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Hands-On: Sonos Roam SL Bluetooth Speaker


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Sonos has long been a major player in the home audio space, having implemented its balanced sound tech to offer its users some of the best listening experiences in the industry. And while the Santa Barbara-based company is largely known for its more premium home-based offerings, like its Sonos One series of smart speakers and its class-leading soundbars, the brand also makes equipment that sits well outside the home theater space. One of the most intriguing is the Roam SL Bluetooth Speaker, the latest affordable, travel-friendly release from the brand. We were curious as to how the compact sound machine would hold up when tested out in the real world, so we went hands-on with the Roam SL to find out.


The Sound

Balanced & Booming

Powered by a pair of precision-engineered, finely-tuned Class-H digital amplifiers, the Roam SL is engineered to provide premier sound quality no matter where you bring it. In addition to these unique acoustics, its sole tweeter and mid-woofer provide an audiophile-appropriate balance of crystal-clear high frequencies and maximized low-end. Whether you’re basking in a live album or your favorite artist’s latest Tiny Desk Concert, Sonos seeks to provide as authentic a sound as it can with its adaptive EQ. Plus, you can tailor the sound output to your liking with the user-friendly Sonos app, allowing you to take over the bass, treble, and volume of whatever you’re listening to. Plus, if you have any other Sonos sound equipment on hand, then you can simply add the Roam SL to your setup to provide an added boost of sound, making the listening experience that much more gratifying.


The Size

Built For Anything

Measuring a sliver over 6.5″ tall and just below 4.5″ wide, the Roam SL is a prime example of what people want when seeking a portable speaker. With a lightweight, sub-pound makeup, the speaker can easily be toted around in any scenario that could use a lively soundtrack. Dimensions aside, another noteworthy element is the Roam SL’s weatherized makeup. It boasts an IP67 dust-and-waterproof rating, meaning it’s well-suited to survive any inclement weather or quick accidental pool dips. For added peace of mind, the speaker is also shock-absorbent and drop-protected, ensuring this gadget will last through any number of adventures.


The Streaming

Listening Made Easy

With the modern music scene dominated by streaming services, it’s essential for any speaker in today’s market to offer a user-friendly way to access the internet’s endless array of music, and Sonos definitely didn’t let us down in that regard. The device is capable of streaming via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, giving you options for how you want to listen to your music. What’s more, thanks to the Roam SL’s Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility, users of Apple products can seamlessly send sound from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac directly to the speaker, while controlling it via Siri on their device. It’s just an added bit of functionality that we got a good deal of use out of, and another way that Sonos has made the Roam SL so easy to use that you really don’t even need to think about it.


The Verdict

Ready To Roam

If your next outdoor adventure could use an epic soundtrack or you want to blast a summertime playlist at an upcoming pool party, this small-scale speaker packs a much bigger punch than its size would suggest. It’s unlikely that you’ll find this combo of portability, durability, affordability, and high-quality sound anywhere else, so you might as well make it easy on yourself and quit looking around for another Bluetooth speaker when Sonos has what you need right here. The Roam SL Bluetooth Speaker is available exclusively through the Sonos website for $159 in either Lunar White or Shadow Black.

Purchase: $159