There wasn’t much left that we didn’t know until now, but today Sonos officially announced its latest speaker, the Sonos Roam. As The Verge reported last week, the Roam is a portable battery-powered speaker rated at $169. Preorders will commence today and go on sale on the 20th of April.
The Sonos Move was the company’s first attempt at a portable device, but it’s very big and heavy to travel with. The Roam is, however, a real “carry it everywhere” speaker. It’s the smallest speaker Sonos ever made, even though the measurements were 6.61 x 2.44 x 2.36 inches and weighs 0.95 pounds.
Sonos highlights the potential of the speaker to automatically switch to Bluetooth as soon as it’s out of range of your home Wi-Fi network and automatically switch back to Wi-Fi when it’s back in range. Also, you can stream Bluetooth audio from a device such as a smartphone to a speaker and relay the audio to other Sonos speakers in your multi-room system. For the Switch, you have to pick between a Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth link.
The Roam will last up to 10 hours of audio playback at a single charge, and the USB-C charging cable is included in the package. Sonos also sells a wireless charging stand—Roam magnetically connects to it—but you can use any Qi wireless adapter that fits the speaker when it’s up, so that’s good. When not in use, the Roam will last up to 10 days of standby time.
Sonos says Roam has been tested with a lot of durability tests. The speaker has silicone at both ends to help shield it when it is dropped. It is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, so it can survive in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
The other neat Roam trick is called Sound Swap. Just keep the play/pause button on top for three seconds, and the Roam will transfer the music it plays to whatever other Sonos speakers on your device are nearest to you. The way Sonos does this is clever: when Sound Swap is triggered, all your Sonos speakers can emit a high-pitched frequency that people (and dogs) can’t hear. This is how the Roam finds out which one is close. This style of hand-off may prove useful for a long-running noise package of Sonos headphones.
The Roam seems to be a compelling product for Sonos. Is it the right speaker for the bathroom? The perfect speaker tossing in your bag while you’re travelling? A lot hinges on how good that sounds to $169.