Sonos’ Move 2 might just be 2023’s best portable speaker
Can a true smart speaker really go wherever you go? Sonos thinks so – meet the Move 2
Sonos Move 2 in Black
⊕ Excellent battery life and USB-C phone charging br>
⊕ Superb sound with Trueplay for self-adjustment br>
⊕ Voice control of playback and streaming services br>
⊖ Google Assistant support has been dropped br>
⊖ High price for a portable speaker br>
Sonos has found serious success with its Roam and Move portable speakers since branching out from its more traditional home cinema line-up. Now, the company has released the Move 2, a significant upgrade to the original but with a higher price.
Typically, speakers tend to fall either into the category of portable but lower tech, or shelf-mounted but more advanced. The Move 2 manages to be portable yet very advanced – could it be the ultimate go-anywhere speaker?
Sonos 2 battery, connectivity and durability
The unit is extremely solid, weighing 3kg and fitted with internal shock-mounting to make it resistant to drops – though, obviously, that’s something you’d try to avoid. It’s also IP56 water and dust resistant so splashes and rain aren’t going to cause it any problems.
It ships with a power adapter with USB-C and also a dock into which it can be placed to charge, with a full three-hour charge giving you up to 24 hours of playback, which is a significant improvement over the original Move’s 11 hours. The internal battery can also charge smaller devices like smartphones over USB-C which is a nice bonus, and is replaceable should you ever need it.
You’ll need to download the excellent Sonos app for iOS or Android and initiate setup from your phone or tablet, registering the unit and performing any available updates. This gets it onto your wi-fi network and makes it available as an Airplay 2 device. It can be paired with other Sonos units for multi-room playback or with another Move 2 for true stereo, though sadly it’s incompatible with a Move 1.
The app gives you access to multiple streaming services including Sonos Radio, which is controlled from inside the Sonos app, and you’re also able to set up other services including Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Bandcamp and a host of others. The app can also connect to shared media folders on your local network, which is a welcome addition for anyone who has a bunch of music stored locally, perhaps in uncompressed formats.
Sonos Move 2’s microphones
The speaker has multiple microphones that serve several purposes, the first being voice recognition using the “hey Sonos” command, which works effectively even when music is playing. You can use this to play and control music on one or more units. There’s support for the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, though no longer for Google Assistant, which is a shame for those using Google Home. The mics can be disabled using a hardware switch on the rear if you are concerned about privacy, though this does also turn off voice control and related functions.
The second thing the mics can do, if you switch it on, is power the unit’s TruePlay technology that monitors reflections from nearby surfaces and tweaks playback accordingly, which is helpful since it’s designed to be used in all kinds of environments. In use, this seems to attenuate bass slightly when placed near a wall and, for example. There’s a simple bass and treble EQ in the software too, as well as a Loudness button. In our tests, we find leaving these flat works well, though the Loudness control does nicely boost the low end when engaged, without ever seeming too boomy.
There are a couple of other hardware changes from the first model, starting with touch-enabled controls on the top that let you affect volume and playback without having to go to the app or another device. The second is a line input on the rear, which requires you to add a £19 Sonos adapter to convert 3.5mm to USB-C to connect other audio devices with a compatible cable. While it might be nice to throw this in with your purchase, it’s probably niche enough that many users wouldn’t need it, and £19 isn’t a huge stretch but does put the unit over the £450 mark.
The third change is that while the original Move allowed you to use Bluetooth or wi-fi, the Move 2 lets you use both at once, sharing streamed Bluetooth audio from a smartphone, for example, to other Sonos units over wi-fi. Again, perhaps a little niche but nice to have.
What codecs does the Sonos Move 2 support?
Only SBC and AAC codecs are supported which is a bit of a shame for owners of devices capable of higher-quality aptX or LDAC streaming (so this excludes Apple users). If you are using the speaker away from a broadband network it’s unfortunately not able to create an ad hoc wi-fi hotspot, so any cellular streaming from your phone will be over Bluetooth and by definition, data-compressed. This is a shame in such an explicitly portable speaker, and perhaps something that Sonos could enable in future software updates.
Where the Move had a single woofer and tweeter the Move 2 has a woofer and two angled tweeters, giving a sort-of-stereo field. It’s not really stereo as that would require a second larger driver, but it does make an appreciable difference to widening the sound field especially at closer quarters. There’s no Dolby Atmos – for that, you’d want to look at the Sonos Era 300.
How does the Sonos Move 2 sound?
The Move 2 sounds excellent. Its three amplifiers provide tons of headroom and plenty of volume, with digital signal processing kicking in to prevent distortion at high playback levels. The soundstage is rich but balanced, and the low end is remarkably powerful and accurate, especially given the lack of any porting.
Chase and Status’ 2 Ruff crackles with energy and deep bass, while a selection of very different music from jazz to rock is also beautifully rendered. While there’s EQ available, we find it unnecessary to use it indoors, adding just a notch or two of bass and treble while outdoors for more punch.
If you already own a Move 1 – still on sale for £399 – the doubled battery life, dual tweeters and smartphone charging of the 2 could be a reason to upgrade. For potential new owners, the Move 2 is an incredible portable smart speaker with an immense sound, a powerful and comprehensive app, weather resistance and effective voice control. That price is going to be a sticking point for some – you have to really value the portability here when the mains-powered Era 300 with Atmos is available online for £50 less – but for impressive sound and performance inside the house and out, the Move 2 is a superb performer.
Sonos Move 2 key features
- 3 class-D digital amplifiers, woofer and dual tweeters
- 24-hour battery with USB-C charging and dock
- Touch controls and Sonos app
- Sonos Radio and many streaming stations
- IP56 waterproof, shock protection
- Trueplay environmental audio adjustment
- AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and multiroom
- Voice control, Amazon Alexa
- Adjustable EQ
- USB-C phone charging
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