This is the Sonos Roam 2 portable speaker


The most important upcoming hardware product for Sonos is undoubtedly its long-anticipated Sonos Ace headphones. They will mark the company’s debut in a massive (and highly competitive) new category. But spring and summer are always the seasons of new portable speakers, and Sonos hasn’t forgotten about that part of its business.

The company has been developing a sequel to the Sonos Roam, the tiny portable speaker it released three years ago. I’ve obtained images of a prerelease Sonos Roam 2 and can share a little more about the differences between it and the original model, which has been criticized by some owners for unreliable battery performance and other issues.

In terms of design, the Roam 2 is basically a carbon copy of the first-gen speaker. The main telltale difference between them is that the “Sonos” logo now matches the speaker’s color, as you can see on this black unit; it was white on the original.

The Roam 2 has a dedicated button for Bluetooth pairing.
Image: The Verge

The other unique aspect of the sequel is that there are now two buttons on the rear of the product. One of those is a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button. Yes, you’ll be able to pair the Roam 2 with any phone or other audio source without first needing to go through an initial setup on your home Wi-Fi using the Sonos app. Sonos is thankfully doing away with that pesky requirement, which isn’t an obstacle that consumers have to deal with on the vast majority of other Bluetooth speakers.

Bloomberg first reported on the Roam 2 a few months ago, indicating that the new Roam would have a capacitive volume slider similar to the Era 100, Era 300, and Move 2. But I can confirm that the final design has the same physical controls as before, with no slider. It’s possible a revamped control layout was tested early on and abandoned during the device’s development process. Some people use the Roam as a shower speaker, and capacitive buttons wouldn’t be ideal for that.

As for any internal driver improvements or changes Sonos has made to improve overall hardware reliability, I can’t speak to those just yet. But I’m expecting the Roam 2 to come in around the same price as its predecessor and include many of the same key benefits: one of those is the ability to share Bluetooth audio across the rest of your whole-home Sonos speaker system.

I’m still very much enjoying the larger (in both size and sound) Move 2, which has given me no trouble whatsoever over several months of usage. But whenever the Roam 2 does arrive, I’ll be mindful of the negative feedback that has built up about the first-gen speaker as I review it.

Sonos is announcing its second quarter financial earnings this afternoon and will host a call with analysts afterward. I’ll be listening along for any interesting tidbits from CEO Patrick Spence and the company’s other executives.