Power meets portability, and still worth it in 2024: Sonos Move review

Power meets portability in the Sonos Move, with a hands-on review from What's The Best's audio experts.

from Sonos
RRP  £399.00
Whats The Best - Sonos Move

by Harvey Isitt |
Updated on

Sonos, a leader in home audio, is known for pioneering multiroom audio, offering some of the best speakers within the mid-to-high price range. Sonos speakers comprise two main categories: wired speakers, such as the Era 100 and Era 300, and portable speakers, such as the Roam and, as reviewed here, the Sonos Move. Sitting comfortably between the Roam and wired range, the Move is Sonos' original portable speaker and the first to have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

When connected to Wi-Fi, it functions like the recently discontinued Sonos One and aforementioned Era 100, allowing it to play in a multi-room sound system and respond to Alexa or Google Assistant. On the back of the device, there is a button to switch the speaker between Wi-Fi and portable Bluetooth modes, allowing users to take the speaker anywhere in and outside the home. Drop-resistance and an IP56 rating also give peace of mind when out and about.

A dedicated Sonos fan with an ever-growing home audio system, our Tech Writer and Reviewer Harvey Isitt was the perfect person to test out Sonos' impressive Move speaker. Read on to find out the results of his hands-on review. Likewise, for those interested in learning more about the brand, visit our brand breakdown, which can be found here.

The Sonos Move provides high-quality audio performance and incorporates TruePlay technology for sound optimisation and Auto TruePlay for automatic room tuning. The speaker features an 11-hour battery life, voice control, and a durable build. Its sleek design and intuitive controls make it easy to use. Additionally, it offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes, is water-resistant, and has a shock-absorbing design.

Pros

  • Impressive sound quality with strong bass and wide soundstage
  • Auto TruePlay technology for automatic sound tuning
  • Portable, IP56-rated design with long battery life

Cons

  • Quite heavy and not waterproof; it is only water-resistant
  • Performance
    5.0
  • Build
    5.0
  • Features
    5.0
  • Value
    5.0
Drivers1 mid-woofer, 1 tweeter
Audio powerNot specified
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2
Battery Life11 hours
Charging time2 hours approx.
WaterproofingIP56
Dimensions240 x 125 x 160 mm
Weight3kg
Available coloursShadow Black – Lunar White
Additional featuresDrop resistant, Voice enabled, Automatic Trueplay, Touch controls

Portability

As mentioned above, the Sonos Move falls between a portable and wireless speaker. It's significantly bigger and heavier than the Roam 2 and Era 100 – towering over both – which can, at least when it first arrives, call its portability into question. Compared to the Sonos One, which, while an AC-powered speaker, can easily be disconnected and moved to a new location, I was surprised by the weight of the Move. However, after a few weeks of use, I never questioned its heftiness but rather felt that it clarified its purpose.

However, the Move is undeniably a portable speaker, just not in the same way you might call the Roam portable. Instead, with a much larger real estate for a significantly bigger tweeter, mid-woofer, and battery, the Move eliminates the need for dedicated Wi-Fi and portable speakers by being as much an in-home speaker as an outdoor speaker. Unlike the Roam, the Move performs exceptionally well as a standalone in-home speaker. However, while the Roam is more portable and can easily be carried or fit in a bag, the Move quite literally needs its own dedicated bag should you take it out with you.

Unless you are comfortable carrying its notable weight, the Sonos Move isn’t really designed for leisurely strolls or outings like the Roam. Rather, it's a chargeable home speaker that can be taken outside to the garden table for summer days and family gatherings. The Move lets you enjoy high-quality audio outdoors without awkwardly placing your AC-powered speaker at a nearby window – as you would with the One or Era 100. Whether in the garden or, with its IP56 rating, by the pool or near the hot tub, high-quality home audio is no longer confined to indoors.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker
©What's The Best / Harvey Isitt

Sound quality

Sonos is known for its high-quality audio performance and irresistible bass, and the Sonos Move is no exception. With two Class-D amplifiers, one downward-firing tweeter for crisp highs and a wide soundstage, and one mid-woofer for mid-range and low frequencies, you won't have any complaints about the Sonos Move's room-filling distortion-free sound.

A reason for its high performance in any space is Sonos' TruePlay technology, which helps its speakers tailor their sound output to their environment. Typically, with TruePlay, you must scan the room with a mobile device while your speakers emit a sound to read the room's acoustics. But, with the Sonos Move, Sonos introduced Auto TruePlay, which is now a standard among all later Sonos products. Auto TruePlay will automatically retune your Sonos Move as you move it around using its built-in mics.

The Sonos Move operates in both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes. It's worth noting that if you have the Google Assistant installed on the speaker, Auto TruePlay won't function in Bluetooth mode. You can use the Sonos app to adjust the speaker's EQ settings to customise your Sonos Move's bass, treble, balance and loudness.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker
©What's The Best / Harvey Isitt

Battery life

When looking for the best portable speaker, one of the crucial features, aside from sound quality, is battery life. It's great to have a speaker with excellent sound, but if it can't hold a charge and dies quickly, it defeats the purpose of being portable. With the Sonos Move, you can enjoy an impressive battery life of up to 11 hours, depending on your environment's temperature and volume usage. In my office, it lasted just over ten and a half hours of uninterrupted playback. Outdoors, I've used it for up to eight hours at higher volumes during a gathering with friends, and it didn't once falter or run out of battery. In these terms, it's a competent alternative to other Bluetooth speakers.

The Move has a standby battery life of around 120 hours when not in use and off its wireless charger dock; this comes with the device. Keeping the speaker on its dock will not hurt its overall battery health. You can also charge the speaker using a compatible 45-watt USB-C charger. The battery light on the Sonos Move will start blinking orange when it needs charging. To further extend battery life, you can activate Battery Saver mode in the Sonos app, which will cause the Sonos Move to power off automatically instead of going to sleep.

Battery replacement kit

Another consideration for any battery-powered device is the actual lifespan of the built-in battery. Sonos states the battery is good for around 900 charges, translating to about three years. If you're feeling discouraged by this statistic, know it's a common challenge for all battery-powered devices. However, surprise, surprise, Sonos has a solution. When the battery on your Sonos Move starts to deteriorate, you can purchase a battery replacement kit priced at £79. Problem solved. And the fact that this speaker is portable, durable, and has a replaceable battery should not be overlooked, for these features are uncommon in today's tech products.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker
©What's The Best / Harvey Isitt

Design

Like other Sonos products, the Sonos Move boasts a sleek and minimalist design available in two colour options: lunar white (pictured in this article) and shadow black. The top of the device features easy-to-use controls, allowing you to tap to adjust the volume, swipe to skip tracks and toggle the mic on and off. Additionally, the status light on the top of the device changes colours to convey various information: green when on mute, blue for Bluetooth, and white for Wi-Fi.

You can easily switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes using the toggle on the back of the device. Tap it once for Bluetooth, then use the Sonos app on your device to locate and pair it with your Move. The speaker will make a sound once it's officially paired.

Waterproofing

Sonos Move, with its promise of durability through shock absorption and IP56 water resistance, is a reliable choice for splashes, rain, and snow exposure. However, it's crucial to note that the Move is not waterproof. This means it's not suitable for submersion or exposure to pressurised water, such as in a shower or heavy rainstorm. The Roam 2, while considerably smaller and less powerful, can handle these conditions. It's also worth mentioning that the wireless charging base is unsuitable for outdoor use, so be sure to charge your Sonos Move inside.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker
©What's The Best / Harvey Isitt

Grouping

With Sonos, the Move seamlessly integrates into a group of Sonos speakers already playing music. Simply tapping and holding the play/pause button will allow the Sonos Move to join in and play the same music as your other speakers. It's important to note, though, that when using Bluetooth mode, you can't stream audio from your device to multiple Sonos speakers or group them via Bluetooth.

AirPlay and Sonos app

The Sonos Move offers a great feature that allows music to be streamed to the speaker over Wi-Fi using Apple AirPlay from an Apple device or the Sonos app. It's easy to access AirPlay on my iPhone and group my Move with other Sonos and non-Sonos AirPlay-compatible speakers, such as my HomePod Mini, to play music. Additionally, the Sonos Move can receive audio streams from an Apple TV, potentially enhancing the TV's audio performance. While I already use a Sonos Beam with my TV, I connected the Move to test its audio performance and was thoroughly impressed. Although it doesn't compare to the Beam, this setup would be ideal for upgrading TV speakers in a holiday cottage. However, it would only work if the available TV is Bluetooth-compatible.

Experience the Power of Your Speaker System with the Sonos App

Smart assistance

Sonos offers a variety of voice assistants, including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa (which I use and highly recommend), and Sonos Voice. The latter is voiced by the actor Giancarlo Esposito, known for his roles in Do The Right Thing and as the notorious Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. After testing all three, I found that Amazon's Assistant is the fastest and most competent at playing music from various services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music, despite Sonos having the best-sounding voice assistant.

Sonos Voice allows Move and other portable smart speaker users to ask for updates on their device's battery level without having to open the Sonos app. This is particularly useful if you haven't got your phone to hand. However, one important distinction is that Sonos Voice can be enabled alongside Alexa but not Google Assistant. Because of this, we suggest opting for Alexa over Google Assistant, especially for the Move.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker
©What's The Best / Harvey Isitt

Any downsides?

While I have thoroughly enjoyed using the Sonos Move, which has further increased my appreciation for the brand, I did encounter a few issues with the speaker. One significant downside is the lack of support for Google Cast. Despite not being an Android user, I recently tested the Move at a friend's place, where they had a group of Google Cast speakers. While setting up the Move on my system at home was easy, we had difficulties integrating it with my friend's Google Cast speaker group for quite some time. Another drawback is Sonos Voice. While it sounds fantastic, Amazon and Google Assistants are more effective when fulfilling specific song requests.

Sonos Move vs. Sonos Move 2

Despite Sonos launching their Move 2 speaker in 2023, the original Sonos Move remains readily available and is now heavily discounted. The newer model, Sonos Move 2, has several improvements, including a longer battery life (now doubled to 24 hours on a single charge) and an additional tweeter for stereo sound. It also offers upgraded Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 (compared to the Move's Bluetooth 4.1), refreshed touch controls with a more seamless volume slider, a line-in for external audio connection, a new wireless, detachable charging base, and a more compact power adapter. The Move 2 now comes in a third colour, olive, exclusive to the Sonos website.

The key difference to consider between the two models is battery life. If you are satisfied with the original Move's 11-hour battery life, it is a more worthwhile investment. However, if 11 hours seems insufficient and you find the abovementioned upgrades desirable, the new Move 2 is another excellent product from Sonos.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker
©What's The Best / Harvey Isitt

Final thoughts

After living with the Sonos Move speaker for a few weeks, I can confidently say that it is just as valid as the newer Move 2 and perhaps even a better choice if you want to save money. The speaker offers a fantastic combination of portability, impressive sound quality, and long-lasting battery life. Although it may not be as lightweight as most portable speakers, its seamless transition from indoor to outdoor use makes it a versatile addition to any home audio setup and, in some aspects, a better investment than Sonos' Era 100. Features like Auto TruePlay and the ability to switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes ensure a premium listening experience at home or on the go. So, for those looking for a high-quality, multi-functional speaker, the Sonos Move is a perfect addition to any home.

The Sonos Move provides high-quality audio performance and incorporates TruePlay technology for sound optimisation and Auto TruePlay for automatic room tuning. The speaker features an 11-hour battery life, voice control, and a durable build. Its sleek design and intuitive controls make it easy to use. Additionally, it offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes, is water-resistant, and has a shock-absorbing design.

Pros

  • Impressive sound quality with strong bass and wide soundstage
  • Auto TruePlay technology for automatic sound tuning
  • Portable, IP56-rated design with long battery life

Cons

  • Quite heavy and not waterproof; it is only water-resistant
  • Performance
    5.0
  • Build
    5.0
  • Features
    5.0
  • Value
    5.0
Drivers1 mid-woofer, 1 tweeter
Audio powerNot specified
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2
Battery Life11 hours
Charging time2 hours approx.
WaterproofingIP56
Dimensions240 x 125 x 160 mm
Weight3kg
Available coloursShadow Black – Lunar White
Additional featuresDrop resistant, Voice enabled, Automatic Trueplay, Touch controls

More items to consider

The Sonos Move 2 has upgraded Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6 connectivity, enhanced acoustics, 24 hours of battery life, and is weather-resistant with a built-in handle for easy portability. It does not support Google Assistant. If you prioritise extended battery life, choose the Move 2; otherwise, opt for the original Move, which offers 11 hours of battery life.

Pros

  • Up to 24 hours of battery life
  • Detailed woofer for deep bass
  • Shock-absorbent with IP56 rating

Cons

  • Lacks Google Assistant
Dimensions241 x 160 x 127 mm
Weight3kg
ConnectionsWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Apple AirPlay 2, Line in
Battery Life24 hours
WaterproofingIP56
Available coloursBlack – White – Green
Additional featuresDrop resistant, Trueplay, Touch controls, Voice enabled

The Sonos Roam 2 is a compact, portable speaker with impressive sound quality and robust bass. The user-friendly Sonos EQ app allows sound customisation, making it an excellent choice for audiophiles. With Bluetooth 5.0, Apple Airplay 2, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 10-hour battery life, it's a convenient option for on-the-go music lovers. However, it does lose some audio precision and clarity at higher volumes.

Pros

  • Extremely portable for on-the-go use
  • Well-designed and IP67-rated for durability
  • Impressive bass considering its size

Cons

  • Bass can sound slightly hollow at very high volumes
Dimensions168 x 62 x 60 mm
Weight0.48kg
ConnectionsBluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2
Battery Life10 hours
WaterproofingIP67
vailable coloursBlack – White – Red – Blue – Green
Additional featuresMulti-speaker connectivity, Alexa and Google Assistant compatible

This stylish monochrome speaker is designed to fill large spaces, with high volume capability and balanced sound. Its Adaptive EQ technology automatically adjusts to its environment, and it has a user-friendly companion app for customisable presets. The speaker is IPX4-rated for outdoor use, has a 24-hour battery life, and a built-in USB port for charging mobile devices.

Pros

  • Well-balanced sound and strong bass
  • 24-hour battery life and IPX4 rating
  • Effortless multi-point Bluetooth pairing

Cons

  • Lacks voice assistance
Dimensions364 x 190 x 190 mm
Weight5.9kg
ConnectionsBluetooth 5.0, Apple Airplay 2
Battery Life24 hours
WaterproofingIPX4
Available coloursBlack – White
Additional FeaturesAdaptive EQ

Who tested it?

Harvey Isitt is a Tech Writer and Reviewer at What's the Best. Passionate about music, he has a home audio system, an extensive record collection and a love for live concerts and festivals. Harvey also has extensive experience reviewing speakers and is a dedicated Sonos user, making him an ideal candidate to review their portable Move speaker.

How we tested it

I spent several weeks testing the product, mainly using the speaker in my office during the day and in the kitchen while cooking. I listened to various music genres, from laid-back electronic to lively indie rock and hip-hop, to fully assess the speaker's performance. I even turned up the volume to test its indoor and outdoor sound quality. I also brought it to a friend's outdoor party for a full-day test, where it performed admirably. To evaluate its spoken word reproduction, I used it to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. In addition, I incorporated it into my existing Sonos system as an upgrade from my smartphone speakers when watching YouTube on my iPhone and from my TV speakers while watching Better Call Saul and House of the Dragon.

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Harvey Isitt is a Tech Writer and Reviewer for What's the Best. Harvey writes reviews, buyers and how-to guides, and listicles on a broad range of topics.

Besides writing, Harvey is an avid camera, turntable, and speaker enthusiast with a somewhat unhealthy obsession with movies. He is also a keen runner, cyclist, hiker, and swimmer.

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