Sonos Era 100 and Era 300 review: The next generation of great, reliable multi-room sound

Sonos has two new audio system happening sale Tuesday, March 28, they usually’re each important new fashions that occupy a few key spots within the total Sonos line-up: The Period 100 is actually the substitute for the Sonos One, arguably the ‘default’ starter speaker for anybody trying to construct out a Sonos system. The Period 300, its bigger sibling, is the primary Sonos speaker to help spatial audio, and occupies a spot someplace between the now-defunct Play:3 and the Sonos 5. We took each for a check drive, and located loads of causes to get enthusiastic about Sonos’ Period period.

The fundamentals

The Sonos Period 100 mainly drops in as a substitute for the Sonos One within the current product lineup, and it’s acquired a design to match. In contrast to the Sonos One, the Period 100 is a real rounded cylinder (as a substitute of a 3D rounded rectangle just like the One) and is barely taller than the One, however with a extra svelte look total because of being extra slender side-to-side.

Picture Credit: Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch

The Period 100 connects by way of wifi to your Sonos system, and contains Apple AirPlay 2 like its predecessor. It additionally has a mic and helps Sonos’ personal voice management in addition to Amazon Alexa (not like on older gadgets, Google Assistant is not an possibility). It has a bodily swap for disabling the mic, on high of the contact management mute from prior fashions, and the redesigned high contact floor a devoted quantity slider, play/pause and skip controls.

New to the Period 100, and the Period 300, are two extra connection choices: Bluetooth, and bodily line-in. These are each welcome, but it surely’s essential to notice the USB-C port used for line-in on each requires the addition of the Sonos Line-In Adapter for connecting to three.5 mm sources. I believed that because it was USB-C, it might be simple to simply join a supply like a MacBook Professional straight and have it acknowledged as an exterior audio system, however that doesn’t work – nor does utilizing current USB-C-to-3.5 mm audio adapters that I had available.

The Period 100 additionally positive factors two separate tweeters for the primary time in a speaker this dimension from Sonos, in addition to a bigger subwoofer. The consequence ought to be extra readability and pure sound vs the Sonos One. Extra on how that delivers later one.

Sonos Era 300 smart speaker

Picture Credit: Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch

The Sonos Period 300 is a way more net-new speaker for the corporate, although it roughly occupies the place within the lineup left behind by the discontinuation of the Play:3, which was not instantly changed with one other mannequin at or close to its value level. The Period 300 is kind of completely different, nevertheless, each by way of its design – which seems to be like an hourglass laid on its facet – and by way of its characteristic set, because it contains help for spatial audio for the primary time.

Sonos designed the internals of the Period 300, which packs 4 tweeters going through in all instructions however down, in addition to a pair of woofers, to have the ability to fill a room with sound from a single level. It may reproduce each stereo and spatial mixes, and doesn’t artificially manipulate stereo to sound spatialized, fortunately. Sonos additionally offered the Period 300 with the power to behave as rears for a Sonos encompass setup, which suggests when you’ve got a mainly limitless price range you may get two plus an arc, and a Sonos Sub to create a digital 7.1.4 sound system.

After all, each the Period 100 and Period 300 can be a part of an current Sonos setup and achieve entry to all of the synced multi-room playback options that Sonos is know for. Each additionally characteristic auto-TruePlay tuning that makes use of the built-in mic to regulate sound to greatest suit your room. Additionally, when you’ve got the enter adapters, you’ll be able to play again audio out of your line-in supply throughout your numerous Sonos audio system.


Each these Sonos audio system obtain new highs for the model by way of design, in my view. The Period 100 is a straight throughout the plate, elementary bookshelf speaker with only a trace of edge because of the rectangular form. It appears extra innocuous in situ throughout a variety of home settings, together with within the kitchen or arrange as rears, because of some refined tweaks, like the truth that the speaker grill goes virtually all the way in which to the highest of the speaker, not like on the Sonos One which had a band of strong floor nearer the higher edge.

Sonos Era 100 smart speaker

Picture Credit: Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch

The brand new quantity rocker indentation is a welcome change and provides some tactile profit to distinguishing it from the ahead/again buttons, and the refined vertical emblem on the entrance grill is a pleasant little bit of branding that doesn’t mar an in any other case very covert look.

For the Period 300, Sonos clearly went a bit extra adventurous, arising with this form that tapers to the center after which re-expands out in the direction of the again. That is possible at the least partially purposeful in addition to aesthetic, to offer the Period 300 with its spatial audio and top channel encompass capabilities. It makes for a way more putting design vs. the Period 100, but it surely’s one which I believe works fairly effectively in a variety of settings. It’s positively a bit extra attention-grabbing, however because it finally ends up trying like a contemporary architectural mini sculpture, that’s under no circumstances a nasty factor. In truth, I might say the Period 300 is possibly the best-looking speaker Sonos has ever made.

Options & Efficiency

Let’s get the fundamentals out of the way in which first: Sonos’ new audio system are simply as dependable by way of the core Sonos magic as any which have come earlier than. They supply rock-solid multi-room synced audio playback, and can combine immediately together with your current setup ought to you have got one.

Okay, with that out of the way in which, let’s speak about what these audio system uniquely present that Sonos’ current lineup hasn’t supplied.

Sonos Era 100 smart speaker

Picture Credit: Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch

The Period 100 has inside {hardware} modifications that the corporate claims gives higher sound vs. the Sonos One. Primarily based on testing, that does certainly appear to be the case – with a pair caveats. The primary is that I might say for those who’re trying to make use of an Period 100 by itself, you positively get lots higher audio high quality vs. a Sonos One performing solo. The added tweeter and greater woofer do ship extra correct sound with much less muddied mixes, particularly at decrease volumes.

In the event you’re debating whether or not or to not improve an current Sonos One pair to Period 100s, I believe issues get much more murky. The very fact is that in most settings, for many setups, you possible gained’t get sufficient of a distinction in total skilled audio high quality to justify the value of upgrading. However for those who’re coming to it new, or upgrading from a a lot older pair of Play:1s, it’s positively a great-sounding speaker – alone or collectively.

As for the Period 300, it’s far simpler to suggest this extra broadly, partially as a result of there’s nothing actually equal in Sonos’ current historical past to check it towards. It genuinely gives terrific, room-filling sound with stunning readability and class given its footprint and dimension. The Period 300 is a good sole speaker for any room the place you wish to on audio (vs. having a soundbar or house theatre system for a TV) and I discovered it was even akin to the dearer and wonderful Sonos 5 that the corporate nonetheless sells by way of total high quality.

Sonos Era 300 smart speaker

Picture Credit: Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch

After all, the Sonos Period 300’s massive fancy new characteristic is help for spatial audio, which it gives for those who use Amazon Music Limitless as a supply, or Apple Music by way of a forthcoming replace, for tracks mastered with Dolby Atmos Audio. I examined this with suitable tracks from Amazon Music Limitless, and located that it does certainly make a distinction and sounds nice – I simply couldn’t actually say for sure that it sounds higher than the identical track rendered in stereo solely. To be honest, that’s typically been the case for me and spatial audio – with Apple’s AirPod lineup and Apple Music I can positively inform the distinction, however can’t often say definitively that I want one vs. the opposite. I wouldn’t make spatial audio help the deciding think about a purchase order, however your mileage might differ there relying on the way you personally really feel in regards to the expertise.

Backside line

Sonos has hardly ever had an actual miss with its product lineup, and each the Period 100 and the Period 300 stand as clear hits. The Period 100 is a brilliant and refined evolution of the corporate’s ‘default’ starter providing, and the Period 300 is a novel and outperforming product in a sea of choices that features Apple’s just-updated HomePod. Whereas every sounds nice in its personal proper, the differentiator for Sonos will all the time be the flexibleness of its multi-room audio expertise, and that continues to be an enormous spotlight of each of those merchandise that you may’t actually get wherever else. I want that Sonos had both simply made the aux inputs on the again 3.5mm (the argument towards being that with USB-C, additionally they help Ethernet adapters for wired community connections), or that they’d included their proprietary adapters within the field, however the truth that they’ve these choices, in addition to Bluetooth, is a significant nice-to-have improve that has been missing in most of Sonos’ lineup for years.

You gained’t be upset with both of those audio system, and as all the time with Sonos merchandise, for those who’ve acquired the cash they carry out much more spectacularly in stereo pairs. The Period 300 specifically is an excellent robust providing with few actual rivals on the market.

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