Sonos Roam 2 vs Roam 1: what's new for Sonos' portable speaker?

Sonos Roam 2 in three colours on a camping mat
The Sonos Roam 2 features a new look that's only slightly different from the first model. (Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos doesn't only make home speakers. The Roam was its first fully fledged portable, equipped with Bluetooth and a bag-friendly size that made it ideal for taking with you on the go. But it wasn't perfect.

So-so clarity and some questionable usability decisions meant it earned four stars in our review – not bad by any measure, but not up to the brand's usual excellent standards. But now Sonos has released a sequel.

The Sonos Roam 2 has some small but meaningful improvements on the original that should make it the better all-round device. But does it do enough to justify the higher asking price? Let's compare the two and see what's new.

Sonos Roam 2 vs Roam 1: price

The Sonos Roam 2 comes with a slightly higher price than the original Roam. The Sonos Roam 1 launched in April 2021 for £159 / $169 / AU$279, but currently sells for £139 / $179 / AU$299. Expect price drops as retailers run down their supplies of the old model.

The Roam 2 is on sale now for £179 / $179 / AU$299. This being a new product, and one made by Sonos, don't expect any major price drops soon.

**Winner: Sonos Roam 1**

Sonos Roam 2 vs Roam 1: design

Sonos Roam 2 portable speaker held by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt

The Roam 2's Sonos logo is the same colour as the speaker, making it more discreet. (Image credit: Sonos)

The Roam 2 looks very similar to the original, but there are some changes in the design department.

The Sonos logo is now monochromatic – i.e. the same colour as the device. It's the same design language as seen on the new Sonos Ace headphones, and gives both devices a more premium look. On the original Roam in black, the Sonos logo was white, making it stand out much more and looking – dare we say it? – a bit cheap.

There's now a dedicated Bluetooth button for pairing (the original used the power button). And the Roam 2's white finish is more of a pure white, whereas the original's Lunar White was closer to grey. The other colours are the same for both devices: Olive, Sunset, Wave and Black.

**Winner: Sonos Roam 2**

Sonos Roam 2 vs Roam 1: features

Sonos Roam outdoors on a chair

The original Roam, complete with shoutier Sonos logo. (Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The original Roam had to be set up on your home wi-fi network before you could pair it with a phone or tablet over Bluetooth. This was a pain: to our knowledge, no other Bluetooth speaker has the same requirement – usually you can pair them straight out of the box.

The Roam 2 does away with this requirement. Instead of having to pair using the Sonos app once the speaker is a part of your network, you can pair straight over Bluetooth with no prior set-up required. It means you can start using it out and about before you even get it home from the shop (providing it has some charge, that is).

The actual act of pairing is also simplified thanks to the dedicated Bluetooth button. The first-gen model required you to hold down the power button for a set amount of time in order to pair – presumably it was an attempt to streamline the design by having as few buttons as possible. But a streamlined design isn't much good if it's fiddly to use. A dedicated button sounds much more intuitive.

Those changes aside, the Roam 2 is identical to the original model. Both models have Sonos' Trueplay technology which optimises the audio to your environment, 10 hours of battery life and IP67 waterproofing.

**Winner: Sonos Roam 2**

Sonos Roam 2 vs Roam 1: sound

Sonos Roam 2 in black on a grey background

The Roam 2 (pictured here in black) promises the same sound as the four-star original. (Image credit: Sonos)

We haven't tested the Roam 2 yet, so can't comment on its sound quality. But given that Sonos says the new model "delivers the same rich, detailed sound and bass with the clarity, depth, and fullness you’d expect from a larger speaker", it's safe to assume it will be unchanged from the original Roam.

Which is good – but not great – news. The original had plenty of impact, its bold presentation being quite generous with the bass and mid frequencies. It makes sense – the speaker will have to be heard in all kinds of outdoor environments, after all.

And the bass weight isn't overpowering. There's presence and punch, yes, but without muddying up the mix. 

The original Roam only scored four out of five in our review, however, and that's largely down to the sound. Put side by side with the best Bluetooth speakers, it's noticeably less clear, with its rivals displaying textures that the Roam can't muster. It also suffers in terms of timing and expression compared to the best in its price band.

We'll update this section once we've reviewed the Roam 2.

**Winner: Draw**

Sonos Roam 2 vs Roam 1: early verdict

Sonos Roam on kitchen shelf with plants, cookbook and tea

The original Sonos Roam impressed us in many ways, but rival Bluetooth speakers offer clearer, more expressive sound. (Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Without having tested the Roam 2, we can't definitively say whether it's better than the original. But it certainly looks that way, with a more dapper design and cleaner pairing process. The price increase is a shame, but sadly that's just the way of things at the moment.

Even if Sonos hasn't touched the sound profile, the Roam 2 should be an improvement on the original, albeit a small one. Fingers crossed the sound quality has been given a bump, too.

We'll update this once we've tested the new Roam 2 in due course.


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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.

  • Atlanticboy
    I've invested heavily in Sonos speakers over the years and my favourite buy was my Sonos 1 Roam.... until Sonos trashed their App. I take my Roam on holiday with me everywhere, all over the world so I can use BBC Sounds to listen to my local radio station. It used to be a doddle, get my tablet on to what ever WiFi code was used in the apartment and then click on the Sonos app and after a couple of clicks I would have music. I'm in the Azores today and this scenario is dead, I basically had to start from scratch with current Sonos app. It assumed that this was a new system and now I have to find all my favourite stations, music and library again, I don't know what I'll have to do when I get back home, the whole process just becomes a bore. How is this progress?
    I would like a pair of headphones instead of the Google earbuds that I sometimes use but I can't see me buying Sonos headphones, I just don't trust them anymore.