- The American audio brand Sonos will launch two new speakers, the Era 28 and Era 100, on March 300.
- Respectively sold 279 euros and 499 euros, these models will be Wifi and Bluetooth, a first at Sonos which had made Bluetooth compatible only its portable speakers Move and nomadic Roam.
- The Era 100 replaces the Sonos One and One SL. More innovative, the Era 300, is Dolby Atmos, both for home theater and music.
"Era", as "new era". Sonos has just unveiled its new Era 100 and Era 300 speakers. Preceded by the eternal "leaks on the Internet" ("leaks" that it is increasingly difficult to believe ...), the replacements of Sonos One and Play: 3 had already been unveiled on the Web. But we now know everything about the news that 20 Minutes was even able to briefly listen to.
The Era 100 "remasters the icon"
First there is the small, the classic. Named Era 100, the new Sonos speaker wants to "remaster the icon" Sonos One, the iconic speaker of the American manufacturer launched 10 years ago. The manufacturer that democratized multiroom sound has, according to him, wanted to maintain the "feel" of the product. Hence a tubular enclosure (18.2 x 12 x 13 cm for 2 kg) with a small known air, available in black or white.
On the surface of the device appears a touch strip to adjust the volume. It replaces the old "-" and "+" keys on the Sonos One. Incorporating two tweeters (for high-pitched sounds) and a mid-woofer (for mids and bass) 25% wider than before, the speaker claims its ability to reproduce stereo. Announcing stereo on a single speaker can seem a little contradictory with a single piece of equipment, rather subject to mono sound. Our next test will allow us to know more. Wifi and AirPlay 2, the Era 100 is also (and finally!) Bluetooth!
Le Bluetooth... as on competing speakers
Sonos, which had historically opposed the presence of Bluetooth on its living room speakers, had finally integrated it on its portable speaker Move in 2019, then its nomadic speaker Roam in 2021.
The arrival of Bluetooth on the very sedentary Era 100 now allows it to play on an equal footing with its competitors, such as Sony, in the arena of multiroom speakers. Now, your visitors will also be able to play their sounds on your Sonos speaker. It still seems that the manufacturer has gone a little constrained and forced by the laws of the market, the absence of Bluetooth on most of its devices remaining for the manufacturer its pebble in the shoe and penalizing, no doubt, its sales.
Vinyl at the end of the line
Another welcome novelty: the possibility of grafting an auxiliary player, such as a turntable, to the speaker. For this, it will still be necessary to purchase a USB-C/AUX + Ethernet adapter sold separately (price: not communicated).
The True Play function, which allows you to adapt the sound of the speaker to its physical environment (especially according to the presence of walls around it) becomes integrated. Enough to get in touch with Android smartphone users! Until now, only iPhones could be used to calibrate Sonos speakers with True Play. Apple device owners will be able to continue to take advantage of this possibility, or calibrate the Era 100 with its two built-in microphones.
Finally, the speaker is natively compatible with Amazon's Alexa, but not with Google Home. That is a point that does not change.
It will be launched on March 28 at 279 euros, a price that appeals. Notwithstanding its technical improvements, the Era 100 is respectively 80 euros and 50 euros more expensive than the Sonos One SL and Sonos One (Alexa compatible) that it will replace. Those who want to buy a pair will cringe. If you don't want to spend too much, it may seem wise to afford a Sonos One SL or Sonos One as long as there are some in store...
The Era 300 to give voice to Dolby Atmos
And there is the second speaker announced, with its funny form. Thanks to its Era 300 sound, Sonos fills a gap in its range, the one left by the withdrawal of the Sonos Play speaker: 3 some time ago. For now, the Play: 5 (sold for 599 euros) remains the most powerful of the manufacturer. With its funny shape, the Era 300 (16 x 26 x 18.5 cm, for 4.7 kg) embraces the zeitgeist and claims its Dolby Atmos compatibility. This should be interesting, not only in a home theater configuration, but also to listen to music in Dolby Atmos (or Spatial Audio, 360 °), as on Apple Music, Amazon Music or Tidal, the only platforms to offer it.
The speaker incorporates six Class D amplifiers that independently drive four tweeters (for treble and midrange) and two woofers (for bass). It can be used alone, in stereo pair or surround pair, by coupling it to a soundbar of the brand (Ray, or Arc). Its other features (Bluetooth integration, AUX input, onboard True Play calibration and Alexa compatibility) are common with the Era 100. The Era 300 will be launched on March 28 at 499 euros, a high price, but which could be justified if listening in Dolby Atmos really keeps its promises. A few minutes spent with him during a demo seem quite encouraging.
It remains to be seen how the brand's previous speakers will age, what updates they will benefit from and for how long. A real question, if you have invested in a complete Sonos ecosystem. If the manufacturer is known for offering products that last over time and are only rarely renewed, the manufacturer had tarnished its reputation in 2020.
The American brand had then clumsily offered its customers a so-called "recycling" program of their old speakers in the form of a 30% discount on the purchase of a new generation of latest. Either. But for that, they had to agree to "brick" their old product. The reduction thus involved "killing" the old enclosure, even functional, through an update that would have led it to the garbage dump. A real heresy! This duly planned obsolescence was finally abandoned, following the outcry from consumers.
- 20 minutes video
- Streaming music
- Apple Music
- Dolby Atmos