Review: This New Sonos Speaker Is Your Ideal Backyard Companion

A powerful, hefty but pricey solution for semi-portable audio

October 29, 2019 5:30 am
Review: This New Sonos Speaker Is Your Ideal Backyard Companion

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We’re big fans of the Sonos One, so we assumed the new Sonos Move was simply a portable take on the popular home smart speaker.

After a brief tryout with the Move, we realize it’s an entirely different beast, albeit one that does play nicely with your current Sonos architecture (if you have other equipment from the brand).

Our initial thoughts below.

What is the Sonos Move?

The Sonos Move is a Bluetooth/wireless speaker you won’t set just down in your living room. Equipped with a handle on the back, the idea here is you’ll schlep the rechargeable, weather-resistant speaker — which weighs just over six pounds and is larger and taller than a Sonos One — indoors and outdoors to provide a temporary but superior audio experience in a location that lacks a speaker system, be it your yard, the beach or a room in your house.

Sonos Move
The Sonos Move is an expensive but powerful portable speaker
Sonos Move

How is the Move similar to a Sonos One?

You can connect to your current Sonos system, with some caveats (you can’t use two Moves as part of a home theater surround sound system, for example). It works with voice controls via Wifi, or via the same Sonos app you may already use. It’s a dark black (more on that in a minute). It has a few capacitive touch controls on the device to control volume, next/previous track and microphone muting. And it features Trueplay, which adjusts the sound to your environment … though done in a different way (again, see below).

What’s new?

That recharging base, for one, which allows your device up to 10 hours of playback between charges. 

Unlike the One, Trueplay here is automatic — during our demo the Move was placed from a countertop to the floor of another room down a short hallway. Within about 20-30 seconds, the sound adjusted accordingly. 

Sonos speakers are generally pretty tough. The Move, however, supposedly survived temperatures from 14-156 degrees and fairly large drops, which seems more likely to damage your floor than your speaker (did we test this? Absolutely not.)

The black colorway isn’t quite the same as other Sonos speakers. Dubbed a “shadow black,” it’s designed to reflect heat. 


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How’s it sound?

Like a Sonos speaker, thankfully. Powerful, clean, deep bass. I was actually surprised to find out they’d reconfigured the speaker’s guts, so that the sound is actually firing down and not out. It’s also not a 360 degree speaker; sit or stand behind the Move and the volume is noticeably muffled, which is an ideal audio solution for, say, dealing with angry neighbors. You’re getting directional sound. 

What’s not to like?

Honestly, the price ($399). There are plenty of good wireless, weatherproof speakers out there for $100 or less and certainly more portable than this rather heavyset piece of audio. But you’re not going to find anything portable with this amount of power.

Our thoughts:

This might be your ideal audio solution for a small backyard event, or for minimalists who want just one speaker they can use at home and also take through the house and/or on the occasional outdoor adventure (not hiking, more like camping or tailgating).  

What others are saying:

“If you can live with its price and size, the Sonos Move is an excellent portable wireless speaker that expands the play area of your Sonos system.” — CNET

“The Move easily outgunned Apple’s [HomePod] speaker at the same settings and was able to maintain clarity just as well.” — The Verge

“If you’re not the kind of person who needs a speaker in every room of your house, the Move makes a ton of sense. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely less money than getting five or six Sonos Ones.” — Engadget

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