STREO GUIDE verdict
+ Balanced sound tuning with powerful, clean bass and great imaging.
+ WLAN and Bluetooth interfaces, analog-in adapter for USB-C available
+ Voice control via Alexa and Sonos Voice Control
+ Sonos Voice Control is processed on-board and also works with Bluetooth playback
- high weight and quite high price
- Sonos Voice Control currently only available in English and French
Sound: tonal balance / transparency7.6
Sound: Bass / Dynamics7.9
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.8
The new Sonos Move 2 should continue a success story. Sonos hit a bull’s eye with the first variant: The dual function of multi-room speaker in the home WLAN as well as Bluetooth speaker on the go made the first generation (which we already reviewed) the versatility champion. So why is the manufacturer now bringing out a new version in the form of the Sonos Move 2 after just over three years?
Above all, to dispel two points of criticism: The Sonos Move 2 has two tweeters and can thus reproduce virtual stereo from one box – a step that impresses the layman more than the expert. With usual one-box speakers, the drivers for both channels have to sit so close together that the stereo design can have a rather counterproductive effect. This is because cancellation can occur in certain frequency ranges from some angles.
End of monotony
The first-generation Sonos Move was still a pure mono speaker with a 2-way system. The two dome tweeters of the 2nd generation are angled sideways and located quite far out in the curved baffle and radiate outwards accordingly. This at least promises a certain spatial effect despite the narrow width of only 14 centimeters.
For proper stereo, however, two essential points would have to be fulfilled: Not only the treble, but also the midrange would have to be transmitted in stereo, and both channels would have to be spatially much farther away from each other for a directional perception to result. After all, Sonos kills several birds with one stone with its smart trick: The critics are finally satisfied. And the two tweeters, supported by waveguide sound guides, radiate directionally to both sides and bundle it in their working area anyway.
In this way, they avoid overlapping of the sound waves and thus also the usual cancellations of such token stereo solutions with both channels in one compact housing. And yes, you have to hand it to Sonos: All-around distributed trebles make the speaker seem acoustically larger than it is and also integrate it better into the room. Moreover, you don’t have to squat exactly in front of the speaker to enjoy a lively treble reproduction.
Stronger and more enduring
The bass-midrange driver, equipped with an extremely generously dimensioned drive magnet, still plays in a closed cabinet. Sound precision therefore takes precedence over maximum volume and power output, which makes some loudspeaker manufacturers resort to bass reflex solutions. So that the Move 2 nevertheless gets down to business, it got a 3-channel power amplifier with efficient Class D technology, vulgo, a digital amplifier. How many watts it has remains hidden, just like the chassis diameters. Sonos, like the Bose brand that also targets the broad market, is nobly silent here. However, the additional amplifier channel alone should result in a higher overall performance than the first Move.
All the more astonishing in view of the performance boost: The battery runtime more than doubled during the generation change – from 11 hours to 24 hours. Thus, the Move now also justifies the somewhat high weight of 3 kilograms. In fact, it remained unchanged despite the drastically increased battery capacity of the first version. However, not only the battery power increased from 38 to 44 Wh. At the same time, power consumption in standby dropped by 40 percent, according to Sonos.
New functions and applications
That was it for revolutionary news. Except for one small detail, which might be important for some: The USB-C port can be converted to an analog line input via a separately available adapter. This means that the Sonos Move 2 is now a bit more versatile and can also be connected to alternative sources in the living room. There, it can sit on its ring-shaped charging cradle and interact with other Sonos components in the home multi-room environment. For this you need the Sonos S2 App and compatible Sonos devices.
Airplay 2 is the only non-Sonos protocol on the WLAN. As usual with Sonos, the Move 2 only accepts data streams up to a resolution of PCM 24 bit/48 kHz. Various playback options from Spotify to Amazon and Apple Music are available in the home Wi-Fi via Sonos’ own S2 app, Airplay 2 or the apps of the relevant streaming services. However, the user can also stream from the home music archive on a NAS with UPnP.
Mobile operation via Bluetooth
If necessary, the Sonos Move 2 can be taken to the garden, balcony or other rooms for mobile use and is then put into standalone Bluetooth operation with a rear button. The connection to the Sonos S2 app is then no longer possible.
The battery lasts up to 24 hours when fully charged. This proved to be extremely practical in the review. Another practical feature is that the Move 2 quickly adapts to its surroundings with music thanks to the (self-)calibration feature called Trueplay. You don’t need an Apple smartphone for this, as was necessary with older stationary Sonos components. This eliminates a disadvantage for the Android community that was first eliminated with the Sonos Move and the likewise mobile Sonos Roam. Meanwhile, home devices like the Sonos Era 100 and Era 300 with their built-in microphones can also automatically calibrate to the installation location independently of the smartphone. Trueplay is particularly useful with the mobile Move 2, because the room-dependent sound correction happens quickly and without manual intervention after each repositioning. This worked flawlessly in the review and tickled out the last nuances of sound.
Comfortable with or without voice control
The integrated microphone array on the top of the robust housing, which is resistant to dirt and water jets according to protection class IP56, is not only used for acoustic trueplay adjustment. It also enables control via voice assistant. Those using Sonos Voice Control or Amazon Alexa (built-in) can issue commands directly to the Move 2.
The Sonos system is sophisticated and, as always, connects to the WLAN quite easily. There is no Ethernet jack. However, there is a LAN adapter from Sonos for the USB-C port on the back, but it cannot be used to charge smartphones or tablets. As with the Sonos Five, you can choose to listen to virtual stereo from one box, or connect two Move 2s to the WLAN for more sound pressure. In this function, which can be activated directly on the speakers by pressing the play buttons simultaneously, the Move 2 can also be paired with other Sonos speakers. With the Sonos S2 app, you can even pair two Move 2s to create a true stereo pair. However, stereo pairing is not available via Bluetooth and it does not work with different models.
Controls inspired by the Era series
The Sonos Move 2’s controls look a bit different from its predecessor: The elongated notch is reminiscent of the manufacturer’s Era 100 and Era 300 and allows volume control via finger swipe with tactile feedback. And as with both home speakers, there is also a switch in the large, practical recessed grip on the back to mute the microphone on the hardware side. A touch button, which we also know from the review of the Era series, can be used to quickly disable the microphone on the software side.
As for Sonos Voice Control, the brand’s own voice control, Sonos points out that all voice commands are processed without recording in the device itself and not via the Internet on a central server as is generally the case. Nevertheless, the microphone deactivation makes sense because Alexa can also be used on the Move 2 after linking the Amazon and Sonos accounts.
At your command
However, Sonos Voice Control also has a small catch. Even many months after reviewing the Era speakers, only English and French can be selected as languages when installing them on the Move 2 – this is done within the Sonos S2 app.
What we really like about on-board speech processing is not only the data protection. Thanks to this technology, you can still control the Move 2 via voice even when you use it as a mobile Bluetooth box on the road without a WLAN connection to the Internet. Commands like “Play next track” were reliably received even at full volume over a distance of several meters. The password “Hey Sonos” penetrated the sound thicket surprisingly well and caused the smart speaker to gently lower the volume for a better understanding of the actual command.
Many manufacturers now boast the use of recycled plastic or resource-saving packaging. And the Sonos Move 2 also received a greenwashing in the form of a third color (green) and the use of recycled materials. The manufacturer also points out that the power consumption in standby mode has been reduced considerably.
But what is even more important for the environment: The battery pack of the Move 2 can be removed and replaced with a spare battery (89 Euros). Thus, you do not have to throw away the entire speaker if the battery noticeably loses capacity after many charging cycles.
Listening test: This is how the Sonos Move 2 sounds
The first generation of Sonos’ mobile wireless speaker already set an exclamation mark in the review with rich basses, balanced mids and fresh, but by no means sharp trebles. The new generation of 2023 goes one better. It sounds much more grown-up, powerful and spacious, yet clear and clean. Basically, the predecessor was a charming brute with an amazingly fat bass that you wouldn’t have expected from such a compact case. However, it was sloppy in terms of transparency, muddled the mids a bit when viewed with critical ears and somehow sounded a bit pressed when it got a bit louder. Nevertheless, one could not help but applaud the first outdoor battery speaker to a certain extent. He also eventually extended the application range of the popular multi-room system to the garden and even beyond, thanks to Bluetooth. And it offered cool innovations like the standalone Trueplay room adjustment with its own microphone.
The review proves it: But the new one is really a damn good compact speaker with unsurpassable flexibility. Those who are not put off by the price and weight (in relation to the size) might even consider the Move 2 if they do not use a Sonos system at home into which they can integrate the mobile smart speaker.
The Sonos Move 2 poaches in foreign territory
Even as a luxury Bluetooth box, the purchase would be worth considering. At least there are still blessings like the included power supply with charging socket, very long battery life and the possibility to use web radio or streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music or Apple Music without always having the smartphone connected to the speaker. While Sonos opened up to Bluetooth after a long boycott, led by Move, Teufel with the Motiv Go Voice or JBL with the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi are just coming from the other side and pack WLAN modules into their Bluetooth boxes. In the end, Sonos was able to set a trend once again.
It’s striking: Originally, it was precisely this flair and expertise for connectivity that made Sonos a trendsetter. But people hardly bought a Sonos Play:1 or Play:3 because they sounded more natural than the speakers of the established HiFi manufacturers. It was the system idea of the most sophisticated multi-room solution for music playback throughout the house. However, since the Play:5, it became apparent that Sonos would also have to be reckoned with more and more in terms of sound competence.
Beyond all the features, the recently introduced Era 100 and Era 300 smart speakers are simply really good speakers that are very difficult to top in their respective size classes. Amazingly compact speakers that reproduce a punchier and cleaner bass, as well as a much larger space than you would give them credit for. The mobile Sonos Move 2 now also falls into this category. The bass may also have gained in precision and fit better into the balanced sound image even with the adaptive loudness control activated by default. The newcomer made the biggest step in terms of spatiality.
Stereo, but not as we know it
Of course, we at STEREO GUIDE would not easily speak of true stereophony because of the 2-channel trickery with the two angled Waveguide tweeters. But without question, the model update raises the larger of the two mobile Sonos speakers to a new level. This is based on two reasons: The new Sonos Move 2 sounds bigger than its dimensions would suggest. Much larger. This effect even intensifies with increasing distance to the box.
A single, comparatively small mobile speaker is enough to fill an entire room with music. Music that detaches from the casing much better than its predecessor and seems to come from a small stage in the middle of the room. The other positive aspect is expressed in the drastically improved transparency and integrity of the individual voices and instruments, which seem to be able to be grasped.
With the more precise bass and overall more balanced tuning in mind, this enhances the reception of the artistic intent behind the music, no matter what genre it comes from. Or to put it less turgidly: This is simply much better than its predecessor and other portable speakers in this size category – although you should not forget that you can get much bigger speakers from manufacturers like JBL or Teufel for 500 Euros. But as the success of the VW Golf GTI has impressively demonstrated for decades: For some, it is precisely the combination of unobtrusive compactness and performance that makes it so appealing.
Move has grown up
Let’s summarize the listening impression again: Rich, clean bass, pleasantly balanced, clearly perceptible trebles and very natural, well audible, differentiated mids are the appeal of the Sonos Move 2. It amazes with large, transparent imaging, but does not create a stereo stage on which audiophile freaks can locate the third violinist from the left. With the new Move, right and left are harmoniously united in the center, but the whole sound image seems more plastic and differentiated. To show the limits of stereo tricks, the first bars of “Money” recorded by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour “Live In Popeii” are enough. Ringing coins and slot-machine noises are just as difficult to assign to a particular side of the stage as the duet at the end of Manfred Mann’s Earthband “Blinded By The Light,” mixed in “ping-pong stereo.”
Conclusion and alternatives to the Sonos Move 2
Fans of the Sonos system will probably not consider any other speaker in this weight class due to the very good app and the diverse application possibilities of the Sonos Move 2, regardless of the positive result of our review within the brand’s own ecosystem. At least not when they need the battery operation. The Sonos Roam, which is also mobile, Bluetooth- and WLAN-enabled, is much smaller and accordingly cannot keep up in terms of sound.
Technical specifications Sonos Move 2
- Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: 500 Euro
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 14 x 24 x 12.5 cm
- Weight: 3 kg
- Features: 2-way, virtual stereo, Bluetooth, WLAN, Bluetooth, Sonos 2 app compatible, standalone Trueplay room calibration, Alexa and Sonos Voice Control via integrated microphones.
- More at www.sonos.com