US manufacturer Sonos is launching a new generation of WiFi speakers. The Era 100 succeeds the bestseller One, the Era 300 challenges the Apple Homepod with 3D audio. Both speakers also have Bluetooth and cable connections.
The WiFi speaker Sonos Play:1 came onto the market almost ten years ago. Although it was replaced by the One four years later, the basic design and thus the sound remained unchanged. Now he gets the "number 1" with the Era 100 a real successor with a modified construction. The US manufacturer is also presenting the completely new Era 300, a speaker with 360-degree sound that, among other things, is competing against Apple's Homepod.
The Era 100 still looks very similar to the Sonos One. But if you take a closer look, you can see that it has a slightly egg-shaped base and is slightly taller. There's also a new touch-sensitive volume control groove on the top. If you lift the Era 100, you might also notice that at around 2 kilograms it is almost 150 grams heavier than its predecessor.
The interior is also new. The new Sonos cylinder now has two angled tweeters for stereo sound and a mid-range driver that is 25 percent larger and is said to produce more powerful bass. At first glance, the Era 100 sounds richer and more detailed than the One. How much the sound actually differs will only be shown in a future comparison by ntv.de.
A definite improvement is that there is now Trueplay for Android. This means that the speaker can no longer adapt the sound to its environment using just an iPhone or iPad. However, this happens statically with the Android app using the speaker's microphones. So you don't move through the room and use smartphone or tablet microphones like you do with iOS devices. The result should therefore not always be quite as good.
The Era 100 is also far more connected than its predecessor. It can connect to players via Bluetooth and has an AUX connection. This means that it can serve as a loudspeaker for a record player, for example.
A whole new category for Sonos is the Era 300. After the US company already offers soundbars with 3D sound, it is the company's first independent speaker with Dolby Atmos. For this purpose, there are six drivers inside.
A central mid-high driver is flanked by two more on the sides. A fourth driver is directed upwards to generate sounds reflected from the ceiling from above. Two woofers are responsible for the bass and are intended to reinforce the stereo effect when directed to the left and right.
The design, which is a bit reminiscent of an oversized earphone, is not only exceptional, it also allows for a fairly compact design. The speaker, which weighs around 4.5 kilograms and measures 160 x 260 x 185 millimeters, is not much larger than the Era 100. As with the smaller new Sonos speaker, the Era 300 also has an AUX input and can also use Bluetooth make connections.
In terms of sound, the big one plays in a different league. When first listening to the Era 300 showed very powerful bass and an impressive 3D surround sound. He also offered a strong performance as a pair of satellites in a 7.1.4 system in the living room cinema. However, this was a projection room. The Era 300 first has to prove what it can do under more difficult conditions in a practical test.
With both newcomers, Sonos follows the trend towards more sustainability. Their housing is made of recycled plastic, and more screws instead of glue should make the speakers easier to repair. The packaging should be made of sustainably produced paper. The Era 100 and 300 don't have an off switch either, but with less than two watts they should be particularly frugal in standby mode. In addition, the devices should save electricity with a new, "innovative sleep mode".
Both speakers will go on sale on March 28th. The Sonos Era 100 costs around 280 euros, for the Era 300 you have to spend almost 500 euros.