After months of detailed leaks, Sonos has finally announced its next generation of wireless speakers. Dubbed the Era 300 and Era 100, they replace the longstanding Sonos One and emphasize spatial audio or stereo sound, respectively.
Let’s start with a look at the Era 100, which directly replaces the Sonos One in the lineup with a slight $20 price hike to $249.
Sonos Era 100
The Era 100 has two tweeters, which work in combination with the speaker’s ability to analyze a room to produce a custom sound field and provide true stereo sound; the One wasn’t able to provide true stereo audio. The Era 100 still has just one woofer, but it’s 25 percent larger than the woofer in the One, offering improved bass performance.
Measuring 7.18×4.72×5.14 inches (182.5×120×130.5 mm) and 4.44 pounds (2.02 kg), the Era 100 is slightly taller than the Sonos One but otherwise somewhat similar in shape and size. Sonos says this new speaker also has a 47 percent faster processor than its predecessor.
Apart from the stereo and bass improvements, the Era 100’s big improvements are mostly about connectivity. You can now stream to the speaker with Bluetooth in addition to the usual Wi-Fi setup we know Sonos speakers for; Sonos had already introduced some portable Bluetooth speakers to jump on that popular bandwagon, but the Era 100 aims to fit comfortably both in the Bluetooth and home Wi-Fi worlds.
In addition to wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth and AirPlay 2, the Era 100 has a USB-C line-in port, allowing it to connect directly to turntables and other devices. This is a clear differentiator compared to Apple’s HomePod, which offers only wireless connections. Adapters will be needed (and sold) for Ethernet and other non-USB connections.
Voice assistant support remains, but it’s limited to Sonos Voice Control and Amazon Alexa. There’s also a new hardware switch to cut power to the microphone if you don’t want to use any voice assistant at all.
Sonos Era 300
The Era 300 costs quite a bit more money—$449—but it supports all the features we mentioned about the Era 100. Instead of two tweeters and one woofer, though, it has four tweeters (including one upward-firing tweeter) and two woofers.
The goal here is to enable true spatial audio—and that includes Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 when you use two Eras alongside a Sonos Arc in a home theater system.
With twice as many drivers, the Era 300 is likely to produce a much fuller and more immersive sound than the Era 100—to say nothing of the Sonos One. The Era 300 measures 6.30×10.24×7.28 inches (160×260×185 mm) and weighs 9.85 pounds (4.47 kg).
Trueplay comes to Android
There’s one other major development coming after the launch of these speakers: Sonos’ Trueplay feature will finally be available to Android users. Well, mostly, anyway.
If you’re unfamiliar with Trueplay, it’s a software feature available through the Sonos app that lets you tune your speakers specifically to the room the speakers are in. Using the app, iPhone or iPad users carry their mobile device around the room (including in whatever spot they designate as their usual listening position) while recording the audio output of the speakers to create a 3D map of the space. The speakers then adapt their output to optimize the audio for that space and the primary listening spot.
There’s no smoke and mirrors here: Trueplay is one of the most appealing features of Sonos speakers, and it makes a huge difference to the listening experience, especially in unusually shaped rooms or with sub-optimally positioned multi-speaker setups. But because of the lack of standardization of microphones on Android devices, it has never been available to non-iOS users.
Sonos says Trueplay is coming to Android, but it’s a different version of Trueplay, which the company calls “quick tuning.” It’s distinct from the “advanced tuning” approach that we just described, in that the speaker only listens to itself and adjusts accordingly; the user’s listening position isn’t considered, and the smartphone microphone isn’t used to tune the setup.
It’s likely better than no Trueplay tuning at all, but not as helpful as Advanced Tuning, which remains exclusive to Apple devices.
Availability and past device support
The Era 100 and Era 300 will be available in 26 countries starting March 28, with other regions to come later. The Sonos One will be discontinued but will still be sold until its stock is depleted. The high-end Sonos Five (which is even pricier than the Era 300) will remain in the lineup for now. Sonos says it has no plans to end continued software and services support for the Sonos One.