When Sonos revealed its first-ever Bluetooth-toting portable speaker, the Sonos Move, in 2019, it’s safe to say it wasn’t quite what we’d expected.
Bucking the trend of small, rugged, carry-in-your-bag portable Bluetooth speakers that we were used to seeing (from the likes of JBL, Ultimate Ears and others), the Move was a big, chunky beast that you could realistically only shuffle in between rooms or take out into your garden. It also came packed with all of the usual Sonos wireless streaming and multi-room smarts, and was priced at the premium end.
The eventual sequel, the Sonos Move 2 we’re reviewing here, hasn’t changed this template one bit. In fact, Sonos has fully embraced the Move 2’s uniqueness in this market by sticking to its bulky size and its bulging feature set, improving the sound quality and offering it at an even more expensive price – is it a winning gamble?
The Sonos Move 2 can be yours for the hefty sum of £449 / $449 / AU$799. Not only is that a £50/$50 rise in price over the previous Move (£399 / $399 / AU$649), but it’s also quite steep for a ‘portable’ speaker.
What’s puzzling to us is that it’s now priced near-identically to the Sonos Era 300 wireless speaker, which also launched this year at £449 / $449 / AU$749. The Era 300 was designed from the ground up, with a unique internal driver arrangement dedicated to spatial audio playback, boasts high-resolution audio streams over wi-fi and is, alongside the Sonos Five, the peak of Sonos’s premium wireless speakers. The Move 2, while incorporating many of the design and feature upgrades introduced in the new Era 300 and smaller Era 100 speakers, remains an evolution rather than a whole reinvention of the original model’s USP. In price alone, it now sits alongside the brand’s flagship speaker models as an equal.
At this higher end of the wireless speaker market, the products that combine high-quality Bluetooth streaming with portable design are few and far between, and the feature set varies wildly between them, too. Our Award-winning Dali Katch G2 is Bluetooth-only but is luxuriously built and is more genuinely portable at £329; while the brand-new Ultimate Ears Epicboom aims to give Sonos a run for its money with a similarly bulky size and price (£330 / $350 / AU$499.95).
Of course, none of these rival speakers is furnished with the vast array of streaming features that the Move 2 is, thanks to it being part of Sonos’s much-lauded ecosystem.
Connecting to Bluetooth is so swift that we barely have time to blink between pressing the pairing button at the back and the Move 2 appearing in our iPhone’s settings. We lamented the lack of any higher-quality codec in our first-gen Move review and we have to echo that sentiment here. Sonos, like Apple, hasn’t felt the need to include aptX HD, LDAC or otherwise in its devices, with the standard SBC and AAC codecs still available.
Over wi-fi, however, there’s support for streaming in up to 24-bit/48kHz quality if you’re an Amazon Music Unlimited or Qobuz subscriber. So that’s something. If you prefer the wired route, you can now connect external audio sources (an MP3 player or even a turntable) into the Move 2’s USB-C connection, although bear in mind you’ll need a specific and separate line-in adapter from Sonos to use this input, which is an additional cost. Arguably more usefully, you can charge your smartphone using this USB-C port and a standard USB-C cable.
Bluetooth? Yes (5.0)
Mains- or battery-powered? Battery-powered
Battery life 24 hours
Features Stereo pairing, Sonos Voice Control, Amazon Alexa, Automatic Trueplay, Adjustable EQ, multi-room
Connections USB-C (charging, line-in)
Dimensions (hwd) 24.1 x 16 x 12.7cm
Finishes x3 (white, black, olive green)
If you’ve used a Sonos product recently, you won’t be surprised by how easy it is to use the Move 2 from the moment it’s set up. For those unfamiliar with Sonos, you’ll enjoy just how slick and user-friendly it is, especially when using the well-organised app. From the initial set-up to general playback and daily use, playing music through the Move 2 is straightforward no matter what method you use.
Through the app, there’s access to a huge number of streaming services and internet radio stations, from Absolute Radio and Apple Music to Tidal and TuneIn. You can also tweak various speaker settings, add the Move 2 into a greater Sonos multi-room ecosystem (if you have more Sonos products in your home) and create a stereo pair with two Move 2 units (if your wallet can accommodate it).
One point of difference between your standard Bluetooth speaker and a Sonos Bluetooth speaker is that you will need to set up the Move 2 using the app and connect it to wi-fi before you can even connect to Bluetooth. This might feel like an added complication, but considering the amount of ways you can play music through the Move 2, it’s a necessary step. It’s also crucial to have wi-fi set up if you want to use any of the Move 2’s extra features, from voice commands (Amazon Alexa and Sonos Voice Control) to streaming songs over Bluetooth to a stereo pair.
Having the Sonos app at hand also lets you track the Move 2’s battery life, thanks to the tiny icon and percentage displayed next to its name. The Move 2’s battery life has increased twofold to 24 hours now, a massive improvement over the previously paltry 10-11 hours.
As before, the battery is replaceable and a wireless charging base is included in the box. If you’re not using the Move 2, we’d recommend keeping the speaker placed on it so its battery is always topped up. What’s nice is that this new base also works with the original Move – another nod to Sonos’s drive to be more sustainable.
Another returning perk is Automatic Trueplay, which calibrates and optimises the Move 2’s sound whenever it’s moved to a new location. You’ll have to keep the internal mic turned on always, but it’s worth it if you end up moving the Move 2 around regularly. Like the Apple HomePod 2, you’ll be able to hear minute but definite changes in the speaker’s sound as it adjusts to new surroundings.
Build & design
We’ve intimated just how large and bulky the Move 2’s design is in comparison to other portable speakers, and while you would normally need two hands to pick it up, the cleverly recessed back lets you pick it up with one hand easily.
The dimensions are unchanged from the previous model, measuring 24.1 x 16 x 12.7cm and weighing 3kg. You won’t be able to sling it into your bag or backpack like you can with a JBL Flip 6, but the Move 2’s size is also indicative of its purpose to deliver a much bigger and more powerful sound.
Apart from the longer battery life, the biggest update to the Move 2 comes in the form of stereo sound. The Move 2 now sports dual angled tweeters alongside a woofer. Custom waveguides also help to direct the frequencies, while there’s a Class D amplifier for each of the three drivers.
Externally, very little of the Move 2 has changed. The speaker itself is built to Sonos’s typically high standards, with a minimal finish and responsive touch controls and buttons. We also like the addition of the new olive green colourway, which makes a nice change from the traditional crisp matte white or black finish we see across Sonos’s product family. The speaker is IP56 rated as well, so should be protected against water splashes and dust ingress, while Sonos claims its tough shell will survive the odd knock and bump, too.
The top of the speaker has had a cosmetic refresh that’s now identical to the Era 300 and Era 100’s design, with updated icons and a volume “trough” that you can slide your finger along to make incremental volume changes. The buttons at the back (power, Bluetooth pairing, microphone on/off) have been reworked too, and it all works smoothly.
There’s been a step up in clarity and sophistication with Sonos’s new Era speakers, and we hear the same with the Move 2. The large spread of sound with powerful heft returns, but it’s accompanied by a sound that’s nicely balanced, clean and detailed, and easy to listen to.
Comparisons with the older Sonos Move make it clear as day that the Move 2 is the better performer. The Move sounds rather cluttered, with voices sounding muffled and the bass lumping along inelegantly compared with the Move 2’s more deft and agile delivery when playing Run The Jewel’s Legend Has It. There’s more depth, grip and tautness to the bassline. It’s still a beast of a speaker that prioritises throwing sound out at party levels, but there’s more space and organisation with the Move 2.
There’s just enough snarl and bite to EL-P and Killer Mike’s vocals, with the Move 2 able to deliver the differences in texture and tone of their voices more convincingly than before. Play Coi Leray’s Players and the speaker handles the playful, funky tune admirably with clean, precise edges and a punchy beat – it gets your toes tapping and fingers snapping. We find the Move 2 has the higher frequencies under better control, too, and it sounds more composed when pushed to louder volumes. Overall, it’s a more composed, refined and detailed sound than before.
There is decent solidity to the piano notes in Taylor Swift’s Exile, while the gruff texture of Bon Iver’s voice has depth and grit. But these elements all sound more detailed, more layered and spacious through our Award-winning Dali Katch G2. The Dali opens up the song even more, places instruments more precisely in the soundstage and relays voices with a richness and authenticity that sounds more genuine than the Move 2. Piano notes are more elegant and nuanced through the Dali, too – you can hear the resonances and decay of notes more faithfully through the Katch G2.
In comparison, the Move 2 sounds a touch bass-heavy with its emphasis on boldness and punch. How does it fare against its non-portable but similarly-priced sibling, the Era 300? Even ignoring any spatial audio tracks, the Era 300 delivers more power, more detail and a bigger, spacious sound than the Move. Songs sound that bit more balanced, solid and detailed, voices have more texture, and they time better through the Era 300. Dynamically, the Era speaker ebbs and flows with greater fluidity, and delivers better bass depth and agility. The Move 2’s slightly forward balance will reward you when listening outdoors, but if you had to spend £450 of your money on one product only, it’s the Era 300 that earns our firm recommendation.
The Sonos Move 2 remains a curious proposition, but we can see a place for a premium wireless speaker that has the convenience of portability and isn’t permanently tethered to the mains. While it may not seem like a huge reinvention, the longer battery life and more mature and clearer sound make the Move 2 a compelling case if you’re after the particular niche it covers.
That high price tag is what will deter many and the fact that you can get rivals at this price that offer a more nuanced and more rhythmic sound, albeit with fewer streaming features. If you’re after high-quality wireless sound that offers the best Sonos experience, go for the Era 300. If you’re after high-quality portable sound, the Dali Katch G2 is your best bet.
The Sonos Move 2 is caught in the middle of both worlds, but we imagine its flexible design, numerous features and friendly sonic approach will have its fans. As long as they can afford it, of course.
- Sound 4
- Features 5
- Build 4
Read our review of the Dali Katch G2
Also consider the Sonos Era 300