On October 20th, Sonos held a new product launch conference and officially released the Sonos Roam SL, the brand's first ultra-portable smart speaker.
In our impression, Sonos audio products are larger in size. Especially for products that focus on indoor audio, the word portability is not used.
Even if it is the Sonos Move, which is the first to play the "portable" banner, we all feel that it is only portable that can belong to the "car owners".
Today, Roam SL uses the adjective "ultra-portable". To be honest, at first I would still think of the "portability" of Move, but when I got the product in my hand, I found that Sonos did make a truly portable audio product that I could take with me this time.
It's really portable this time
Sonos Roam SL’s packaging box is made of 100% sustainable paper, with a new design that minimizes the amount of ink and does not contain disposable plastic.
Perhaps in response to the "environmental protection" call, the Sonos Roam SL does not provide a power adapter in the box, but provides a USB-A to USB-C 90° cable. A 90° right-angle bending design is adopted at one end of the USB-C interface.
The measurements of Roam SL are approximately 168mm × 62mm × 60mm, and the total volume of the machine is 430g.
Compared with the Sonos Move of 3KG and the Sonos One SL of 1.76Kg, Roam SL is really just a "little guy", and it is worthy of its ultra-portable name.
Similar to other Sonos products, Roam SL offers two colors: Dark Shadow Black and Moonlight White, and we have the dark shadow black color in our hands.
Roam SL inherits the minimalist Sonos design style. At first glance, there is only the SONOS white logo on the front body, and the rest of the main body is covered by the sound filter.
A low-key LED indicating breathing light is installed above and below the Sonos logo, and the light only comes out through a small sound filter hole.
Roam SL introduces a rounded triangle design. Compared with the traditional cylindrical design, this design allows it to cleverly fit in the corners of various valuable spaces, or carry it with you, on the other hand, it can also bring More comfortable grip feel.
The back two sides of the triangle are made of flat matte material, and the power button and USB-C power port are located on the center axis ridge line on the back.
With the standard 90° USB-C cable, when the Sonos Roam SL is placed vertically, it can also be placed against the wall or stuffed into the corner, and the slender wires can be cleverly hidden.
In addition to the main vertical placement, Roam SL also has four feet, which we can place horizontally.
When the triangle speaker is placed horizontally, the speaker side will tilt upward, and the sound will be conducted upward and directed toward our ears.
The three media control buttons are all concentrated on the top surface of the fuselage, which can adjust the volume and playback control.
Since it is going to be taken out, Sonos Roam SL has an IP67 dustproof and waterproof rating of course. Even if the USB-C interface is an open design, it can achieve full waterproof and dustproof, soak it in water for a short time or use it directly. Cleaning the speakers is not a problem.
And the silicone covers on both sides also provide a certain anti-fall and shock-proof effect, you can safely put it directly in the backpack and then take it outdoors.
Sonos Roam SL should be Sonos' second audio product with built-in battery. According to the official statement, Roam SL can provide up to 10 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. In the actual experience, I did not encounter any anxiety caused by battery life.
It is worth noting that, in addition to wired charging (15W) through the USB-C interface on the back, Roam SL also supports the Qi wireless charging protocol, and wireless charging can be achieved by placing the speaker vertically on the Qi wireless charging board.
Of course, the official also launched a "custom magnetic wireless charger" for consumers to purchase on their own. It is like a base that fits perfectly with the triangular bottom of the Roam SL. Moreover, the power adapter that is missing from the audio package can be found in the optional custom wireless charger.
The surface of the customized wireless charger is magnetically attached. Gently place the speaker on it, and it will automatically be attached to the most suitable position, and it can be placed on the desktop gracefully to power Roam SL.
In addition to being good-looking, the wireless charging board simplifies the charging steps of Roam SL, allowing the speaker to remain fully charged and connected online for a long time. Not only can you wake up AirPlay at any time, but it also avoids the need to bring the speaker when you go out but find that you forgot to charge it. Embarrassing situation.
Looking from a distance, it's quite pleasing to the eye.
Bluetooth + WiFi dual-mode connection, the Bluetooth "key" of Sonos system
After Move, Roam SL should be Sonos' second audio product with Bluetooth connectivity.
For Roam, adding Bluetooth is a must. Because this speaker is not only used in indoor scenes, but also ready to face outdoor challenges. After all, it is difficult to use WiFi network to complete music playback outdoors. If you use Bluetooth connection, there will be more scenarios that can be dealt with, and it is more in line with the user's intuition.
The Bluetooth part supports Bluetooth 5.0 protocol. You can enter the pairing mode by pressing the physical button, and then connect to Roam SL from mobile phones and other devices.
Of course, how could Sonos miss its best WiFi streaming?
Sonos Roam SL supports connecting to the Sonos system (Sonos App) via WiFi to enjoy WiFi streaming media playback including Apple AirPlay 2.
Take Apple devices as an example. When using iPhone, iPad or even Mac, Roam SL in AirPlay state can be found in the audio options, and the music of the device can be delivered to the speaker with one click. For many Sonos users, perfect support for AirPlay2 should be the biggest purchase motivation.
Being able to connect to the Sonos App means that Roam SL can, like other Sonos products, manage and play Apple Music, QQ Music, NetEase Cloud Music, Himalaya FM and other streaming media services through the Sonos App. It can be seen that the Sonos App of the Bank of China has also made a lot of efforts for localization.
With the function of WiFi + Bluetooth dual-mode, we can connect to the Sonos system at home and stream it through WiFi; when out, the speaker can also automatically switch to Bluetooth mode, pair with the device and play.
Is it just as simple as adding a Bluetooth? Sonos, who advocates the layout of a smart home sound system, actually created a "key"-a key to turn on Bluetooth streaming.
Based on the new seamless connection function, we can also unlock the Bluetooth streaming of the entire system through the Sonos App.
In other words, we can regard Roam SL as a "Bluetooth receiver", we can transmit music to Roam SL through wireless Bluetooth, and then the audio source received by Roam SL from Bluetooth can be transmitted to the pair in the group via WiFi network. Other Sonos speakers, let them play Bluetooth audio sources, in a disguised form to "Bluetooth" the Sonos system.
Although Sonos has played many tricks in WiFi streaming, it is still relatively traditional in terms of Bluetooth connection. At present, Roam SL does not support the function of Bluetooth multi-device connection and teaming. If multiple devices are connected, WiFi must be used.
On the other hand, just like the relationship between One and One SL, Roam SL with the SL suffix also does not support voice assistant functions. The SL here is actually the abbreviation of Speech Less.
However, considering that only this single model has been released in the Chinese mainland market in the world, it is estimated that the voice assistant function will not be upgraded in a short period of time.
Portable and mobile sound tonality
The sound of Roam SL is similar to its easy-to-move properties.
Sonos added a vibrant sound to it, and after adding the newly designed RaceTrack mid-woofer, Sonos Roam SL can feel its aggressive and full force in a suitable volume mode. The drums have a certain explosive power, and at the same time they can restore some flexibility.
It's a pity that the drum sounds occasionally end a little bit shortly, and it sounds a bit blunt, but compared to the older predecessors of the Soundlink mini, Sonos Roam SL has performed very well.
Although the sound direction has become a lot more lively, we can still detect Sonos's usual cold tone performance, and the sound line is relatively balanced.
In terms of maximum volume, there will naturally be a certain gap between Sonos Roam SL and Sonos Move. But for the sake of this small body, I think this kind of performance is enough, and the volume of sound it emits has actually exceeded expectations for this volume.
But in the experience, we also found that Sonos Roam SL is actually not suitable for playing at maximum volume. If the volume is higher, the low frequency of the environment will become muffled and the distortion will become obvious. Although there is no "hoarseness", the sound coming out in a high-volume environment is not so comfortable to listen to, so as long as it is not on the premise of playing high, it is recommended to control the volume of Sonos Roam SL to get more Good sound quality.
The vocal and mid-to-high frequency performance is also maintained at a predictable basic level, and the details are fair. The human voice and the background are not glued together, but it is still difficult to detect the distance between the two.
Indeed, for Roam, there is no need to pay attention to the details of the sound. After all, the Sonos Roam SL is actually the same as other three-proof wireless speakers. The main focus is on outdoor scenes. It is quite suitable for a campfire party in the center of the campground. At this time, it is difficult for us to study the details of the sound.
This is not to say that the details of the Sonos Roam SL are not good. Its sound details are still better than some of the same-positioned products that focus on low frequencies, and the sound is still fresh. But these details are not outstanding. If you want to delve into these, you may still find Sonos's home series to be satisfied.
Sonos from indoor to outdoor
Overall, Sonos Roam SL is an exquisite portable wireless speaker. It inherits the Sonos family-style design and wireless pedigree, maintains better sound quality while reducing the volume, and introduces a more versatile Bluetooth function.
With the addition of the key to "Bluetooth sound system", I believe it will impress many new and old Sonos users.
The only thing to consider is its 1699 yuan National Bank pricing. Colleagues around me think that this price is expected, and that "the price is very Sonos", which is slightly higher than the consumer expectations of the general public, and it needs to be determined to complete the consumption decision.
However, at the press conference, we also seem to have found some effective information. Choosing to release new products on the eve of Double Eleven does not rule out that the next e-commerce shopping festival promotion will bring more favorable sales policies. As for the specific adjustments, there has not yet been a formal statement.
The Sonos China online conference also shared their original intention of launching this product. They said that in China alone, there were nearly 170 million pan-outdoor people last year engaged in outdoor activities including camping. The rapid growth of the pan-outdoor consumer group in the past two years has become one of the opportunities for Sonos to launch portable audio products.
Move is the first step for Sonos to move from indoor to outdoor, and Roam SL is the product of Sonos seeking a breakthrough and openness. As Sonos himself said, Sonos is a sound experience company. In the past, this kind of sound experience only existed indoors covered by WiFi networks, but now it can finally face more diversified usage scenarios, making space no longer a limitation.
The appearance of Roam also confirmed that our conjecture in the Move experience article is correct. I feel I can say it again now:
In the future, Sonos may use this to introduce more different positioning products that can not only meet the needs of Internet audio, but also can be mobile.
Of course, Sonos will not give up the indoor audio they are best at, and will continue to promote indoor audio products, but it is clear that the main portable outdoor products will also come one after another, and more will be introduced in indoor audio. The excellent experience gained is quite exciting.
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