Rating: 4 out of 5
Here’s what we feel about the Sonos Roam portable Bluetooth speaker and whether you should get it.
Sonos is now making an effort to be heard in the Indian market, slowly rolling out most of its products here. After the Sonos Beam, the Sonos Roam ultra portable wireless speakers are now available in India.
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The Sonos Roam has a very compact design and is small enough to be held in your hand. So it can easily slip into your backpack or handbag for small or long trips. The Roam has an uncomplicated design. A long button to power up or pair your device on the back and a play/pause button flanked by volume controls on the side of the log-like design. There is a mic button to active Google Assistant or Alexa as you prefer. The play/pause can also be used to skip songs back and forth and this worked quite well with Apple Music streaming from my iPhone.
Where Sonos is different from other wireless speakers is in how it uses the Wi-Fi network to stream music from the phone or even music services which you can set up using the app. This means the speaker is not hassled by the notifications and calls on your phone. And I could even take calls on the phone even as music was streaming from it. This is a feature very few speakers can offer now. Also, while streaming from Spotify the speakers don’t play out the ads which is a good feature for those using free version of the service.
The audio quality is something that sets every Sonos speaker apart. And there is something about the audio profile of a Sonos speaker that makes it unique. It is soft yet sharp and very to the point. I have always found them to be pure, no-nonsense.
The Sonos Roam is no different. You hear the music at its best, no extra bass or unnecessary tweaks. But when the composition demands it, the Roam can push both the high and the lows. For something this small, hearing the strum of the guitar in the background of a vocal-heavy number will usually be hard. But not so with the Roam.
For instance, with ‘Garaj Garaj’ from Bandish Bandits, you hear Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty’s booming voice as well as the tabla in the right balance. Both filling the room with their depth. And when John Coltrane’s ‘A love Supreme’ is playing on rotation, boosted by Apple Lossless and Dolby Atmos, you are in some New Orleans pub of the 1960s soaking in all that Jazz. Staying with the holiday mood, I swiped to Nat King Cole’s ‘Deck The Hall’, the jingles hanging in the room like Christmas start as the chorus provided the ideal backdrop… all very layered. Joy to the world!
Initially, I was a bit surprised by the volume level. I was playing at full on the iPhone and still it sounded a bit underwhelming. That is when I realised that speaker output can up many more notches and the Roam can get more than loud for what you would expect from something this size. So when you play ‘Atoms’ by Ludovico Einaudi, it’s like a church organ at full volume. If you need more, you can pair the Roam with another one or any other Sonos speaker you might have.
The Sonos Roam is certainly one of the best wireless speakers you can buy at the moment, especially if you take your music seriously. At Rs 19,999, it is not cheap. But you better pay well for quality music.
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