Technophile

Sonos Move: Take your songs anywhere

Mala Bhargava | Updated on August 17, 2021

Indoors, outdoors or away from home, this speaker gives you big sound but for a bigger price tag

Up until now, if you wanted a world famous Sonos speaker, you would have to use whatever workaround you could to get one from abroad as they weren’t officially sold in India. That has just changed and you now very much buy a Sonos directly - and we can check them out. The first of the speakers we have for review is the Sonos Move, released sometime in 2019, actually.

I like to think of the Move as a moveable, in keeping with its name, rather than a portable. It can work on battery so you can move it but it’s not so portable that you could tuck it under your arm and go off somewhere. It weighs three kilos. You could move it from one room to another without thinking twice; you could take out on the balcony or porch or plant it in the garden; you could even pack it into the car and take it with you for a holiday. You get a fabric bag to use to protect the speaker and keep it clean when not in use. There’s a large indented or scooped out chunk on the back of the speaker that serves as a grip to lift the speaker. The speaker is IP56 rated so it can take a bit of rain when outdoors. But not an outright immersion in water. It’s also got a shock resistant body so hopefully it won’t be destroyed by a bit of a drop. Hopefully.

The Move comes in either black or white. We got the black and it looks familiar enough but the white too would look interesting and blend well against lighter walls.

When used indoors, the Move is plugged into power and sits on a special and unique charging base. It works with your Wi-Fi network. The charging base is quite convenient because it means your speaker is always charged and when you put it back you don’t have to fiddle with plugs. When you lift it off the base and take it out of the house, you use the button on the back to switch to Bluetooth. You can also charge via USB for which the slot is available. The power and connect buttons are also on the back. On top are touch sensitive controls for navigating tracks, volume etc— and they’re nice and sensitive. I thought the icons not too user-friendly, however.

Sonos app

Another place to control the speaker is through the Sonos app. From here, you can add a voice assistant (Alexa or Google for now). You can also add music services from here, after which they’ll play through the app. There’s quite a few music services supported, but some are country specific and of course all will need subscriptions. I did spot some of the local Indian services as well as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. Sonos also has its own Sonos Radio. There’s a lot else in the app, from parental controls to system updates, to setting up your own music libraries. You can also set up through the app and it isn’t that quick a process as with some. You need to create an account. And if someone else signs in with their ID, good luck figuring out how to disentangle them though once you know it works out

Coming to the sound: things are a bit mixed. It has a rather nice surprising bass, making it sound substantial and full. The higher frequencies sound adequate though get a bit strident at high volume. I did think the music contained rather than spread out and open. But then, the speaker uses Trueplay to adjust itself depending on where you’ve placed it, so changing the placement around to see how it sounds is highly recommended. It’s a smart feature for a speaker that’s focused on being moved.

We were not able to test any multi-room or stereo pairing as there was just one unit for review but the Move fits into the Sonos ecosystem well, as is known from the experience of others who have been using it for over a year.

Sonos is a really popular and cult brand and for that it can certainly charge a premium. Even so, the speaker is far too expensive in India. At $400 in the US it should be around ₹30,000 but it costs a lot more, even beyond Apple’s HomePod and Echo Studio which are roughly equivalent though not portable.

Price: ₹43,999

Pros: Deep bass sound, flexibility with placement, convenient charging, splash proof, shock resistant, full featured app with services

Cons: Very expensive, long set-up, no line-in so can’t connect devices directly

Published on August 17, 2021

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