewing, and I used to be in a position to wander impressively lengthy distances round my rural property with out the speaker dropping off my community. In truth, the Move maintained its Wi-Fi connection even on the finish of my more-than-300-foot-long driveway.
Unfortunately, my Pixel 2 XL couldn’t match that efficiency, so I had assumed that left me with no strategy to management the speaker other than touching the play/pause and volume-control buttons on the speaker itself. But then I remembered that I may use voice instructions! This labored with Alexa, and whereas I didn’t change over to Google Assistant to confirm that it could additionally work, there’s no cause I can see that it wouldn’t. That is a exceptional efficiency for an 802.11n gadget. Your mileage will range, in fact, relying on the standard of your router and the density of competing Wi-Fi networks the place you reside.
Take the Move on the street—or anyplace past the attain of your router or private hotspot—and also you’ll change to a Bluetooth connection. The Move helps Bluetooth 4.2 with AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile). Just push the mode button on the again of the speaker to change from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth after which pair the speaker together with your smartphone or pill. Once paired, you want solely push the button on the speaker to change modes.
You will expertise a slight compromise in audio high quality with Bluetooth in comparison with Wi-Fi, relying on what you’re streaming. You gained’t discover it whereas taking part in tracks on companies like Spotify that stream lossy, comparatively low-resolution tracks (in comparison with 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC recordsdata, as an example). Wi-Fi can present the bandwidth for FLAC and different codecs in resolutions a lot increased than that, though Sonos elements are restricted to a most decision of 16-bit/48kHz.
That means you gained’t get full high quality from lossless streaming companies equivalent to Tidal, Qobuz, or the new Amazon Music HD when the speaker is in Bluetooth mode. And you gained’t be capable of benefit from the high-resolution (24-bit/192kHz) streaming choices out there from Qobuz or Amazon Music HD utilizing both connectivity possibility. Support for aptX—or higher but, aptX HD—would assist the Move’s Bluetooth efficiency, however Sonos helps solely the SBC and AAC codecs over Bluetooth.
Weatherization and battery life
Any outside speaker that may’t stand as much as the weather could be ineffective, so Sonos constructed the Move to an ingress safety degree of IP56. That means the speaker is protected against mud (although it’s not mud tight), and it’s protected against highly effective water jets sprayed from as much as a 12.5mm nozzle. It in all probability gained’t survive being knocked off the ledge of your pool and into its depths, however you’ll be able to spray it with a hose to rinse off seaside sand. If you reside in space topic to harsh climate, the Move will proceed to function at temperatures starting from 14 levels Fahrenheit all the best way to 131F.
Sonos says the Move can also be engineered to resist a drop from a peak of practically 30 inches. I didn’t check that declare, and Sonos would say solely that the Move has a one-year restricted guarantee within the U.S. and a two-year guarantee in Europe, dodging my query: Would harm ensuing from such a drop could be coated underneath guarantee?
True portability requires battery energy, and Sonos put an enormous one within the Move. The firm says it ought to ship 10 hours of uninterrupted play on a full cost. The speaker will go right into a power-conserving droop mode after 10 minutes of inactivity if it’s not on its charging base. Said base is an unobtrusive ring with a reasonably massive wall wart on the finish of its six-foot cable. The cable emerges from the aspect of the AC adapter, so it doesn’t block the adjoining outlet in a duplex or energy strip. When there’s no AC energy out there to cost the battery, you should use a USB-C charger to replenish it, however the charger should help a number of of those output ranges: 12V/3A, 15V/3A, or 20V/2.25A.
Sonos says customers don’t want to fret about discharging the battery to a sure degree earlier than recharging it, and that they may be capable of go away the Move on its charging base for prolonged intervals of time with out worrying about damaging the battery. “We created the charging base for this exact use case,” mentioned a Sonos spokesperson through e-mail. “Our team actually designed the chemistry of the battery to not see faster degradation if always plugged in.”
When I requested if Sonos had any best-practice suggestions for battery administration, this identical spokesperson mentioned “No, we did find that many Bluetooth speakers would go uncharged when returned from the outdoors, meaning they were often dead the next time users wanted to listen to music. The dock gives Move a ‘home’ within the home, ensuring the battery is topped off for your next adventure.”
Regardless of how large a battery a tool has, it’ll ultimately fail to carry a cost. We’ve all skilled this, whether or not it’s with our smartphone or our automotive. Sonos is likely one of the few battery-powered speaker producers I’m conscious of to supply a method of changing a failed battery, though the corporate has not but printed a value for the element (you can too change the batteries in Soundcast’s line of outside audio system, together with its since-discontinued Outcast, however they’re not low cost). The Sonos spokesperson declined to clarify how customers will go about changing the Move’s battery, however mentioned “It’ll be a simple process that can be done at home.”
The high of the oval-shaped Move will look acquainted to any Sonos consumer. There’s a capacitive contact button for play/pause that’s flanked by buttons for quantity down (left) and quantity up (proper). A mic button within the heart mutes the array of six far-field microphones used to summon both Alexa or Google Assistant (you’ll want to decide on one or the opposite—each can’t be energetic concurrently). An LED subsequent to this button glows white when the mic is energetic, and the one manner you’ll be able to flip it off is to mute the mic. A second LED, proper above the play/pause button, glows white when the speaker is linked to Wi-Fi, and blue when linked to Bluetooth. Unlike the mic button, this standing LED can be turned off.
The Move is a brilliant speaker solely whereas it’s linked to Wi-Fi, in fact, however it’s remarkably able to detecting the wake phrase even whereas it’s pumping the jams. I wanted to lift my voice after I had the amount cranked, however I by no means wanted to shout to get its consideration. If you need the companies of a wise speaker when you’re on the street, and you’ve got a stable information plan, I’d counsel tethering the speaker to your smartphone as a substitute of counting on Bluetooth.
Using the Move as a wise speaker isn’t the one cause you’ll wish to follow Wi-Fi whereas listening. I’ve lengthy been a fan of Sonos’ Trueplay expertise, regardless that its implementation in each different Sonos speaker has required strolling across the room waving an iOS gadget by way of the air like a witch physician summoning the ability of the spirit world (Sonos says the range of microphone elements in Android gadgets makes it unimaginable to foretell how Trueplay will work with that class of cell gadget). You clearly wouldn’t wish to do that each time you progress the speaker to a distinct location.
On the Move, Trueplay depends on its personal embedded microphones to judge the sonic surroundings it’s taking part in in, after which it equalizes its audio output accordingly. What’s extra, this occurs robotically and inside about 60 seconds. You might want to allow Auto Trueplay tuning within the Sonos app and go away the mic array unmuted. If you don’t like the concept of a digital assistant listening in on you, you’ll be able to disable that function and nonetheless use Trueplay. The mics will proceed to document, however the speaker gained’t ship any information to the cloud. Auto Trueplay can also be disabled whereas the speaker is in movement and when it’s out of Wi-Fi vary.
The Trueplay EQ adjustments are palpable on the Move, lowering bass increase when you don’t have any alternative however to place the speaker in sonically difficult places, equivalent to a nook of your countertop, and widening the sound stage if you take the speaker outdoor. Sonos gained’t say if it plans to convey Auto Trueplay to its different audio system which have onboard mics (e.g., the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam), however I hope it does.
Listening assessments and verdict
The Sonos Move is a two-way mono speaker with one Class D amplifier driving a down-firing tweeter and a second Class D amp driving a front-firing woofer. Sonos has declined to disclose a lot past that, together with what supplies the drivers are fabricated from and even what measurement they’re. After per week of intensive listening, I don’t care. The Sonos Move is the most effective speaker has Sonos has constructed because the second-gen Play:5. This speaker does have one main shortcoming, nonetheless: It could be very directional. It has a really broad sound stage, however it is advisable be sitting in entrance of it to get pleasure from it. Unlike, say, the Libratone Zipp, you’ll be able to’t put the Move in the midst of a picnic desk and anticipate everybody round it to have listening expertise.
Aside from that, the Move sounds improbable, indoors and out. It delivers an incredible slab of foundational bass with out muddying the mid and better frequencies. And it will get actually loud with out tipping over into distortion. Listening to Afro Celt Sound System’s “Sure-As-Not,” from the band’s Capture: Chorus, downloaded as a FLAC file from the Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound music service, the Move pulsed with electrical bass and kick drum, whereas rendering plucked harp notes with a pleasant sparkle.
That mentioned, I’ve by no means discovered any Sonos speaker to qualify as an audiophile-level product, and the Move isn’t any exception. Playing Steely Dan’s “Jack of Speed,” from Two Against Nature, for instance, the speaker had problem reproducing the faint sound of the sleigh bells that are available in close to the tip of that monitor. But in the event you’re on the lookout for that degree of element, I doubt you anticipate to get it when you’re out barbecuing on the patio or washing your automotive on the driveway anyway.
The Sonos Move is a exceptional speaker and needs to be excessive on anybody’s buying checklist, whether or not it’s your first Sonos element or your fifteenth.