Sonos launches Roam SL portable AirPlay speaker as headphone rumors swirl

By | March 1, 2022


Last spring we saw Sonos jump into the ultra-portable speaker market with Roam. While it comes with a somewhat premium price, it packs some great features like AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and WiFi support, Qi charging, and a built-in mic. Now Sonos has launched the Roam SL at a lower price that skips the far-field microphone. Meanwhile, on the heels of a recent acquisition, Sonos’ CEO says the company is “working on some really exciting stuff.”

With the original Sonos Roam, I was impressed with the overall experience including the sound quality given the size constraints. While sound quality is very subjective, I put Roam on par with Apple’s HomePod mini, but in a convenient ultra-portable package.

More affordable Roam SL

After launching at $169, Roam’s price increased to $179. Now, Sonos is taking a page out of its One/One SL book and launching the more affordable Roam SL.

The same great features of the original Roam are all here except the new SL version ditches the far-field microphone to come in at $159. Orders are open now for the Roam SL with deliveries starting mid-March.

Roam SL Specs

  • 2x class-H amplifiers, 1x custom racetrack mid-woofer, 1x tweeter 
  • Trueplay tuning (auto EQ)
  • WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0
  • AirPlay 2 support
  • 10-hour battery life
  • IP67-rated dust and waterproof
  • Charging via included USB-C cable, optional magnetic wireless base, or any Qi charger
    • USB-C to USB-A cable in the box
    • Can be charged with 7.5W power bricks and higher
  • Dimensions: 6.61 x 2.44 x 2.36-inches (168 x 62 x 60 mm) 
  • Weight: 0.95 lb (0.43 kg)
  • Priced at $159 – available in Lunar White or Shadow Black

Sonos rumors building

In a new episode of The Verge’s Decoder podcast, Nilay Patel sat down with Sonos’ CEO Patrick Spence and chief legal officer Eddie Lazarus. While most of the episode focuses on how Sonos sued Google and won, Nilay also asked about new products.

Spence has said that Sonos is focused on delivering two new products a year, so Nilay asked “You said two products a year. Are you making headphones? When are they coming?”

PS: We are so excited about our roadmap, Nilay, and I can’t wait to talk to you about it.

NP: Eddie is proud of you. He’s like, “He doesn’t even need the help.” You just bought a company called T2. Is that to help you make headphones?

PS: We are working on some really exciting stuff that I can’t wait to tell you about, Nilay.

NP: Oh my gosh. Are you going to support lossless audio on Apple Music?

PS: We are working on some really exciting stuff that I can’t wait to tell you about.

More background there is that Sonos made the acquisition of a company called T2 Software last month who is working on new Bluetooth audio codecs like LC3 to get better quality sound to lower data rates.

We’ve also seen a rendering of a Sonos headset in a patent application filed in Germany and rumors of the company launching headphones going back to 2019.

Adding to all that, Sonos’ VP of marketing and communications shared this last month:

Sonos is looking to partner with a thoughtful, creative, and innovative integrated marketing firm for one of the most ambitious projects in our history. That’s all we can say right now, but if it sounds exciting and your agency is up for the challenge, we’d like to get to know you better.

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