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.
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.