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Sonos Era line hands-on first impressions are here

First impressions are important, and the Era line isn't disappointing

A few weeks after the extensive leaks of the Sonos Era lineup shook up the AV press circuit, official press has started to pour out on the two new devices, including demos and the first hands-on impressions on the smart spatial audio speakers. The consensus so far is that the Era 300 does deliver its promise of  single-speaker spatial audio delivery (or a nice rear speaker for a surround sound setup), and that both speakers do offer a host of upgrades and features over previous models, such as touch-based controls. This positions the Era 100 as a baseline speaker with more fleshed-out functionality that consumers will be happy with. A sticking point, however, are the hefty price tags, with the Era 300 available for preorder at $449 and the Era 100 at $249. Still, the upgrades and spatial audio capabilities make these appealing choices for businesses looking for discreet audio solutions. Here’s some of what people are saying:


The Verge (Chris Welch)

“With the usual disclaimer that we heard the Era 300 in a controlled demo environment, it sounded pretty great. Giles Martin, Sonos’ sound experience leader, played both stereo and spatial audio tracks during a recent press briefing. The spatial tracks noticeably had an extra tick of immersion to them, but I’ll need more firsthand listening to really assess what the 300 is capable of. Plus, a lot of spatial audio mixes are still mediocre. Sonos says it’s giving Era 300s to studios and producers so they’ll hear mixes the same way owners of the speakers will at home.”

“So there are clear audio enhancements, but perhaps equally exciting is just how much more the Era 100 can do. Sonos is including Bluetooth audio playback — you enter pairing mode by pressing a button on the back of the speaker — and USB-C line-in support. The latter will require a $19.99 adapter that’s also available for preorder today. If you want to plug either speaker into ethernet, you’ll need the $39.99 combo adapter.” (MORE@THE VERGE)


Engadget (Nathan Ingraham)

“The Era 100 doesn’t sound totally different from the One, but the larger woofer definitely gives it more bass presence. The two tweeters don’t give it true stereo separation, since they’re so close to each other, but they definitely provide more clarity in the high ranges than you hear in the One. The Era 300, however, sounds quite a bit different. Sonos first showed us its chops playing back standard audio, and it has significantly more volume, bass and presence than the Era 100. Not a shock, considering it costs $200 more and has twice as many drivers. We then got to hear how the single speaker did at playing back spatial audio tracks. They didn’t sound radically different, but did less like they were coming from a single point in a room; instead, the audio was more balanced and enveloping.” (MORE@ENGADGET)

CNN Underscored (Michael Gowan)

“In a demonstration at Sonos headquarters, the Era 300 sounded impressive with songs mixed for spatial audio as well as on regular stereo tracks. And as part of an Atmos home theater system, it rivaled a setup with an audio/video receiver and wired separate speakers…The new speakers from Sonos show a lot of promise. The Era 300 seeks to bring spatial audio to more people, without needing a bunch of speakers. It directly answers the challenge that Apple’s new HomePod — which also supports spatial audio — poses. The Era 100 updates an old favorite and should improve on its sound, thanks to its ability to produce stereo sound.” (MORE@CNN)


What Hi-Fi? (Kashfia Kabir)

“Sonos has put a lot of thought into the sustainability and longevity of its new products. The Era speakers can be more easily repaired and fully serviced by Sonos thanks to more screws than glue used in the construction; they are made with ‘a high percentage of’ post-consumer recycled plastic (more than 40 per cent, claims Sonos); and they use less power (under 2 watts) when in idle mode.”  (MORE@WHAT HI-FI?)


The following was originally published on February 22, 2023:


Photo: Sonos/The Verge

News continues to pour in regarding the upcoming Sonos Era 300 and 100 speakers. The Verge has shared what it claims are marketing images of the upcoming flagship speakers, along with details regarding pricing.

The publication reports that the Era 300 will retail at roughly $450, with the Era 100 coming in around $250. In addition to the photos and pricing, The Verge reports that both Era models will release simultaneously in late March of this year.

With a focus on spatial audio, both models feature unique new designs, with the 300 being considerably larger than 100 model. This design serves a purpose, as the Era 300 will reportedly be able to function as rear surround speakers for Dolby Atmos soundbars. Sonos seems to be positioning the Era 100 as an upgrade to the similar Sonos One featuring stereo sound. Also confirmed are the earlier reports of USB-C line-in and Bluetooth playback. This means external source audio are compatible with both new models.

Sonos Era 100 Photo: Sonos/The Verge

The following was originally published February 8, 2023:

Previously known only under the codename Optimo, The Verge has reported that the next generation of Sonos‘ smart speakers will be called the Era 300 and the Era 100. The two speakers will reportedly make up a new product line, and as such, will sport a different design than any previous Sonos products. The publication points to two documents published by TV mount manufacturer Sanus as mentioning the Era 300 and 100 by name.

See also: LG’s 2023 OLED TVs to support DTS audio codecs

The flagship product of the line up, presumably the Era 300, is designed to take advantage of spatial audio and supports Dolby Atmos. The Verge goes on to report that the new line will support sound optimization and automatic tuning, and that the 300 model would feature USB-C line-in, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and possibly Bluetooth playback support.

Last Novemeber, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence alluded to the upcoming product family, saying that the audio company would “reset the bar in our existing product categories, further differentiating Sonos as the choice for premium home audio.”

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