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AirPlay 2 Speakers Compared: Sonos Move vs. Bose Portable Home Speaker

Bose and Sonos, both well-known speaker manufacturers, recently came out with new AirPlay 2-enabled speakers that are designed to work with Apple's latest ‌AirPlay‌ protocol and offer an alternative to products like the HomePod.

In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with the Bose Portable Home Speaker and the Sonos Move to see what the speakers have to offer and how they compare to one another.


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Both the Bose Portable and the Sonos Move are designed to offer a premium audio experience and are more expensive than the ‌HomePod‌. The Sonos Move costs $399 and the Bose Portable costs $349, but each company is known for its audio quality and audiophiles won't flinch at that price point.

When it comes to design, the Bose Portable and Sonos Move are both fairly standard looking vertical speakers with simple designs, but the Sonos Move is quite a bit larger than the Bose Portable, which also comes with a little handle, hence the "portable" part of the name. The Sonos Move has a built-in handle that's a bit more subtle for when you need to move it around.

Size wise, the Sonos Move is in between a Sonos One and Sonos Play:3 speaker. It's all black with Sonos branding on the front and media playback controls at the top. There's a power button, a button for linking multiple Sonos speakers, and a button to switch between Bluetooth and WiFi.

The smaller Bose Portable is cylindrical in shape like other 360-degree speakers, but with a high-quality construction. Media controls are located at the top, and it too is able to swap between Bluetooth and WiFi. The Sonos Move and Bose Portable both have durable builds and they're water resistant.

Both speakers charge over USB-C, and the Sonos Move includes a useful charging cradle that makes it easier to charge right out of the box. There's a comparable charging cradle for the Bose Portable, but it's sold separately and costs an extra $30.

The Sonos Move and the Bose Portable are ‌AirPlay‌ 2 compatible, so you can control the audio with your Apple devices and create a whole home audio system with other ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled devices with just a tap or two. Sonos, of course, has been doing whole home audio for years, but the benefit of ‌AirPlay‌ 2 is that it allows all ‌AirPlay‌ 2 devices from different brands to work together.

The Sonos Move is Sonos' first Bluetooth speaker that can be used on the go - no WiFi connection required. The same is true of the Bose Portable. Through the Sonos and Bose apps, Alexa and Google Assistant are available for controlling audio and syncing with music services, but there's no Siri integration, of course.

Both of the speakers offer crisp, clear audio that sounds fantastic. Each one can deliver high-quality sound even at louder volumes, with no distortion. Bose had a slight edge over the Sonos Move in our testing because we were able to adjust audio settings in the Bose app and the Sonos Move seemed to be lacking a bit in the low end. All in all, though, both speakers sounded great, which should be expected given their high prices.

The Sonos Move is going to appeal to those who prefer Sonos devices and already have a Sonos setup, while the Bose Portable may be the better choice for those looking to save $50. Do you prefer the Sonos Move or the Bose Portable? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

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2 weeks ago
“...each company is known for its audio quality and audiophiles won't flinch at that price point.” Really? I don’t think so. Audiophiles will not even open their eyes to these products because each company is NOT known for audio quality. In the case of Bose, it is ”better sound through marketing.” In the case of Sonos, also great at marketing, they have become synonomous with multi-room streaming audio because they were the first to provide a solution with an easy to use app that is a doorway to every single known streaming service known to humanity. They are good at what they do but there are way better sounding solutions out there for audiophiles.
Rating: 11 Votes
2 weeks ago
The only thing audiophiles will flinch at is the name "Bose"
Rating: 10 Votes
2 weeks ago
Many Bose speakers sound amazing.

I agree a bunch of wannabes here.
Rating: 7 Votes
2 weeks ago
Office trashcan versus a lantern.
Rating: 6 Votes
2 weeks ago
I was wondering how many posts it would take for the hackneyed response to Bose would be. I guess its 12 posts. BTW, audiophiles don't say that about Bose, fake wannabe audiophiles say that, since it was a knock on the original Bose speaker the 901s. That had no high and no lows. But current models have plenty of bass. Its actually what the masses think makes a quality speaker so its what Bose has plenty of.
Rating: 6 Votes
2 weeks ago
I'll stick with iPod Hifi (yep, still going strong) + Airport Express (= Airplay 2) ?
Rating: 5 Votes
2 weeks ago
The Sonos Move has “Bass” and “Treble” options too

In the Sonos App.....

Settings>System>{Move Name}>

under “Sound” there is “EQ”... here you can change the Bass and Treble with sliders.

the great thing with the move is the “Auto Trueplay” enable that and set your EQ to taste and it tunes the speaker when it moves.

I have not tried this particular Bose, but the Move has great Bass for its size... I would be surprised if the smaller form factor Bose puts out more Bass.
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Edit:-

also the “Audio Compression” option will do nothing here as it is for sonos devices that support “Line In”.... Move does not.

Rating: 4 Votes
2 weeks ago

Audiophiles will not even open their eyes...

I'm old enough to remember when "audiophiles" claimed, in all sincerity, that marking around the edge of a CD with a green highlighter improved its sound quality.
Rating: 4 Votes
2 weeks ago
The last thing I want is an Alexa or Google Assistant enabled listening device.

Audiophiles have a saying: No highs, no lows, must be Bose. In truth, the dislike is more nuanced than that.
Rating: 4 Votes
2 weeks ago
C'mon, there are so many pieces to the audio delivery channel here no one should be calling this Audiophile quality: lossy MP3s, played on not-so-great DACs, streamed by Bluetooth with more compression and then massaged by in-speaker processing to boost bass and limit distortion. That's a lot of sonic fiddling. Then you place them in odd positions where room acoustics, background noise and furniture influence the sounds you hear.

That said, they could sound good. Compared to low end BT speakers, they probably sound great.

As casual listening devices, they probably hit the consumer target.

Let's face it, there are many more consumers wanting decent sound in a convenient package.

Audiophiles are the same people who "can hear the difference" between $1 a metre speaker cable and $200 a metre stuff (except you blind test them and when they can't see Monster on the cable they seem to struggle <g>).

I do notice some improvement when playing HD mastered files. It's subtle but there. "more open" and "less tiring" would be how I feel when listening to these recordings.

We definitely are spoilt these days. Things I listened to in 70s on a old AM radio or monster sized living room stereogram now have great stereo separation, instrument placement and bass tones I never remembered hearing back then. My Beats powered VW Polo is like a personal cocooned disco and probably when stationary the closest I get to a controlled sonic environment.

Audio processing has allowed end low end products to compensate for their sonic limits and hit above their size or price tags. Bit like phone cameras have effectively reduced the need to buy a camera - for most people.
Rating: 3 Votes

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