Sonos Roam vs. Sonos Transfer


From pool events to yard barbecues, it’s not unusual for there to be a Sonos supplying the tunes. In late 2019, the wi-fi audio firm branched out from inside the house to the patio with the revealing of its first on-the-go Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker, the Sonos Transfer. Boasting as much as 11 hours of battery life, the Transfer is ultra-durable and controllable with Alexa and Google Assistant, whereas nonetheless delivering the wealthy, uncompromised sound that Sonos merchandise are identified for.

However there’s a brand new child on the town now. The Sonos Roam is the most recent in Sonos’ lineup, providing a lot of the identical options you’ll discover with the $400 Transfer. At $169, the Roam is smaller and considerably cheaper than the Transfer, however which speaker is the higher of the 2? We’ve put collectively this head-to-head to look at the various similarities and variations between each Sonos units, serving to you determine which wi-fi audio expertise is finest for you and yours.

Searching for extra wi-fi listening choices? Take a look at our roundups of the finest wi-fi audio system, the finest Bluetooth audio system, and the finest Bluetooth audio system underneath $100

Design and battery life

Sonos Roam

Rugged, weather-resistant, and drop-resistant are three shared traits between each the Sonos Roam and Sonos Transfer audio system. When it comes to total design although, there are a number of variations. Measuring 6.61 inches tall, 2.44 inches extensive, 2.36 inches deep, and weighing 0.95 kilos, the Sonos Roam is the corporate’s most light-weight and ergonomic providing. Inserting the speaker in the identical weight class as wi-fi audio system just like the Final Ears Megaboom 3 and the Bose SoundLink, Sonos is basically pushing for portability and flexibility — an idea launched with the Transfer, now improved upon.

Bodily buttons are relegated to the highest of the speaker and embody play/pause capabilities, quantity changes, skip, and replay, together with a mic mute and, new to the Roam, a Bluetooth pairing button to immediately hyperlink the speaker to your favourite cell units. An IP67 score protects the speaker from all mud and particles and permits the Roam to be submerged in as much as 3 ft of water for half-hour, making it excellent for pool and shoreside tunes. The built-in 18Wh battery permits for as much as 10 hours of steady playback. It’s packaged with a USB-C to USB-A cable, so you’ll be able to hook up with any 5V energy brick or Qi-certified wi-fi charger to re-juice the Roam. Whereas charging choices are handy for the Roam, we do miss the devoted charging dock that comes with the Transfer. Nonetheless, you should purchase a Sonos Wi-fi Charger for less than $49.

Sonos Roam with Sonos Move
Sonos Transfer (behind) and Sonos Roam (entrance) Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The Sonos Transfer measures 9.44 inches tall, 6.29 inches extensive, 4.96 inches deep, and weighs 6.61 kilos. The heftier of Sonos’ two on-the-go units, the Transfer can solely stand upright. The Roam options rubber ft on its horizontal airplane, permitting you to face the speaker upright and on its aspect.

The Transfer’s bodily buttons embody play/pause, quantity changes, skip, replay, and a mic mute choice. The speaker is IP56 rated, making certain good (however not good) safety towards mud and particles, together with blasts of water and dangerous climate. Not like the Roam, you don’t wish to go submerging your Transfer in your swimming pool although. The 36Wh battery guarantees as much as 11 hours of playback and features a devoted charger (in contrast to the Roam). Each the Roam and Transfer can be found in black and white finishes.

It’s exhausting to declare a winner for this class, as some will want the lesser actual property of the Roam, whereas others might be happier with the Transfer’s larger profile. Whereas the Roam is submergible, the Transfer can face up to a dousing, simply not a shallow-end dunk within the pool. The Roam is straightforward to seize and place, however the Transfer isn’t that cumbersome. Plus, it has a carrying deal with. We’re calling this one a tie.

Winner: Tie

Sound high quality

Sonos Roam
Sonos Roam

Each the Sonos Roam and Sonos Transfer function twin amplifiers, a single tweeter, and a mid-range woofer for mids and low frequencies. The Roam’s two amps are Class-H licensed, with the tweeter and woofer positioned for front-firing sound. The Transfer is powered by two Class-D amps, with the tweeter positioned on the backside of the speaker for down-firing disbursement. Just like the Roam, the Transfer’s woofer is positioned behind the speaker grille.

We love what each audio system can do, when it comes to each quantity output and readability. The Roam is without doubt one of the finest small wi-fi audio system we’ve heard up to now. It will get lots loud for out of doors listening and is evident and well-balanced at quantity ranges beneath 75%. After 75% output, bass and mids fall away, leaving increased frequencies to fill out the remaining quantity pocket — typical of audio system this measurement.

That being mentioned, the Transfer encompasses a stronger audio presence total. It’s louder, able to bass-heavy supply and wider sound-staging, and notably shines when positioned in an out of doors setting.

Each audio system make use of far-field mics for Sonos’ Auto TruePlay know-how, a fantastic function that permits the Roam and Transfer to routinely modify sound output primarily based on the listening setting. The place the tech was solely out there for Wi-Fi listening, TruePlay is now out there for Bluetooth listening, too (for each audio system).

When it comes to total audio expertise, we’re giving this class to the Transfer. So far as small audio system go, and Sonos merchandise total, the Roam is an in depth runner-up.

Winner: Sonos Transfer


Sonos Transfer

Like the remainder of the Sonos household, each the Roam and Transfer enable for wi-fi music streaming over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and casting by Apple’s AirPlay 2. By way of the Sonos app (out there for iOS and Android units), you’ll be able to take heed to a mess of radio stations from everywhere in the world, modify speaker settings, create customized teams for shared music sources, and extra. Understand that you’ll have to be related to Wi-Fi to reap the benefits of Sonos’ in-app music providers. For those who’re utilizing Bluetooth, you’ll need to launch your most well-liked music streaming app (like Apple Music or Spotify) to ship music to each the Roam and Transfer.

Each audio system are additionally controllable by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice instructions (Wi-Fi connection required). With each voice assistants, you’ll be able to play music, examine the information, ask questions, and work together with your property’s suitable sensible dwelling units.

Unique to the Roam is a function referred to as Sound Swap, which sends the Roam’s supply audio to the closest Sonos speaker in your house. To take action, merely maintain the play/pause button on the highest of the speaker. You may also allow Sound Swap by the Sonos app.

With a slight leg-up within the options division, the laurel goes to the Sonos Roam.

Winner: Sonos Roam

Value and guarantee

That is maybe one of many largest variations between the units. The newly launched Sonos Roam at present sells for less than $169. The Sonos Transfer goes for $399. Each audio system include a one-year restricted guarantee from Sonos. Whereas $399 is a steeper sticker value, the Transfer appears engineered for each in-home and out of doors listening. The $169 Roam is extra on par with aggressive Bluetooth audio system across the identical value level, however with the added Sonos benefits of Wi-Fi listening, TruePlay, AirPlay 2 casting, and Sound Swap. Based mostly on sheer worth alone, the Roam wins on this class.

Winner: Sonos Roam

The decision

Sonos Roam with Sonos Move
Sonos Transfer (left) and Sonos Roam (proper) Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Frequent vacationers, social listeners, and bargain-hunters will doubtless want the acute portability and worth of the Roam. It’s the most effective audio system in its measurement class and doesn’t maintain again on any Sonos tech. Actually, with options like Sound Swap, the Roam presents a bit greater than the Transfer. That being mentioned, religious music fans could go for the larger acoustic housing, fuller sound-staging, and total output of the Transfer. After all, you’ll by no means see the Transfer promoting for something near $169.

Contemplating efficiency, options, and worth total, we’re calling it a draw between each cell Sonos audio system.

Winner: Tie

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