Almost exactly four years after the launch of the original Move, Sonos has pulled back the curtain on an upgraded version of the portable speaker. With a new design inside and out, the new version features substantially better battery life and a stereo soundstage.
The Move One has been one of my favourite speakers ever. It features great sound, and the fact that it’s portable makes it perfect for use around my home. Not counting my soundbar, which gets used daily attached to my TV, I use the move more than all my other Sonos speakers combined — at least, until it broke randomly one day, but we’ll get more into that later.
The new groove
To separate the new Move from its older sibling, Sonos has packed in a new speaker array that includes dual tweeters to add stereo sound support. Like the original Move, it still features a large woofer to maintain solid bass reproduction. I have yet to go hands-on with a unit, but I suspect it will live up to the high bar set by the original Move.
To take things to the next level, the company has also doubled the battery life so the Move 2 can last for 24 hours off the charger. Thankfully, the speaker still comes with a convenient charging dock, which has also been improved this year. Sonos says it’s more compact and features a detachable power adapter to make moving it around easier. When you take the speaker on the go, you can recharge it with a USB-C cable and PD (power delivery) compatible charging brick.
Since this is a portable Sonos, it’s been built to go outside with an IP56 rating, allowing it to withstand dust, dirt, and water splashes. However, don’t submerge it; it’s not a UE Wonderboom.
One missing feature on the Move 2 is the lack of Google Assistant support. Google and Sonos have an embattled history related to multi-room audio software, so it seems unlikely Google Assistant will return any time soon.
One of the most exciting additions to the Move is that it can play music over Bluetooth. This means you’re not always locked into the Sonos network, which gives the speaker more freedom compared to stationary Sonos products. To take that to the next level, you can even get a USB-C to AUX adapter and play music from a more traditional audio source through the Move 2 and the rest of your Sonos system. It also offers AirPlay 2, allowing you to group the speaker easily with Apple products.
The top still has touch controls, but unlike the Sonos Roam, there are no raised surfaces, making these controls difficult for people with vision impairments.
On the specs side, there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, but due to the nature of what you’re streaming to the device, these changes won’t offer much in the way of noticeable improvements.
The overall design of the Move 2 echoes the same aesthetic as the first Move, which is a good thing. The handle on the back is sturdy, and the simple design helps it blend into your home nicely. This time around, there’s a new ‘Olive’ colour to compliment the white and black versions.
A turning point for Sonos?
As I mentioned above, my four-year-old Sonos Move randomly died a few weeks ago. This was a little bit shocking because Sonos made a point to stress how long this speaker should last when I first reviewed it. Now again, with the Move Two, Sonos’ website claims it’s “a portable speaker with staying power.”
This quote would be less of an issue, but the speaker only comes with a one-year warranty, which doesn’t really sound like a product with “staying power.” When my old Move broke (solid red light), I talked to an online chat agent who offered me 30 percent off a new Sonos product with no options for repair. After that, I tried to call support to see if they could help me fix my problem. Again, I was offered 30 percent off a new Sonos product.
Feeling defeated, I took a break for a few days until I decided to give it one more try. This time, the support agent talked me through a few common repair steps again. When that didn’t work, they offered me 30 percent off again, but unlike the other times, this agent asked me if I was satisfied with this. I said no, because that felt like a terrible deal, and after a brief hold, they got approval to send the replacement as long as I sent in the broken unit.
I took this option, but it felt like a cop-out. The speaker lived on my desk 90 percent of its life and was never dropped or handled roughly. My only guess was something glitched when I interrupted a multi-room group by unplugging a Sonos One the Move was paired with mid-song. I didn’t notice anything at the time since I was in the room with the Sonos One and not the Move, but that was the last time I used it before I noticed it was broken.
Beyond that, my Sonos Roam review unit also stopped working a little after a year of use. Looking online, the Roam seems to have a lot of wireless issues, and during my final call with Sonos to replace the Move, they told me that most of the support issues they deal with are related to the Move and Roam.
Ideally, this new Move will fix these issues, but only time will tell if Sonos has refined its software enough to resolve them. And, since the speaker costs $559, I’d expect a better warranty. Pre-orders are live now, and the full speaker comes out on September 20th.
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Image credit: Sonos