Sonos has launched a completely new speaker, the Era 300, which comes with improvements in sound and connectivity, and with the Dolby Atmos support. Not only does it meet expectations but it sets a very high new bar.
The new Era 300 arrives from Sonos with the intention of being “the speaker that offers the best spatial sound experience” by itself. A whole declaration of intent that demonstrates the enormous aspirations of Sonos with this speaker, orA model located between the Sonos Era 100, which we reviewed a few days ago, and the Sonos Play:5a speaker that is already several years old but that continues to shine for its quality and power, despite the fact that it lacks some features such as the voice assistant.
Analysis of the new Sonos Era 100: better in everything
- Dimensions 160mm (height) x 260mm (width) x 185mm (depth)
- Weight 4.47Kg
- black and white colors
- Touch controls, Bluetooth button and microphone on/off switch
- 6x class D amplifiers
- 4x tweeters (1x front, 2x side, 1x top)
- 2x side woofers
- adjustable equalization
- Automatic (iOs and Android) and manual (iOS only) Trueplay
- Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- USB-C connection for auxiliary cable (adapter purchased separately)
- Sonos Voice Control and Alexa
- AirPlay 2 (iOS 11.4 and later)
- Price €499
Sonos has placed the Era 300 in the high-end of smart speakers, being considerably more expensive than the 2nd generation HomePod (€349). It is a very risky bet because they share many of their characteristics, including the star functionality of both: Dolby Atmos. However there are points in favor of the Era 300 that places it above the HomePodas we will see in this article.
The design of the speaker is shaped like an “hourglass” as Sonos itself describes, it is very different from what we usually see in these devices, but it does not clash at all anywhere you want to place it, although given its size you should place it in a wide surface. The front grill is accompanied by another grill that runs along the top and side of the speaker, making clear the arrangement of the tweeters and woofers of this speaker to project sound in all directions and achieve real spatial sound, without the need for simulations. In this sense, only the Sonos Arc sound bar can be compared to it.
For the controls, Sonos maintains the changes that it already started with the Era 100, with separate touch controls for playback and volume, and physical buttons to activate/deactivate the microphones and Bluetooth, both on the back of the speaker. As we said with the Era 100, These new controls seem like a success to us, especially when we want to increase and decrease the volumea much more precise task now with that surface on which we slide our finger.
Two of the novelties of these new models is the possibility of connecting to them via Bluetooth or auxiliary input. I have a very particular vision of bluetooth in speakers of this range and prices, but I understand that there are users who may find this connectivity useful. Even so, if with the Era 100 it seemed a pity to use Bluetooth to listen to music, with the Era 300 it seems to me a real cardinal sin. But there’s the possibility, you don’t have to feed it and therefore I applaud Sonos’s decision. The addition of the auxiliary input via USB-C is another matter entirely because it allows you to connect other devices, such as a vinyl turntable, something that previously could only be done by adding another Sonos product to our network, which was an expensive outlay of important money. Of course, the necessary adapter is not included in the box, which does not seem normal to me for a speaker of this price.
As for the rest of the features, we are not missing any of the ones that Sonos usually offers. The possibility of sending sound through AirPlay 2 allows us to combine it with other compatible speakers, regardless of the brand they are, so we can combine a Sonos Era 300 with a HomePod, for example, to sound perfectly synchronized in our living room, or in different rooms. . We can also use Alexa as a virtual assistant to tell you to play music from Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon Music, all of them compatible with the Amazon assistant. And let’s not forget the ability to pair two Era 300s together for stereo listening or use as rear speakers for our home theater system, alongside a Sonos Arc or Sonos Beam 2, taking Dolby Atmos to its fullest if we chose this option.
Configuration and app
For the Sonos Era 300 setup, as with any Sonos speaker, you need to use the official app. The procedure is very simple, very intuitive and very well guided by the application, which is also translated into Spanish, so it will only take a few minutes to have your speaker ready to use. In this application you can activate the virtual assistant (Sonos Voice Control or Alexa), and You can add your Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. accounts. With this speaker, this is more important than ever, because if you want to enjoy the Dolby Atmos that it offers us, you will have to do it by listening to Amazon Music or Apple Music from its own application, not through AirPlay. It is very important to spend a few minutes configuring the TruePlay sound, either automatically (iOs and Android) or manually (iOS only) to get the speaker to adapt its sound to the room and the position in which it is located.
Stereo sound and Dolby Atmos
The distribution of the tweeters and woofers allows you to enjoy true stereo sound with a single speaker, and what is more important, true Dolby Atmos. Don’t be fooled by the size of the speaker or just having a single speaker, this Era 300 delivers room-filling sound, and you’ll feel it coming from different locations. Sonos takes advantage of walls to bounce sounds back to your ears, and the fact that there’s a top speaker that projects towards the ceiling makes for truly amazing spatial sound. With this Era 300 they have managed to convince me with Spatial Sound (or Dolby Atmos, whatever you want to call it) for the first time.
To enjoy a Dolby Atmos that really surprises you, you must listen to a track that is really recorded for this type of sound, and most importantly, you will always have to do it from the Sonos app because the speaker needs to connect directly to the compatible music serviceAt the moment only Apple Music and Amazon Music. Tidal has Dolby Atmos but it is not compatible, and with Spotify this type of sound is neither there nor expected at the moment. Through AirPlay it is not possible to enjoy Dolby Atmos, we do not know if it is a limitation that can be solved in the near future or it is something impossible to correct, so for now we will have to get used to using the Sonos app. And it’s really worth doing, because the difference is substantial.
If we compare the Dolby Atmos offered by an Era 300 and the one offered by a HomePod, it is radically different. Whereas on the Apple speaker it seems like a mere marketing gimmick, on the Sonos speaker it’s a whole new experience when it comes to listening to music. Without having to look in the Sonos app if the Dolby Atmos label is there, you will be able to differentiate which song has that quality and which does not. But not only does the Era 300 win in this section, but also in power and clarity. It is a superior speaker to the HomePod in all sound sections, something to be expected given the price difference. The bass is very strong, the reproduction of the voices has a very high level of detail and the differentiation of the instruments is very clear. The sound seems even better than the Sonos Play: 5a speaker that I have been using for years and to which I am very accustomed, and it only beats the Era 300 in bass power, volume and perhaps a better defined stereo, all of which is quite logical due to the difference in size.
Sonos has made a master move with the new Era 300. On the one hand, it has added functions that many users have been asking for for a long time, such as Bluetooth or the auxiliary input, while it has managed to maintain all the good things it already had. But above all, it has managed to convince that Dolby Atmos makes sense in music and that it may replace stereo sound in the not too distant future. And all this with a single speaker, I don’t even want to imagine how we can enjoy music with a pair of Era 300, or with a complete set that includes a Sonos Arc and a Sonos Sub. Of course, to enjoy this you will have to pay the €499 that you have on Amazon (link).
- Publisher’s rating
- Rating 4.5 stars
- was 300
- Review by: louis padilla
- high quality sound
- True Dolby Atmos
- Precise touch controls
- Bluetooth connection and auxiliary input
- Ability to pair or use as home theater rear speakers
- Does not include USB-C adapter for auxiliary input