Once you’re in though, the Roam sings with quality. The bass and low end is remarkably rounded and not at all boxy as you might expect from something this size. It rumbles nicely even at high volumes, resonating a warm, powerful bass, both soft and solid at the same time. While bass might be the go-to tester for portable speakers, SONOS also put a lot of time into the mids and highs, although there could be a bit more openness on the top end. There is an EQ but it’s only for bass and treble so there’s no mid-range tweaking. The Roam is also fairly loud – there are three different volume controls, within the music source (laptop, Spotify etc), the SONOS app and on the device which can be a bit annoying trying to figure out which one is too loud or too quiet.
The Roam also features TruePlay, a SONOS-specific feature that attempts to automatically EQ the sound depending on the walls and corners around it. It’s not particularly noticeable when it’s on or off or what it’s doing, but it’s a nice feature all the same.
Now for the downsides. While Roam’s Bluetooth and WiFi hot swapping is handy for seamless transitions from home to on-the-go (and it works well) there are some features that are WiFi-only, such as voice assistant (Siri and Google are supported), SONOS Radio and pairing multiple Roams or other speakers together. Also, when the Roam is connected to WiFi it stays on for a long time and doesn't go to sleep as quickly as others – great for quick connecting and communicating with other speakers in your home, bad for battery. Not the end of the world, it’s just recommended to always have it connected to a plug when it’s at home. Or you can get the wireless charging dock for ultimate pick-up-and-go for £44 extra. The Roam can be quite slow to charge too, over the included USB cable at least, so bear that in mind.
The Roam does have a lot going for it though. By buying into the Roam, you’re also buying into the SONOS ecosystem perks such as SONOS Radio with exclusive stations from FKA Twigs, The Chemical Brothers and more, Music Services that let you have all your streaming platforms in one place like Spotify, Apple Music, NTS Radio, Mixcloud, Bandcamp and TuneIn. You can also Search across multiple services at once, which is useful for bypassing annoying exclusives, assuming you’ve got the relevant subscriptions. And on the go, it works excellently, with long battery life and excellent sound. You really can’t ask for much more at this price point, with the SONOS extras a very attractive bonus.