Sonos Era 300 and Era 100 speakers are official: spatial audio, Bluetooth are key features

Sonos Era 300 in black
(Image credit: Sonos)

After weeks of rumours and leaks, we can reveal that the Sonos Era 300 and Era 100 wireless speakers are, finally, official. 

Sonos Era marks a brand new range for Sonos, consisting of the entirely new Era 300 spatial audio-focused smart speaker and the Era 100 (a reinvented Sonos One) smart speaker. 

Both speakers share many of the key features: wi-fi (specifically, wi-fi 6) and AirPlay 2 for streaming music, Sonos voice control and Alexa support. You also get Bluetooth 5.0 for the first time in non-portable Sonos speakers (they support the standard SBC and AAC codecs) and the potential for wired connections using the USB-C line-in connection.

If you did want to hard-wire a turntable or other source to the Era speakers, you'll need to buy the Line-In Adapter and Sonos Combo Adapter separately – on the plus side, these adapters will cost just £19 and are available in black or white to match the Era 100 and Era 300.

The new Era models can also be used as stereo pairs, as surrounds rears within a home theatre set-up, and can handle audio files up to 24-bit/48kHz from Qobuz and Amazon Music streaming services.

Both Era speakers feature new top panel interfaces with touch capacitive controls, including a new volume slider or 'trough', and both work with the Sonos S2 app for more features. These include multi-room system grouping with other Sonos products, music playback from supported streaming services and Sonos Radio, and Trueplay room correction tuning available for iOS and, for the first time ever, Android users.

Additionally, Sonos has put a lot of thought into the sustainability and longevity of its new products. The Era speakers can be more easily repaired and fully serviced by Sonos thanks to more screws than glue used in the construction; they are made with "a high percentage of" post-consumer recycled plastic (more than 40 per cent, claims Sonos); and they use less power (under 2 watts) when in idle mode.

Sonos Era 300 in white

(Image credit: Future)

Sonos Era 300

Where the models differ are in design, usage and price. The Era 300 was designed specifically for playback of spatial audio with Dolby Atmos tracks, with Sonos' principal product manager Ryan Moore stating during our press briefing: "The goal with Era 300 was really to create the best standalone spatial audio experience of any single speaker."

It features a unique hourglass cinched design that looks unlike any other speaker on the market. That's because of the unusual acoustic architecture housed within. Inside are six drivers (four tweeters, two woofers) with custom waveguides that fire sound out forwards, upwards, left and right to surround you with music.  Each of the six drivers is powered by its own class D amplifier.

The Era 300 can also be used as Dolby Atmos rears in a surround system with the Sonos Arc or Beam Gen 2 soundbars and a Sub – a feature that's sure to please AV fans.

Puzzlingly, at the time of launch, Sonos states that the Era 300 "currently supports Dolby Atmos Music via Amazon Music Unlimited" only. With Sonos putting such an emphasis on spatial audio with Dolby Atmos music playback, we think it's a shame that it won't support the format from other music streaming services at launch.

We're hoping this will be resolved soon, and in reply to our question on this matter, Sonos seemed to confirm this: "Today, Era 300 does not support Dolby Atmos Music on Tidal. Over time we will continue to add more listening choices and partners but we don’t have further information to share today. We’ll be adding support for spatial audio via Apple Music soon." And it has been confirmed that Apple Music spatial audio will be supported when Era 300 goes on sale on 28 March.

Sonos Era 100 in white

(Image credit: Future)

Sonos Era 100

The Era 100, meanwhile, is a completely redesigned Sonos One. Moore claimed during our briefing: "There's not a single part of Sonos One in the Era 100.” Replacing one of its most popular wireless speakers is no easy feat, but with the One Gen 2 released in 2017, it was clearly time for a refresh.

The biggest difference is that the Era 100 now delivers stereo sound (to the One's mono). Inside the speakers lie two angled tweeters with custom waveguides that are designed to deliver "detailed stereo separation" and a 25 per cent bigger woofer that promises deeper bass. Three class D amplifiers power the drivers.

Unlike Era 300, Sonos claims the Era 100's small form factor won't do justice to spatial audio/Dolby Atmos tracks, so you'll have to opt for the Era 300 if you want the full spatial audio experience. However, the Era 100 can be used as rear speakers with a wider range of Sonos soundbars: Arc, Beam Gen 1 and Beam Gen 2, and Ray.

Sonos Era 100 in white and black

(Image credit: Future)

Sonos Era pricing and availability

Price? Sonos has priced the new Era speakers rather on the premium side compared with current rivals. The Era 300 is priced at £449 / $449 / €499 / AU$749, while the Era 100 will cost £249 / $249 / €279 / AU$399. 

Respectively, that's higher than closest rivals HomePod 2 (£299 / $299 / AU$479) and the outgoing One (currently £180 / $220 / AU$320) – but whether the Era speakers will live up to their potential remains to be seen. Both models go on sale on 28th March, and will be available in black or white finishes. 

We'll be getting samples of both Era speakers in our listening rooms very soon, so stay tuned for the full, official reviews in due course.


Read our Sonos Era 300 hands-on review for our first impressions

Here's everything you need to know about Sonos

And everything you need to know about spatial audio

Read our Apple HomePod 2 review

And here's our original Sonos One review

Sonos Era 300 vs Apple HomePod 2: how do these smart speakers compare?

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: which smart speaker is better?

Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and hanging out with her cat Jolene.

  • bemaniac
    I think these are too ugly to be a lifestyle product. You always give up a bit of sound for beauty with Sonos products but this is too far. I'll stick to the KEF LS50 Wireless plus wired link to other pairs of LS50 in the house as its comparable in price and looks much more beautiful. I'm pricing used against new though so YMMV if you like the new aesthetic.