sonos roam SL
Speaker Reviews

Sonos Roam SL – An Upgrade, Or No?

Sonos Roam SL

Announced March 1st 2022, the Sonos Roam SL is an upgraded version of the popular Sonos Roam currently on the market today. At a cheaper price, and the elimination of a certain feature, does this speaker classify as an upgrade?

The Roam was the company’s first ever portable speaker, as well as the least expensive of the total speaker line-up. Launching only last year, what was the need for an upgrade?

Sonos will now have one of the first portable speakers that features both WIFI connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity. Being a speaker company that prides itself on its WIFI connectivity, this was a big leap in the right direction for Sonos, and this gives its users more autonomy in regards to how they choose to listen to their music.

More: What’s the difference between WIFI and Bluetooth?

Sound interesting? Join me in my below review of the Sonos Roam SL while I distinguish the biggest difference between the 1st generation and 2nd generation speakers.

sonos roam SL

Overview & Specs

There’s only one clear difference between the Roam, and the Roam SL. Besides that, these two devices are identical, and deliver the same quality characteristics as any of the Sonos speakers.

Featuring 10-hours of battery life, an IP67 rating, and a shock-absorbent body, the Sonos Roam and Roam SL are the most durable, and portable to the Sonos line.

You won’t have to worry about dropping it, getting sand in it, or accidently letting it slip into some water. The Sonos team has you covered for any accidental slip, trip or fall your device may encounter.

Your device can be charged via the USB-C cable included with your speaker, or you can purchase the QI wireless charger (sold separately), which allows for quick placement on a charging dock.

The new Sonos Roam SL: The portable smart speaker for all your listening adventures. Free shipping, free 45-day returns.  

Both the Roam and Roam SL feature WIFI OR Bluetooth connectivity, but must be setup with WIFI through the Sonos S2 app before being able to connect to Bluetooth. A small sacrifice for an amazing speaker.

If you have two Roams (either SL or not) you can connect them together for full stereo sound. I should mention that the Roam speakers cannot be connected to your Sonos in-home theater system as the Sonos One or Move do.

The only real difference between these two speakers is the hands-free microphone that the Roam has. In the new Sonos Roam SL, this feature was taken away.

This eliminates several features that the Roam 1st generation is capable of, including speaking directly to your device for your smart assistant, audio TruePlay, and Sound Swap.

Design

The Roam and Roam SL are identical in dimensions and design, minus one small feature.

Both devices are shaped in a round triangular frame, or as some people have recognized, a Toblerone shape! It has a 180 degree perforated speaker grille that protects the drivers underneath.

The Sonos Roam SL measures 6.61 x 2.44 x 2.36 in (HWD) making it very easy to grab with one hand and hold onto tightly. It weighs just under 1 pound, and is lightweight for travel or movement anywhere.

Both the Roam and Roam SL come in a black or white matte color, and feature controls on one end for play/pause, and volume up and down.

You can lay either speaker down on its side, or stand upright for space saving. Both speakers feature an IP67 rating, meaning they are completely dust and water proof. In addition, Sonos made this speaker shock absorbent, so don’t worry about accidently dropping it.

The difference you’ll notice between the models is the microphone button and LED light. The Roam will feature this button above the other controls, as well as an LED light indicating if the microphone is on/off.

sonos roam sl

Sound

The Sonos Roam SL proudly boasts the same well-rounded sound profile Sonos is famous for.

As with the Sonos Roam, the Roam SL features two class-H digital amplifiers, a tweeter for high frequency response and a mid woofer for faithful playback and mid-range frequencies that support maximizing low end output. You’re sure to enjoy any type of music.

The EQ can be adjusted specifically through the Sonos S2 app. The app is a detailed and well-functioning app for significant control over your device. The S2 Sonos app has easily been considered one of the best on the market.

Cons and Other Considerations

The only consideration to be made here is whether you need the microphone that the original Roam features. Me personally, I am not super concerned about it, especially if I am saving over $30 for the Roam SL.

The new Sonos Roam SL: The portable smart speaker for all your listening adventures. Free shipping, free 45-day returns.  

Smart Assistant Capabilities

Obviously, without a microphone on the Roam SL, you won’t be able to speak directly to your device for hands-free operation. But here’s the thing: You can still control your device through your smart assistant on your smartphone! So this feature hasn’t really gone away. You’ve just eliminated the ability to speak directly to the Roam SL.

Audio TruePlay

This is probably the biggest loss in total, as TruePlay is a dynamic and automatic EQ setting ability that is specific to Sonos products.

TruePlay is an acoustic calibration that allows the speaker to automatically tune the sound to its environment and placement. It requires a microphone to bing sound off of objects around it to determine the best EQ for its setting.

Sonos Sound Swap

This is a neat feature, but something that can probably be forgotten about without a worry.

Sonos allows its speakers to communicate in a way that if you were rocking with your Sonos Roam outside the house, and decided to come inside, you could push your music onto another Sonos speaker within your home for break-free listening experiences.

Of course, you would have to have another Sonos speaker, or system in your home for this to be a worthwhile function. Hence why I feel it’s not the biggest loss.

My Verdict: Small and mighty, worth the money savings.

All in all, I think it’s worth going for the Sonos Roam SL at a less expensive cost. I don’t think its much of an upgrade, but more of a savings for those not needing the extra bells and whistles. The Sonos Roam SL is still a mighty, portable speaker worth the cost.

The only downfall is the loss of the TruePlay function that Sonos does so well. I currently have my Sonos home theater system setup with the TruePlay function and its life changing.

However, for a small portable speaker, it may not make too much of a difference for your everyday life. This is a speaker worth investing into for your portable speaker needs.

Until next time!

-B

6 Comments

  • Bojana

    Sound has always been more important to me than image. Good headphones, good speakers and high quality audio recordings have always made me much happier than the better resolution of monitors or other screens. Sonos Roam SL could be called “retro” technology in a broader sense of the word, although it is a very powerful device.

    • Brooke

      Sound is most definitely something that is a must when it comes to purchasing a portable speaker. Especially one at the higher price point. 

      I appreciate the comment!

  • Michel Maling

    The only drawback with these bluetooth speakers is that you can only connect one at a time through your device. I have a few speakers, but none of them is powerful enough for the big hall that I teach in from time to time, so I must look at getting something that sounds great, is loud and also is small and easy to transport. Do you think that the Sonos Roam SL fits all these criteria?

    • Brooke

      Great question!

      Although I absolutely love the Sonos products, I think the Sonos Roam is a tad smaller than you may like. I would encourage a JBL Charge, or Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3. Both are smaller in size, but big enough to push music out onto a crowd. 

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Carol Barnes

    I think my husband should read up on these portable Sonos speakers. He loves music and has it playing all the time, not matter where he is in the house. I think he would be interested in the fact that these speakers have wifi and bluetooth. Very interesting article. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Brooke

      There is a plathora of speakers for your husband to choose from on my market today. I own several different Sonos speakers and can easily rank it my top speaker. 

      The Roam is their first, most portable speaker and its amazing being able to take the luxury sound of a Sonos virtually anywhere with you. 

      I also have their Move (2), playbar and sub for a home theatre system and they wouldn’t be very portable. The roam was a good addition to the speaker family. A+ in my book!

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