Sonos Move portable speaker is up for preorder

Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored
Thu September 5, 2019

Premium home audio company Sonos has announced its first portable Bluetooth speaker. The Move will release on Sept. 24 and is available for preorder, starting today (Sept. 5). At $399.99, it's not the cheapest speaker, but it will combine Sonos sound quality with a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality.

So what makes the Move different from the One? Well for starters, it's built to go with you, and the design shows it. Weighing in at 6 pounds, the Move feels substantial, but won't cramp your hand. Sonos was smart and added a handle on the back, making it easy to grab with one hand. It comes only in one color (shadow black).

It's rated IP56, which means it can operate in very cold and very hot temperatures. It's also said to be able to handle a small splash, as well as sand, so it's safe for the beach. The build is a mix between aluminum with a silicone base, and there's a rubber base designed to handle drops. The controls are at the top of the Move, so they're familiar to anyone who's used a Sonos speaker.

A Sonos speaker with a battery

The silicone base houses a lithium-ion battery (a first for a Sonos product, which typically plug in) rated to last for around 900 charges. There will be a replacement process for when it needs to be swapped out, but Sonos says it should last three years.

More importantly, the company says the battery should last about 10 hours on a full charge (you can bet we'll put that to the test once we get our hands on one). The device comes with a charging base you attach with proprietary connectors and is said to charge fully in about two hours. The Move will dock facing out and there's an LED indicator on the front to let you know it's charging.

Larger sound for new environments

Unlike other, more affordable Bluetooth speakers, the Move has sound engineered by Sonos. I'm a big fan and find that previous speakers offer a wide soundstage, as well as crispness across low, mid and high tones. In a brief test in NYC (both inside and outside), it sounded pretty good.

The Move will also include the Sonos Trueplay feature that's available on other speakers. This technology uses built-in microphones to auto-sense environments and adjust the output to deliver an optimal sound experience.

Those microphones also power voice assistants, your choice of either Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, when on Wi-Fi. When connected to your network, it functions the same as any Sonos device, creating a separate zone you can control with voice or the dedicated app for iOS and Android, which integrates with the major streaming services. On Bluetooth, you'll have to pair it with your iOS or Android device, like any other Bluetooth speaker.

Is it worth it?

At first blush, $399.99 is a lot for a Bluetooth speaker, and while the Move does more than most of its competitors, I'm eager to put it through its paces to see how it performs. After all, if it's truly a hybrid of the Sonos One and a Bluetooth speaker, it could be a killer gift this holiday season. Stay tuned for our full review.

Note: The price above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.