Sonos Move hands on: A Sonos that can survive the beach

Posted: 5 September 2019 11:00 pm

Sonos Move

Sonos finally moves away from Wi-Fi (a little) with the durable Sonos Move.

The Sonos ecosystem of devices has always relied on providing good quality music within a home environment, using a custom wireless mesh arrangement plus Wi-Fi connectivity to enable easy playback within homes and offices.

While it wasn't much of a secret, having been leaked quite extensively beforehand, at IFA in Berlin Sonos has unveiled the Sonos Move, its first speaker to step beyond the home with the addition of Bluetooth pairing compatibility.

At IFA, I had the opportunity for a little ears-on time and interaction with the new Sonos Move speaker, as well as its new Sonos One SL and Sonos Port devices. This was within the house that Sonos set up to test it with many other journalists around, so I couldn't quite go blasting Prince's Purple Rain at full volume.

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Sonos Move: Early upsides

  • Good sound. It really wouldn't be a Sonos product if it sounded like trash, and within both outdoors environments and a rather stylised "home" environment it delivered good multi-directional sound, even though the music wasn't content I was that familiar with.
  • Very durable. Sonos' pitch for the Sonos Move is that it's capable of surviving just about anything you'd throw at it. It's IP56 rated for dust and water ingress. At the launch, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence stated that they even tested throwing it at concrete – not recommended – and that while it took a denting, so did the concrete, and that it still kept playing music. Sonos had a number of testing environments set up to show how it can survive heat and dust, and while these were staged, it bodes well for general durability of the Sonos Move.
  • Bluetooth outside, Wi-Fi inside. The big change for Sonos here is the inclusion of Bluetooth compatibility so that you can take it on the go with you. That's backed by a USB-C charged battery that Sonos claims can last up to 10 hours of playback. I couldn't stick around to test that, mind you.
  • Works with other Sonos speakers. Not a shock here, but if you do already have other Sonos speakers, you can set up the Sonos Move as part of that in-home or in-office set-up.

Sonos Move

Sonos Move: Early downsides

  • Big and bulky. When I first laid eyes on the Sonos Move, my initial reaction was that it was a Sonos One on steroids. At 240 x 160 x 126mm with a carrying weight of 3kgs, this is a "luggable" speaker, but one that you'll definitely feel if you're carrying it around all day.
  • You can have any colour you like, as long as it's black. Sure, this is Sonos' style (mostly), but for a speaker that will live outdoors, black feels a little conservative. I'm also curious to see how warm it gets in an Australian summer given the temperature absorbent nature of any black surface.
  • You could score a Sonos One or Sonos One SL for less. There's definitely a price premium to pay for portability. If you're just after a smaller Sonos speaker, consider the existing Sonos One or the new $269 Sonos One SL, which cuts out the voice assistant features for those rooms in the house where you'd rather not have Google Assistant or Alexa listening in.

Sonos Move: Pricing and early verdict

The Sonos Move is available for pre-order from today with actual availability in Australia from 24 September in Shadow Black finish for $649.

If you're already in a Sonos ecosystem and want the same features while out and about, it's a solid prospect. Solid is the word, because this is a heavy duty speaker, both in price and weight terms. Stay tuned for our full review.

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