New speakers from Sonos don’t come along often. Particularly ones that differ from their predecessors quite significantly. Say hello to the Sonos Era 100 and Era 300.
In truth the Era 100 is more a ‘notable evolution’ of the Sonos 1 speaker it replaces. The Era 300 is a new beast though, fitting between the Sonos 1 and 5 (the latter continues in the range) and looking very different. The Era 300 also offers some powerful new features.
Both models are said to offer a significant step up in base sound quality. The Era 100 now has two tweeters and a 25% bigger woofer than that in the One. Meaning better stereo and stronger bass. The Era 300 has two woofers and no less than four tweeters that fire forward, sideways, and upwards.
Both models get Bluetooth, a new departure for Sonos mains-powered speakers. They also get better connectivity, including a USB-C line in port. Using an optional adapter – presumably with inbuilt Analogue to Digital Converter (ADC) – allows direct connection of a turntable. Voice connectivity is supported, but only Sonos’ own service and Alexa. A sign of waning popularity for voice services? That you can now hit a button on the Era models to turn their listening microphones off might suggest so.
Sonos’ Trueplay software is now available on Android, not just iOS, although in a more limited form. The Android version only uses the speaker’s microphone to adjust the sound to your room. The iOS version uses the phone’s microphone as well. Android phones don’t have standard microphones, hence the ‘fudge’. Whether this impacts the undoubted benefits of Trueplay remains to be seen.
Finally the headline news. Those four tweeters in the Era 300 mean it plays spatial audio – surround sound for music – as well as Dolby Atmos for movies when used as rear speakers with a compatible Sonos soundbar. Spatial audio is starting to gain momentum, not least because of the huge marketing push from services like Apple Music that provide it. Sonos thinks it’s here to stay. That spatial audio is now available from a manufacturer known for simplifying complex technology will probably help.
All in all the new speakers offer some interesting capabilities. It won’t be long before we get to hear them first hand; both speakers start shipping on 28th March and can be pre-ordered now.
The Sonos Era 100 costs £249 / US$249 / €279.
The Sonos Era 300 is £449 / US$449 / €499
More information from Sonos