Sonos Move Review
Pros: Great sound quality, great volume, battery powered, easy to connect/control multiple speakers
Cons: Expensive, somewhat heavy to move around when used in battery mode
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sonos Move builds on the company's stellar multi-speaker system to add an untethered, battery-powered option for use in the backyard, on the deck, or while car camping.
Is it portable?
The technical answer to that question is yes — the speaker sports a 10 hour battery life, an IP56 dust/waterproof rating (meaning you can roll it in the dirt and douse it in water with reckless abandon) and offers simple Bluetooth connectivity. The functional answer to that question, in most cases, is not really. Weighing in at 6.6 pounds and sporting fairly girthy dimensions of 9.5" x 6.3" x 5", it's very unlikely this speaker will make it into your backpack for a hike, and almost as improbable that it will find its way into your beach bag for a day in the sand. This speaker's portability is generally limited to taking it into the backyard, moving it from room to room in the house, or maybe bringing it camping if you're going to pitch the tent right next to the car. Don't get us wrong, that little extra bit of portability is a game-changer for Sonos lovers--your backyard barbeques will likely never be the same--but if you're looking for a truly portable speaker there are multiple sub 2-pound options out there that still offer good listening experiences.
Adding a battery certainly didn't cause Sonos to sacrifice any sound quality in building the Move. It lives up to the sonorous adjective that inspired the company's name, and then some.
Bottom line, pretty much everything sounds good on the Move. In slow, acoustic, jazzy numbers we were able to make out every small hi-hat 'chik' and vocal embellishment without any of the slight static that might creep through when listening to these more exposed arrangements on a lesser speaker. Fuller compositions with bass guitars and large drum kits come through with rotund yet well defined bass and a good balance between upper and lower registers. Sure, you can get slightly punchier bass and maybe just a bit more clarity from some of the larger speakers on the market, but for the most part the Move provides all the quality of a top-tier indoor speaker while sporting the ability to stroll out onto the deck with you.
The Move has an impressive amount of technology packed into its frame. Case in point: it has an accelerometer that senses when the speaker has been moved and triggers the embedded microphones to listen to its surrounding acoustics and adjust the sound accordingly. We generally didn't notice this feature, something Sonos is calling Auto TruePlay, when moving the speaker from room to room. However, when transitioning from outside to a small bathroom (don't judge us for singing in the shower) the change was palpable. The speaker went from sounding full and snappy despite having no walls off which to bounce its soundwaves, to almost completely mitigating the echoes induced by four tiled, tightly-spaced walls.
If you get two Moves you can link them together into a stereo pair. However, you can't use the Move as a surround-sound satellite speaker in conjunction with one of Sonos's soundbars. Sorry if you were hoping for a wireless surround sound speaker.
Like the rest of the brand's offerings, the Move is very easy to add to a multi-speaker system and then control with the dedicated Sonos app. The extra features afforded by its battery and Bluetooth compatibility are similarly user friendly.
Whether the Move is the first speaker of your Sonos family, or you're adding it to an existing Sonos system, the app clearly guides you through the process one step at a time. From there it's straightforward to log into all of your favorite music streaming services within the Sonos app and start enjoying your music.
Most Sonos speakers offer a service called Trueplay to any iOS user that purchases their speakers. This is a feature that has you move your iOS device around the room as the speaker emits a submarine-ish noise. The system then uses the microphone in that iOS device to tune the speaker to its specific surroundings. The Move is the first speaker to feature Auto Truplay, which uses an array of microphones within the speaker to automatically optimize its sound to any environment. It also does so using whatever music you're currently playing, rather than the annoying pings that are usually used. There is even an accelerometer within the speaker that senses when it has been moved and needs to run through the Trueplay setup again.
If you want a multi-speaker, multi-room audio system, we think Sonos is the best in the business. The Move places itself in that ecosystem perfectly, serving as a classic wired speaker while connected to WiFi, and offering some portability when in Bluetooth mode.
The Move comes with a convenient docking base that charges the battery. You can also charge via a USB-C port. The battery itself is replaceable, so you don't have to get a whole new speaker if/when it finally dies.
Smart Home Compatibility
The built-in microphones of the Sonos Move allow it to work with either Alex or Google Home virtual assistants without any external accessories.
The Move is one of the loudest speakers on the block. In our testing we found it to have plenty of power to keep a backyard party with dozens of people entertained. It also easily filled our large testing apartment with booming sound, and even made a big, 1500 square foot open space with high ceilings feel almost uncomfortably loud. We highly doubt anyone will feel limited at all by the max volume of the Move.
The Move lacks any sort of physical input, but its WiFi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay capabilities give you plenty of options for getting your audio to the speaker.
Bluetooth? Yes, Bluetooth
The Move is the first ever Sonos speaker to offer Bluetooth connectivity. As such, it has a small button on the back of the speaker that lets you flip between WiFI and Bluetooth modes. Once you're connected to Bluetooth you can choose to control the speaker through the Sonos app like usual, or play any audio from any application on your phone, laptop, tablet, or other Bluetooth enabled device.
Obviously this is a necessary feature if you want to take the Move outside the range of your WiFi network. However, possibly the best thing about this addition of Bluetooth is that Android and Windows users can now watch Netflix, youTube, or HBO Go on their devices and beam the audio through a Sonos speaker. Previously this ability was limited to Apple users that could leverage Sonos' wide compatibility with AirPlay, which essentially functions as Bluetooth via a WiFi connection for Apple devices.
We'd like to note that the Bluetooth connection only works with the Move itself. It does not work as a Bluetooth entryway to your entire Sonos system, meaning you cannot Bluetooth the Netflix audio from your laptop to the Move, and then have that audio play on your other Sonos speakers as well. Maybe in the next iteration of the Sonos app…
The Move is quite pricey, but it generally offers enough performance and convenience to justify that high price. We would like to note that there are other speakers in the same price range that sound slightly better, so the Move becomes a much better value specifically if you want to take advantage of the portability offered by its battery.
The Sonos Move maintains the company's reputation for great sound and seamless multi-speaker management, while adding the portability of battery power and the simplicity of a Bluetooth connection. If you ever wished you could move one of your Sonos speakers out onto the patio or even take one on vacation, it will be a fantastic addition to your Sonos system. If you've never been bothered by your Sonos' reliance on a wall socket, however, the Move likely won't improve your experience at all.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell