The Sonos Speakers that are Smart with a Real Sound

I recently spent some time with the Sonos Era 100 and 300 range of speakers that deliver hi-end sound in your home while enjoying movies, listening to your favourite podcasts and of course next level music clarity.

I’ve worked in the radio industry in Australia for around 30 years in various roles including audio production and in more recent years as a digital content creator. My own home audio setup has downsized considerably over that time to the point now that I do most of my audio listening via small cost effective smart home speakers like the Google Nest Mini. 

Those speakers do a great job for what they are and the smart features and linking throughout the home are exceptional. But it wasn’t until I plugged in the Sonos speakers that I was reminded of how my favourite music was meant to sound, I’d forgotten the joy of hearing true clarity in music. While other smart speakers do a great job of being “smart”, few have the ability to deliver sound in the quality that the artist intended.

So let’s take a look at some of the features that both devices share before we look at individual highlights.

Connecting either device is simple as they give you various options, via Bluetooth, the line-in audio (accessed using the usb-c port and an adaptor) or via your WiFi which is the connection that Sonos is most famous for. 

Using most audio sources you can connect via the Sonos app to iHeart Radio, Spotify, Apple Music and more to be able to link to the music and podcast service that best suits your own tastes. The connection is a simple login and doesn’t take much time at all to activate. 

Using the app you can control all sorts of features including linking speakers to left and right channels if you own more than one and designating the location of the speaker in your home.

The smart features allow you to either use Amazon Alexa or the Sonos Voice Control, there is no support for Google Assistant which was the biggest let down as most of my house runs on Google products and I would have loved for the speaker to be part of that ecosystem.

Sonos Voice Control is a good substitute though mainly down to the amazing voice tones of well known actor Giancarlo Esposito from shows like “Breaking Bad”, “The Boy’s”, “The Gentlemen”, “The Mandalorian” and the video game “Far Cry 6”. Hearing his incredible tone as the Siri/Alexa of this device is a masterstroke, as his Jazz and Blues-like voice style highlights the “cool-factor” of the brand as a product that delivers unbeatable sound by putting music quality and vocal clarity first.

The touch controls on both are minimal with a combination of tap and swipe style interactions as well as physical switches. The longer recessed bar along the centre top is a simple swipe mechanism to adjust the volume level with play/pause and skips in front and listening button. On the back of the device is a privacy mic on/off switch for your privacy and a USB-c connection for adding something like an audio jack adapter for a turn-table for example.

Using “Trueplay” tuning technology you can walk around your room holding your phone out for the speaker to use as a mic as it actively optimises the sound to suit the environment.

The Sonos Era 100 is a great speaker for solo use but is at its best in a multiroom setup or as a set where you can usually get a discount for buying more than one at the same time. The device comes in an option of two simple colours of either black or white which is perfect to match with any home decor. 

Linking one device with another gives you fantastic stereo separation or the ability to play from room to room if you have them across the house. They also link with larger Sonos soundbars to become the rear left and right channels for your full home theatre set up.

Out of the box the speaker feels like quality, it has a weight to it that you’d expect from a hi-end device and there’s a minimal use of buttons and other interactions so that the device never feels distracting. It’s a pure rounded design that is small enough for a book shelf or bench without taking up too much room and still delivering on quality.

Given that this speaker is at the more affordable end of the Sonos range I naturally thought that the sound would be on par with most speakers in that lower end, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Era 100 does an incredible job of filling a room with its nex-gen acoustics and an especially surprising deep bass that almost describes the deep sound to you picking up on every detail. That detail is also highlighted with voice through radio or podcasts, the clarity of every word is exceptional allowing you to be truly immersed in the conversation. 

The volume has no trouble reaching great listening levels in the room before the crackle sets in, but it’s an “at home” listening device, you wouldn’t run an underground rave party with one, you’ll need some Era 300’s for that.

The Sonos Era 300 is a big leap up from the 100’s adding “Spacial Audio ” as its main selling feature. The use of Dolby Atmos Music which has really redefined acoustic sounds in any audio letting you hear the object in the audio projected in specific locations to make it feel like it is all around you. The list of songs in this format are few at the moment but to get a great example use the list at Apple Music that features the likes of Celine Dion, Imagine Dragons, Luke Combs and Camilla Cabello.

The slightly larger design of the 300 is beautifully unique, rather than a simple round design it’s more inverse curve look is a stunning aesthetic that comes in either black or white to suit your needs. Important to recognise that the white doesn’t seem to lose its vibrance over time even when it is placed in an area that receives a bit of sun. 

You’ll see Sonos Home Theater packs available where the Era 300 is the option for your rear speakers, while this might feel like a bit of overkill, they do sound immense back there and add to the overall experience. The Era 100 feels like a more logical price driven choice in that position, but if you have the cash and cahoonas then do it, it will make your home feel like that true cinema experience with Dolby Atmos.

The versatility is the stand out on both the Era 100 and 300 models, the speakers refuse to be typecast as a rear speaker for a whole unit or a support speaker in a back room, instead they own every environment they are placed in and deliver a sound that reminds you of what audio is supposed to sound like. The built in bass is exceptional on its own and the clarity second to none. 

While both speakers need to be plugged into power to be used, Sonos do offer a range of high quality portable speakers. However, if you choose to move one of these to a different room for a bit they are lightweight enough to do so with no hassle and the setup through the app is easy and effective.

The Sonos Era 100 and 300 series provide unmatched sound quality for at home listening with the versatility to exceed at anything you need from them. While it’s hard to overlook the lack of Google features, once you are in the Sonos Ecosystem you’ll never look back as the ease of setup and control is extremely well engineered.

Doccy Darko

Doccy Darko

Content Creator / Radio Announcer / Gamer / Podcaster / Reviewer / Loving Dad

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *