Connect with us


Sonos’ Roam 2 speaker is easier to use and available today for $179

The Sonos Roam 2 has the same design and sound quality as the original but now has improved controls and can be used in Bluetooth mode right out of the box.



Sonos’ Roam 2 speaker is easier to use and available today for $179
Sonos’ Roam 2 speaker is easier to use and available today for $179

Sonos is refreshing its small portable speaker, the Roam, with a second-generation model that mostly adds some minor quality-of-life improvements. It’s reasonable to think of the new Roam 2, available today for $179, as more of a Roam 1.5: this is really what Sonos should’ve released in the first place.

As I reported earlier this month, the Roam 2 can be used right out of the box like any other Bluetooth speaker. That differs from the original, which awkwardly required an initial setup process with the Sonos app — on your home Wi-Fi network, no less — before you could use it on the go. Seems silly for a portable audio product, right? Thankfully Sonos now agrees.

The Roam 2 also gains a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button on the back, whereas the previous model piled that and other functionality into the power button. You’d have to hold it down for varying lengths of time for different results. Now it’s a much more foolproof approach.

A photo of the Sonos Roam speaker next to a pint glass of beer.A photo of the Sonos Roam speaker next to a pint glass of beer.
The original Sonos Roam has faced complaints over deteriorating battery performance.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

But one thing owners of the original are likely wondering about is longevity. Unlike the Move and Move 2, the Roam (and now Roam 2) lacks a user-replaceable battery. And there have been complaints aplenty about the tiny speaker gradually holding less of a charge over time. The compact speaker’s max continuous listening time of 10 hours is unchanged, but Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told me there are under-the-hood tweaks.

“We’ve optimized the battery; there’s a little bit better battery life,” he told me at a media briefing in New York last week without getting too specific. He said Sonos’ main learnings from the original Roam were that customers wanted more tactile buttons and the freedom to use it immediately after purchase. (The new Ace headphones can similarly be paired to a device without delay.)

A marketing image of three Sonos Roam 2 speakers.A marketing image of three Sonos Roam 2 speakers.
The design hasn’t changed, nor has the sound quality.
Image: Sonos

The Roam continues to support features like Sound Swap, making it easy to switch music between it and the company’s other speakers. You can also pair any Bluetooth-compatible source to the speaker and then share that audio across your entire Sonos system. The USB-C port remains strictly for power, however; it doesn’t have the line-in capabilities of the Move 2.

“You’re right that it’s an incremental change,” Spence said of the Roam 2 overall. Internally, the speaker has the same driver layout as before — one tweeter and one midwoofer — and Sonos isn’t hyping any sound quality improvements. So if you’ve heard the first-gen speaker, you’ve already got a good idea of what this one is capable of.

The Roam 2 comes in black, green, blue, orange, or white; you can tell you’re looking at the new model because the Sonos logo now matches the body color instead of the white text from last time. It’s on sale at retailers beginning today, although some Best Buy locations seem to have put it on display even earlier.