New Sonos Roam SL saves you some money, but at what cost?

New Sonos Roam SL saves you some money, but at what cost?

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The Sonos Roam SL is almost the same as its predecessor, the Roam, but it drops the mics.
The Sonos Roam SL is almost the same as its predecessor, the Roam, but it drops the mics.
Photo: Sonos

If you want a great-sounding portable speaker but don’t care about voice-activated control, Sonos just came out with the Sonos Roam SL. It’s like the highly regarded Sonos Roam smart speaker released last year, but it leaves out the far-field microphone and costs $20 less.

Going mic-less means you don’t get to use voice-activated assistants with the speaker. And you lose a couple of other mic-related functions, too.

Sonos Roam SL drops the mics and the price tag

The Sonos Roam portable smart speaker came along in 2021 with quality sound and AirPlay 2 support as well as access to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It cost $169 at first, but Sonos raised that to $179 last fall, citing the global chip shortage.

And now you can save $20 by choosing the Sonos Roam SL, a mic-less version of the Roam that costs $159. It’s similar to how Sonos released its One speaker a couple of years ago and then put out a mic-less One SL at a lower cost.

According to Sonos, losing voice assistants from the device doesn’t mean all voice control is lost. If you’re streaming from an Apple device via AirPlay 2, you can tell Siri on your Apple device to adjust the volume on the Roam SL speaker.

But you should note that losing the microphone does more than lose direct support for voice assistants. As a Sonos FAQ says, it also takes away automated Trueplay sound tuning and the Sound Swap feature that lets you to send audio from the Roam to a nearby Sonos speaker when you hold down the play button.

The Roam SL supports stereo pairing with another Roam SL or the original Roam speaker when you stream music over Wi-Fi.

All things considered, the Roam SL closely resembles the Roam. The SL has the same 18WH battery with 10 hours of continuous playback, a quad-core 1.4GHz CPU and IP67 waterproof certification. And it’s compatible with the optional $49 wireless charger Sonos sells, or any Qi-certified wireless charging pad.

Roam SL Specs

  • 2x class-H amplifiers, 1x custom racetrack mid-woofer, 1x tweeter
  • Trueplay tuning (EQ)
  • Wi-Fi 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)

The Sonos Roam is available for preorder in Lunar White or Shadow Black colors. Shipping starts March 15, the company said.

Price: $159

Where to preorder: Sonos

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