Hands-On With the New AirPlay-Compatible Sonos Era Speakers

Sonos in March introduced new Era 100 and Era 300 speakers, and as Sonos devices compete with the HomePod and HomePod mini, we thought we'd pick up the Era speakers to see how they compare to both Apple's product offerings and past Sonos speakers.

The Sonos Era 100 features a cylindrical design that's not too far off from the ‌HomePod‌, and the pricing is about the same too at $249. Designed to be a compact speaker, the Era 100 works with more than 100 streaming services for music, radio, and audiobooks, including Apple Music.

TruePlay measures the acoustics of the room to tailor the sound, and there are advanced tuning options for more personalization. The Era 100 sounds similar to the Sonos One, and while it's slightly better in quality, it won't be worth picking up the Era 100 over the Sonos One if you already have that speaker. Between the Era 100 and the ‌HomePod‌, the ‌HomePod‌ has the better sound.

The Sonos Era 300 is a higher-end speaker and pricier than any of Apple's HomePods at $449. It is designed to provide 360 degree sound with six drivers, and like Apple's devices, it supports spatial audio and Dolby Atmos. It offers all of the same optimization and customization options as the Era 100. While the Era 100 has a standard speaker design, the Era 300 is a little more experimental, similar to the Play:5.

As for sound, the Era 300 beats prior Sonos speakers and Apple's HomePods. It's bigger than the ‌HomePod‌, and all the audio equipment inside provides impressive sound. Spatial audio combined with this audio quality sounds incredible, and in comparison to the ‌HomePod‌, it provides a deeper, fuller sound with more bass.

In addition to using the Sonos support for music apps, the Era 100 and Era 300 support playback over AirPlay 2 from Apple devices or from any Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet. Prior Sonos speakers were WiFi only, so the option to use Bluetooth makes the speaker easier for guests to use.

Amazon Alexa and Sonos voice assistants are available if you want to control the Sonos speakers with voice commands, and a physical switch at the back turns the microphone off if you want to be sure the speaker isn't listening to what's going on in the room. There is an included USB-C port that can be used with adapters to connect legacy audio devices or a router using an adapter, and on the top of the speakers, there are buttons for physical control, including play/pause and skipping songs.

The full-size ‌HomePod‌ is better than the Era 100 in our opinion, but the Era 300 blows them both away. It is the most expensive speaker at $449, but if you're looking for the best surround sound experience that offers features like spatial audio, Dolby Atmos, and ‌AirPlay‌ 2, it's worth checking out.

Tag: Sonos

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Top Rated Comments

Mrkevinfinnerty Avatar
17 months ago
Apple must be kicking themselves that they didn't think of the USB C dongles.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BarrettF77 Avatar
17 months ago
The Era just to correct him, does NOT have two subwoofers in it. It has two woofers in it and 4 tweeters. The woofers do the mids adequately but the Sonos 5 for comparison does it much better than the Era 300. There is also likely going to be a ERA 500 down the road.

If Atmos and surround is the focus, then the Era is great. Particularly if you have a Sonos beam 2 or Arc sound bar. For audio specific, the era 300 isn't it. It's mostly focused on highs and Atmos, hence all the tweeters.

Macrumors, please get an audio file to do reviews as some of this information isn't completely accurate. But nice to see a side by side comparison.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
star-affinity Avatar
17 months ago

Macrumors, please get an audio file to do reviews as some of this information isn't completely accurate. But nice to see a side by side comparison.
Would M4A be sophisticated enough for the review or is an AIFF or WAV file required?

Sorry, couldn't resist. ?
I know you mean audiophile. :)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CopyCatz Avatar
17 months ago
"The Sonos Era 100 features a cylindrical design that's not too far off from the ‌HomePod‌". In that logic, a trashcan is also not too far off from a homepod.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nikhsub1 Avatar
17 months ago
Not sure how you could compare the sonos ecosystem to the homepod? They are entirely different. Yeah they are speakers, but the home pods are too restrictive etc.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Brassoo Avatar
17 months ago
Come onnn.. This is such a pointless review that I dusted off my account to complain about it.

Kick the intern
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)