When I first saw the SONOS Move at the SONOS event, I was pretty impressed.
Here was this dinky little speaker, which sounded like it could punch waaaaaaay above its weight class.
Plucky and cute, I was sold on the concept and the SONOS Move at first sight but minor reservations about its performance still held me back from truly embracing it.
Now that I’ve had a week’s worth of testing with the speaker, is it truly what it claims to be?
Keep on reading and find out.
What is the Sonos Move?
The SONOS Move is SONOS’ newest portable speaker.
I’ve already gone on at length about its capabilities in our earlier coverage, so I’ll just copy and paste the lowdown here.
The SONOS Move is the latest in a line of smart speakers from the company. It’s a smart speaker with voice recognition (so Alexa and Google Assistant works with it) and you can talk to it like you would any other smart device.
It has two Class-D digital amps, a downward-firing tweeter and a single mid-wooofer…all packed into that sweet,sweet matte black casing.
The SONOS Move isn’t SONOS’ smallest speaker; at 240 x 160 x 126mm it’s pretty chunky, though it weighs in at around 3KG. That means nearly everybody should have no trouble carrying it around.
Like other SONOS devices, it’s also compatible with the company’s app and Apple Airplay 2.
Awesomely, when there’s no WiFi, the SONOS Move also has Bluetooth built-in, so you can just stream with whatever compatible smart device you have on hand.
The SONOS Move is billed by the company as a durable, battery powered smart speaker for outdoor and indoor listening.Me from our SONOS Move event coverage
One tiny detail not mentioned in the quote; the pricing. The SONOS Move retails for $729.
Hopefully you read all that and know what to expect from the SONOS Move now.
Honestly, my first impressions with the speaker was pretty dead on, even after having the Move for a couple of days to play around with.
How does it sound?
As a solo portable speaker, the SONOS Move is a surprisingly capable product. Like I said during my first impressions, I really thought that the size of the speaker would affect the quality of the sound.
It doesn’t, not one bit.
Sure, you don’t get the surround sound feeling that’s prevalent from soundbars but that’s just a trade-off that’s present with all portable speakers.
Hell, with regards to the SONOS Move, it’s not really a weakness at all since you can just get another Move, and pair them together. The more Move speakers you have, the better your sound setup.
I had no issues streaming with the Move from my Samsung Galaxy Note8, whether it’s through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
One tiny note to mention; you can’t use the SONOS Move as a Bluetooth speaker right out of the box; you need to pair it with your phone (through the app) via Wi-Fi FIRST before you can enable the Bluetooth connectivity.
That’s a bit of a downside, especially if you’re having an outdoor party and multiple people want to stream their music. They can’t just connect to the Move and stream. Also, NFC support would’ve made for MUCH easier pairing too!
These are weird omissions, especially at the premium price point you’re paying for the Move. At $729, you’d expect a much more streamlined (and user friendly) streaming experience.
Aurally, the SONOS Move more than delivers. Its performance is stellar, with the incredibly loud volume one of the best things about it. There’s no distortion or hissing when playing audio (unlike some portable speakers) and tunes sound crystal clear. It’s probably due to the auto-tuning capabilities of the speaker; it automatically adjusts the audio to deliver optimal sound, depending on where the speaker is placed.
It’s honestly pretty good and definitely works as intended.
It has to be said that the bass does seem a bit tame.
I admit that might be because I’ve been testing it in open locations like the void deck (which got me more than a few icy glares), a park and the beach.
Without no nearby walls to reverberate off, the bass does seem a bit on the weak end but unless you’re REALLY into bass heavy music (I’m into power rock and metal so I’m fine), it won’t make much of a difference.
What does make a difference though is the weather resistant features. The speaker’s IP56 rating makes it tough for dirt, mud, sand and water to penetrate and it should after a day at the beach.
True, it was on a piece of canvas and not directly on the sand, but I know that it got sprayed with sand quite a few times when kids were playing around it. The speaker also got hit by a few drops of rain (suddenly downpour) but its water resistance still held true.
The SONOS Move is also designed to withstand drops, impacts and bump and keep on ticking. While I didn’t intentionally drop it, it did suffer a minor fall from my couch to the carpet. It didn’t even lose a beat, pumping out music before, during and after the fall like it was no small thang.
SONOS claims the Move lasts for about 10 hours without needing to charge. It certainly seems true, after having tested it for about 11 hours straight (at night) with it being on 50% volume the whole time. It could probably have gone on but I absentmindedly put it back into its charging cradle right after waking up in the morning
So yeah, if you’re looking for an outdoor speaker, I know the Move certainly holds up, from first hand experience this time, and not just a demo in TC Acoustic’s office.
The bottom line.
The SONOS Move certainly holds up its own, even after extended use. I was already impressed with the speaker initially, but my own time with it made me appreciate even more how awesome it is.
That’s not to say the speaker is perfect. The lack of NFC is a weird omission, especially since it’s an outdoor speaker. Needing to pair via Wi-Fi first is also another misstep.
Coupled together, it makes the $729 asking price a bit hard to swallow. There’s a ton of cool features to the speaker and it does sound great (mostly) but at its asking price, it should be hard to find ANY fault with it.
With that in mind, I’d still recommend the SONOS Move. It’s pricey and some features are missed but it’s certainly one of the best portable speakers I’ve ever heard.
Some issues but overall an awesome portable speaker.
– All sorts of features.
– Sleek look
– Great sound
– No NFC.
– Bass a bit weak outdoors.