Review: Move 2 Improves on Sonos’s Original Portable Speaker

Can its balanced and refined sound win out over bass-heavy competitors?

December 18, 2023 12:27 pm
Sonos Move 2 outdoors near a sprinkler
The Sonos Move 2 — built for outdoors, but not big outdoor parties

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The Sonos Move 2 is an incredibly easy-to-use and well-designed portable speaker that possesses a sound I’d call “powerful enough” for your outdoor adventures. But based on my early use, this is not a party speaker (the bass is nice but not floor-shaking) rather something built for friends and family gatherings where you don’t want to overpower the conversation or event.

Sonos claims they’ve updated the Move 2 inside and out, and four years removed from its first iteration, there’s a lot of improvement (battery life, mainly). The unit’s new acoustic architecture replaces the previous generation’s single tweeter with two, creating more of a stereo soundstage. There are also updated touch controls — including the new volume slider — and the set-up remains intuitive and simple.

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Is a handsome, well-designed, six-pound speaker worth $449 — even if you’re already well-steeped in the Sonos audio universe? Let’s find out.

The specs:

  • IP56 dustproof/waterproof rating
  • Available in black, white or olive
  • Built-in power bank 
  • Automatic Trueplay (which optimizes sound based on where the speaker is located)
  • 9.5 x 6.3 x 5 inches (H x W x D)
  • 6.61 lbs including battery
  • Voice controls (including Siri, Alexa and Sonos) and capacitive touch controls
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • What’s in the box: Move 2, charging base with 6 ft (2 m) USB-C to C cable, 45 W USB-C PD power adapter, and Quickstart guide.

What works:

  • The new features on Move 2 make the speaker much more powerful and versatile than the original Move. The new dual-tweeters setup means you have a spacious stereo sound (and you can pair it with another Move 2 to get true stereo). Listeners can use Bluetooth and wifi concurrently. And the speaker is good for up to 24 hours on a charge, more than double the first Move.
  • A built-in power bank allows you to use the USB-C to charge your smartphone.
  • We’ll have to take the word of Sonos on this, but the Move 2 reportedly reduces its idle energy consumption by more than 40% compared to its predecessor. The unit and packaging also incorporate recycled plastics and sustainably sourced content. Plus, there’s a replaceable battery.
  • You can now connect a turntable, computer or other audio source using the Sonos Line-In Adapter (sold separately)
  • Setting up on my home’s Sonos system took under five minutes. The instructions are basically a two-step pamphlet.
  • Battery Saver in the Sonos app to best preserve battery life when Move 2 is inactive. When enabled, your Move 2 will power off automatically after 10 minutes in sleep mode.
  • Even if they don’t have the app, your friends can stream to Sonos without having to download anything or get your wifi password.

What needs work:

  • The microphone, Bluetooth and power switches are on the back, not the top. Since the idea is you’re moving the speaker around, that’s not a huge deal, but it does make access a little more difficult.
  • Using a third-party power supply will void your warranty. The charging base is also for indoor use only.
  • This is a system really built for Apple compatibility; Trueplay requires iOS 8 or later, and there’s no Google voice control.
  • This isn’t a critique but more of a reality: The Sonos Roam, which is an excellent and tiny portable speaker, weighs 7.1 oz. The Move 2 weighs over six lbs and you’re gonna feel it. This is “portable” in the way that you may want to just move it once if you’re traveling (and certainly don’t take it in your luggage or backpack — this feels like a backyard or car-trip/tailgate kind of speaker).
  • There’s not much to the Sonos EQ on the app — you can adjust bass, treble and “loudness.” Altering those attributes didn’t actually affect the music that much.
Unpacking the olive Sonos Move 2
The olive colorway is cool. As is the minimal packaging and simple easy set-up.

How it sounds

Besides the high price point, the audio is obviously what’s going to make or break the Move 2.

It offers clear sound with solid but not overpowering bass — and the limited EQ (see above) seems designed so you can’t really distort your audio. This is not earth-rattling stuff. 

While it’s not technically 360 audio, the speaker does produce an immersive, room-filling soundscape. I tested it against my Sonos home system and it was obviously no match for that surround setup (soundbar, two speakers, subwoofer), but it offered clarity, balance and enough low-end that I wasn’t compelled to adjust the settings — which, again, those equalizer settings aren’t doing much anyway. 

I’ve heard more powerful portable speakers that could shake windows from down the block. The Sonos Move 2 seems designed for more…not genteel experiences but something a little more intimate. This isn’t for your block party, it’s for your backyard barbecue (or maybe a small rooftop shindig where you’re trying not to get the cops called). It’s up to you to decide if those use cases are worth $449.

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