Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: everything you need to know about the new speakers

Sonos Era 300 in white
(Image credit: Future)

Sonos has launched a new Era range of wireless speakers, comprising the Era 300 and Era 100 models. This follows months of leaks concerning what products Sonos would launch in 2023.

Exactly what features do these two new speakers offer? How do they differ from the current Sonos range? And how much do they cost? Here to help answer these questions we've created this guide detailing everything you need to know about the new Era 300 and Era 100 speakers.

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: release date

Sonos product family

(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos Era 300 and Sonos Era 100 launched on Tuesday 7th March 2023. With the news going live globally, it was also revealed that pre-orders were live on the website, with both speakers going on general sale on Tuesday 28th March.

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: price

Sonos Era 100 in white and black

(Image credit: Future)

The Era 300 is priced at £449 / $449 / €499 / AU$749, while the Era 100 costs £249 / $249 / €279 / AU$399. 

As expected, the Era 300 is priced at the higher-end, with Sonos calling it a "premium smart speaker" to distinguish it from the smaller, cheaper Era 100. It's a change of tack for Sonos, since it spent most of 2022 focussing on more affordable fare like the Ray soundbar and Sub Mini subwoofer. 

That pricing puts it higher than the Era's closest smart speaker rival, the Apple HomePod 2, which costs £299 / $299 / AU$479 (you can see how the two compare in our Sonos Era 300 vs Apple HomePod 2 head to head). It also puts it just under the Sonos Five, which remains the flagship speaker at £499 / $549 / AU$700. As we'll detail below, the Era 300 is an entirely different speaker from the Sonos Five, but Sonos has hinted in a press briefing that they expect new customers to opt for the Era 300 over the Five for its various features.

The Era 100, meanwhile, replaces the Sonos One speaker (which is currently £180 / $220 / AU$320) and comes in at a slightly higher cost than the outgoing One. But it has plenty more features to justify the extra outlay...

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: design

Sonos Era 300 in white

(Image credit: Future)

So what does the new Sonos Era line actually offer? Sonos hopes these devices will start a new chapter for the company – hence the name Era. So it's only fitting that they sport a bold new look.

The Era 300 is the more striking looking of the two new devices. Its cinched hourglass design is unlike any other speaker we've seen, and houses the unusual acoustic architecture and arrangement of drivers needed to deliver spatial sound. The centre driver provides vocals and lead instruments, along with two custom drivers for full-room coverage, two woofers (one on each side), an upward-firing tweeter to reflect sound off the ceiling for spatial audio and custom waveguides for greater audio dispersion and a more expansive soundstage. Phew.

It also has a new control pad, including a capacitive volume slider, dedicated skip and replay controls, and a Bluetooth button for pairing a device.

While the design breaks away from Sonos's other products, the company is still sticking with its traditional black and white colour options, in a matte finish, for both Era 100 and Era 300.

The Era 100 has a more traditional cylindrical design close to the Sonos One. It's more rounded, has a cleaner grille wraparound and is about one inch taller. The Era 100 is designed for stereo sound, as opposed to the One's mono output.

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: features

Sonos Era rear surrounds

(Image credit: Future)

The Era 300 is positioned as the future of spatial audio. Its army of six drivers (four tweeters, two woofers) fires sound in all different directions to create a truly room-filling sound. Because the Era 300 was designed with spatial audio with Dolby Atmos very much at the forefront, it even plays Apple Music Spatial Audio tracks, becoming the first non-Apple-made device capable of doing so. 

It also supports Dolby Atmos Music via Amazon Music Unlimited, but not Tidal. Not yet, anyway – Sonos says it "will continue to add more listening choices and partners", so it could be coming at some point in the future.

The Era 100 is effectively a more powerful Sonos One, with a new second tweeter for true stereo sound and a bigger mid-woofer for greater bass (25 per cent bigger, says Sonos). An Era 100 SL variant (without voice controls) was also rumoured to be in the works; however, Sonos hasn't announced this, so it could be coming further down the line.

Aside from spatial audio playback, both Era 300 and Era 100 boast the same features.

Wi-fi listening comes as standard (courtesy of WiFi 6), along with Bluetooth, which is a first for Sonos. Previously, its only speakers with Bluetooth were its portable offerings the Roam and Move. Era speakers use the Bluetooth 5.0 version, with support for standard AAC and SBC codecs. For Era 300, note that you can only stream spatial audio over wi-fi, not Bluetooth.

Line-in playback is also on the cards, making them the only Sonos speakers apart from the Five to offer this feature. This is done via the new USB-C connection, rather than the Five's 3.5mm headphone jack. Although you'll still need specific adapters to plug in another source, such as a turntable. These accessories are sold separately on Sonos' website (opens in new tab), costing £19 / $19 / AU$35.

The built-in mics offer voice control via Sonos's own voice assistant for the first time (which handles music playback only) and Amazon's Alexa for further smart home control. The mics can also be muted using a new speech bubble button, or turned off entirely with a switch on the back of the speaker.

There's no Google Assistant on either Era speakers, however. Sonos says this is due to a change in the technical requirements for Google Assistant on third-party devices. Says Sonos: "We’re evaluating these requirements, but it’s a heavy engineering lift and we’ll continue to prioritize work that builds on our vision of voice assistants all working concurrently. We remain hopeful that Google Assistant will be part of this ecosystem one day, but that’s really up to Google." Happily, this doesn't affect existing Sonos voice-enabled products that already have Google's assistant included.

As well as being used for music, the Era 300 and Era 100 can be used as rear surrounds with the Sonos Arc or Beam Gen 2 soundbars to work as part of a home cinema system. 

Both speakers also support Trueplay tuning for Android users for the first time, but with the speakers themselves performing the room analysis with the built-in mics in order to optimise the sound (called 'Quick tuning' in the app). On iOS, the iPhone's mic handles this part – called 'Advanced tuning' in the Sonos app.

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: sound quality

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: sound quality

(Image credit: Sonos)

We've spent a significant amount of time with both the Era 300 and Era 100 in our testing labs, putting them through their paces. And we're happy to report that they sound superb.

Being the more premium model, the Era 300 sounds the most impressive. It has an immense sense of scale, spreading sound far and wide throughout the listening area. This is especially true if you're listening to spatial audio.

And this scale never comes at the expense of detail. It all sounds wonderfully solid and cohesive, less like other spatial audio speakers we've heard and more like a more immersive version of great quality audio. Which is exactly as it should sound.

The Era 100 is a different proposition, but no less impressive in its own way. It takes everything we liked about the Sonos One and cranks it up to 11. It's crisp. It's detailed. There's oodles of space and a deep, cavernous bass. And it maintains a great handle on timing, dynamics and an even tonal balance.

Its sound dispersion isn't on the same scale as the Era 300, but it is still quite an achievement for a speaker of this size. Push the volume to its limits, and the Era 100 does start to struggle, but overall it's still a definite improvement on the Sonos One. And we liked that speaker very much indeed.

We gave both of these speakers five stars – find out exactly why in our reviews below.

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100: verdict

Sonos Era 300 in black with turntable

(Image credit: Sonos)

The Era 300 and Era 100 feel like the start of a new chapter for Sonos. Bluetooth and line-in support makes them more versatile than rival smart speakers like the Apple HomePod 2 and Nest Hub (and previous Sonos products), while spatial audio coupled with home cinema functionality make the Era 300 a one-stop shop for modern home audio.

There is the issue of price though – the Era 300 is quite a bit pricier than the Apple HomePod 2, which may turn some people off, especially in these belt-tightening times.

Sonos has previously said it aims to enter four new product markets soon; that's one down. What's next? Even if that doesn't turn out to be Sonos' long-rumoured wireless headphones, it will still prove fascinating to us audio fans. Looks like 2023 could be a big year for Sonos.


Find out everything you need to know about Sonos

Which Sonos speaker should you buy? Work it out here

What's next for Sonos? All the rumours around Sonos wireless headphones

New Sonos products 2023: the Era is here but will we see headphones?

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

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