Sonos launched the new Move 2 portable smart speaker last fall, and I’ve been putting it through the paces of everyday listening for the past several months. Winning me over with a fresh olive green colorway, there’s far more to be excited like AirPlay 2, newfound stereo playback, and 24 hours of battery life.
Hands-on with the Sonos Move 2
I first started using the Sonos Move 2 back before the holidays when I wrote about it for my annual smart home gift guide. It initially wowed me enough to reccomend the $449 price tag back before Chirstmas, and that original sentiment has largely been the case in my longer term use. It isn’t going to be the ultimate speaker for every single use case, but fills a niche that has been getting overlooked as of late.
Smart speakers these days are almost entirely characterized by their onboard digital assistants. Whether it’s Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, being able to ask your speaker questions or have it control other gear in your smart home is arguably the most marketed use case.
But that’s not what I was looking for when I got the Sonos Move 2. I just want a really great portable speaker that offers more than what your typical Bluetooth offering would deliver. And for that, the Move 2 is everything I could have wanted.
Sonos was kind enough to send over its latest portable smart speaker the new Olive green color. Right out of the box, and that design was really all I could focus on. I fell in love even before I turned the speaker on just because of its novel colorway. It was about as notable of a first impression as the device could make, and sets itself apart from the classic white or black designs that pretty much every other smart speaker shares. Sonos does sell the Move 2 in those more traditional colors, but I am far more interested in just how adorable the green stylings are.
The actual form-factor is right in line with the rest of the Sonos lineup, which is to say as sleek as ever. It has its own charm, but is largely just an elliptic cylinder speaker that you can carry around in one hand thanks to the handle molded right into the casing. There are some touch controls on the top, as well as a physical array of switches around back. That’s not all too different from the original model, though.
New this time around for the second-generation version of Sonos Move is stereo audio, and oh does it make a difference. The speaker can easily fill my Brooklyn apartment without even climbing to half volume, with booming bass that doesn’t overpower the rest of the soundstage. The stereo playback is incredibly helpful in taking full advantage of its compact design, making the speaker sound far bigger than something you can carry around in one hand – let alone something that’s battery powered.
The Move 2 also rocks many of the signature features that anyone familiar with the Sonos ecosystem would expect. There’s TruePlay tuning for adapting audio to your surroundings, as well as both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity – the latter of which enables AirPlay 2.
Going into my experience with the Move 2 for the first time, I had a feeling that the charging element of the latest Sonos release was going to play a huge factor in my love for it. A portable speaker that I would have to constantly be plugging in was going to quickly kill my excitement, and luckily Sonos employs a very novel design. Sonos includes a wireless charging base that while incredibly simple, does the trick so well.
All you have to do is drop the speaker into the oval ring on your countertop or shelf and the speaker will begin charging. Lining it up is incredibly trivial, and it means that pretty much no thought goes into actually refueling the speaker. There is a USB-C port on the back for good measure, but it’s not something that I ever really need to use at home – though it does complement the IP56 water-resistance rating as a nice feature to have for using outdoors and away from the main dock.
Sonos Move 2 isn’t perfect, however. Almost every time I use it, I end up pausing my music for an hour or two before going back to play some more. But when it’s not resting on the charging dock, which it often isn’t, you can’t AirPlay directly to it. You have to instead go and wake it up with the button on the back or the touch controls on top, or through the companion app. It’s hardly a difficult process but it does leave a little to be desired. It’s just inconvenient enough that I feel the need to mention it, as this is the one pain point I have with its smart features.
I get that it’s something that Sonos likely is doing on purpose, too. It’s a way to cut back on unnecessary battery drain from its 24 hours of playback, but I do wish there was more I could change in the companion app. Sonos goes as far to enable a battery saver mode in the app, but I wish there was more than just a simple on or off. Still, it’s hardly a dealbreaker and is really only an issue because of the way I am used to using an always-on and hardwired smart speaker.
After using the Sonos Move 2 as my daily speaker for the past few months, I’m sold on it being an essential buy for any existing Sonos user. I’d even go as far to say that it’s a phenomenal way to dive into the ecosystem for the first time, offering a design that works just as well on its own as it does with the rest of your whole-home audio system.
If you’re looking for a speaker to use out on the patio this spring and summer, or just a portable offering to bring around the house, this is it. The Sonos Move 2 doesn’t completely replace the compact and ultra-rugged Bluetooth speakers out there, but it does go far enough to be a versatile option for listening anywhere in or outside of your home. The sound is great, the connectivity and smart features are as robust as you’ll find, and the design is just so cute.