Sonos Move full review

After many years of waiting Sonos has finally created a speaker than isn’t restricted by a power socket. The Sonos Move is the first to be both portable and Bluetooth. Here’s our hands-on review from IFA 2019.

We, along with many customers, have been pestering Sonos for a speaker than can go outside for what feels like an eternity. Well the company has answered with a powerful, yet compact speaker than can go anywhere with you.

Sonos is no longer a home audio system. 

The Move won our Best in Show award at IFA 2019. Find out what else won awards.

Price & Availability

The good news is that you can get your hands on the Sonos Move very soon as it will be released on 24 September globally.

It costs £399 with the same price in US dollars and Euros. This means it sits between the Sonos One and Play:5 in the range.

Sonos has also announced the One SL which will replace the Play:1.

Design & Build

At first glance, this is a typical Sonos speaker with the kind of design we’ve come to both love and expect. It’s modern and stylish and will fit with almost any decor.

Take a closer look at there are various things Sonos has done to ensure the Move is fit for it’s purpose.

Sonos Move design

For starters, an ergonomic handle is carved into the back so you can pick it up and move it around any time with ease. Here you’ll find the familiar join button as well as a power button - since it’s battery powered and will actually need switching off - as well as a button to switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes.

On the top are the usual touch sensitive buttons for controlling playback and volume. There are also six far-field mics so you can use your voice to control music as well as digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.

An LED indicates various things such as turning blue when you’re in Bluetooth mode.

What’s interesting is that the Sonos Move is seemingly bomb-proof. The battery is mounted in the bottom section where the base is coated in silicone. This not only provides grip but you can drop the speaker without worry.

Sonos said the drop test it carried out broke the concrete rather than the speaker.

It has an IP56 rating so is fully dust proof and also resistant to water and other liquids. The firm has tested it with everything from sand, to olive oil. If you do spill something on it, the IP rating means you can clean it easily.

Sonos Move docking station

The Move might be battery powered but you can still use it plugged in while in the house. For this a neat docking station means you can just plonk it down and the battery will charge via metal contacts. It’s included but you can buy additional ones if you want them dotted around the house.

A neat trick is that the battery can be removed, so after a few years of use you can easily replace it. We’ll talk about battery life later on.

The Sonos Move only comes in one colour: Shadow Black.

Features & Sound Quality

It’s taken Sonos a while to create the Move partly because making a speaker that work as well outdoors as it does in is a nightmare. The two environments are so acoustically different that it’s essentially impossible to tune it for both.

However, the Move can tune itself based on its surroundings. This is the first Sonos speaker with Auto True Play, an existing feature which normally involves walking round your room with a phone to profile the space.

The Move can do it all by itself though, and will re-tune every time you move it. It knows thanks to an accelerometer inside.

Sonos Move controls

Sonos has made a reasonably beefy speaker for this job as the outside is almost certainly a bigger space to fill with sound than your living room - unless you have a tiny courtyard.

Front and center is a mid-woofer which handles most of the frequency range, including the bass. This is accompanied by a downward facing tweeter which has something called a ‘Waveguide’.

You can’t see it but this enures the sound is distributed evenly out the front and sides of the speaker.

The Sonos Move is loud so we’re sure it can serve well as an outdoor speaker for parties in even large gardens or if you take it to the park. It doesn’t offer a 360 degree soundstage, but the fact that it’s directional should help you avoid annoying neighbours.

As mentioned earlier, the Move has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so while you’re in the range of your home network, it will act like any other Sonos speaker. If your Wi-Fi doesn’t quite cover the garden then you can switch to Bluetooth to keep the tunes flowing.

This importantly means you can take it anywhere - the beach, the park, your hotel room on holiday or wherever.

Sonos Move Bluetooth speaker

It’s running Bluetooth 4.2 rather than the newer 5.0 standard but Sonos says that it has improved range and power management regardless. There’s no quoted range but we were told “if you can hear it, you should be able to control it”.

It comes as little surprise that the Move sounds excellent after some initial testing. The automatic True Play feature means the speaker can tweak the sound, even if you do something ridiculous like put it in a draw. We’ll test it more thoroughly when we get a sample, of course.

One important thing to note, if you’re wondering, is that the Move can’t function as a rear surround speaker like the Play:1 or One with the Playbar, for example.. Sonos says the fact it can be moved around simply makes this too complicated.

Sonos Move portable speaker

When it comes to battery life Sonos is quoting 10 hours of playback which is pretty good when you consider how beefy this speaker is. As mentioned earlier, there’s a charging dock but you can also charge the Move via USB-C if you need to. This will be a real boon if you, for example, take it on holiday and don’t want to take the dock - or simply forget it.

The battery will last 900 charges, or around three years on average, but it’s replaceable so it won’t become a static speaker once the cell dies. You can put the Move into a suspend mode and it will last 5 days.

Early Verdict

The Sonos Move is the portable speaker we’ve been hoping the company would make for years. And it lives up to our expectations after some hands-on time.

Sonos has carefully thought about the design and audio features the Move needs to be successful.

On the one-hand, it’s a normal home speaker like the others, but the charging dock, battery IP56 rating, Auto True Play and Bluetooth mean it can instantly transform into a high-quality speaker in your garden or anywhere you care to take it.