The Sonos Move Might Be the Best Bluetooth Speaker We've Ever Heard
All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
There is no perfect Bluetooth speaker. Some have no battery life. Some refuse to pair with your phone. Some make your music sound like it’s coming through the opening of a tin can tied to a string where the tin can at the other end is submerged in a puddle outside the venue where your favorite band is doing a soundcheck. After having tested dozens of portable, bookshelf, home, shower, and outdoor Bluetooth speakers, I can say with certainty that there are very few Bluetooth speakers that a discerning listener would describe as good. The new Sonos Move is one of them. It might even be great.
Sonos Move, $400 at Sonos.com
The Move, which was announced earlier this month and is available for preorder at $400 now, is both the company’s first speaker with Bluetooth and first speaker designed for outdoor use. It marks a really big step for the multiroom wireless company, which has previously staked its reputation on the fact that Bluetooth kinda sucks. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone I know has had issues with Bluetooth, often stemming from the pairing process or the lag it can create between audio and video.
Sonos’s multiroom wireless speaker system has been so great up to this point because its speakers don’t have these obstacles. It takes almost no time to set up and start streaming through these speakers on a functional wireless network. And the sound quality, especially when you’re listening from multiple speakers at once, is really excellent—with few exceptions, every Sonos speaker finds a pleasant sonic balance between the lower and higher frequencies.
When sitting on its base, the Move effectively works like any of these other speakers. It is easy to set up with the Sonos app, it works with all of the major streaming services (and a bunch you’ve never heard of) and AirPlay 2, it has a microphone you can use to activate Alexa or the Google Assistant (or mute, if the idea of a smart home still freaks you out), and it sounds really great. It doesn’t have the separation and clarity of the Play:5, but it’s got a more impressive bass response than the smaller Sonos One. To put it more plainly, you know the moment the bass kicks in after the whistle intro of Lil Nas X’s “Panini”? It sounds absolutely sublime coming from the Sonos Move.
This would be absolutely moot if the Move started malfunctioning the moment you picked it up and walked around with it. Thankfully, this isn’t the case. Whether I set it on the edge of my shower to listen to my morning podcast of choice (“What Next?” from Slate, on the off-chance you care) or brought it out to my backyard to enjoy the crisp fall air (blasting the new Bon Iver album and holding myself tight), the Move has worked exactly as it was supposed to. And thanks to Sonos’s new automatic trueplay, which allows the speaker to adjust it’s sound for the environment, the Move always sounds good. Plus, it’s water- and dust- resistant build means none of these areas should ruin its sound.
Of course, the speaker is not perfect. Firstly, $400 is pretty expensive, even if that’s not far out of the range of other premium Bluetooth speakers made by Marshall or Bang & Olfsuen or Bose. For a portable speaker, it’s a bit heavy. You might be able to carry it to the park with the comfortable hand hold carved into the back, but you’d be better off putting it in a big backpack. You can bring the Move’s charging base, which is simple black ring that fits underneath the speaker attached to a power cord, wherever you want. But the speaker doesn’t always sit in it properly. The speaker’s battery charges pretty quickly and lasts for as long as the company says it will (10 hours), but the company has yet to confirm how much it will cost to replace, which they say you will have to do every three years.
But these are minor qualms. All things considered, the Sonos Move is a fantastic new Bluetooth speaker that would be worth its price even without the Sonos ecosystem. And if you’ve already have a Sonos speakers, it’s almost certainly the next one you should buy.