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Sound & Vision: Sonos just represented the best and worst aspects of tech

OPINION: From Microsoft unveiling its new AI ventures to the latest generation of handsets from Poco, there’s been no shortage of tech reveals this week. But the two that have absolutely floored me are, funnily enough, from the same company.

Unless you decided to ignore the news this week, you’re likely aware that Sonos finally debuted its first pair of headphones in the Sonos Ace.

This is a milestone not just for the company itself but for the headphone market at large as it now means there’s one more fighter in the ring to challenge premium picks from the likes of Apple, Sony and Sennheiser.

It says a lot that despite well known audio chops in the realm of home entertainment and speakers, Sonos took its time before deciding to enter this already populated market, giving it the best opportunity to make an impact by bringing meaningful features to the table that pair well with Sonos’ signature sound.

While it has all the usual headphone trappings including active noise cancellation and automatic pause/play functions, what really stands out is the fact that it can seamlessly link up with a Sonos Arc soundbar so that when you want to transition to personal audio during a film or TV show, all you have to do is switch on the headphones.

Sonos Ace in carry case
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This is just the type of feature that could appeal to home cinema enthusiasts (and existing Sonos users) and while there are similar versions of the idea on competing devices, they haven’t been presented in this way before. Again, it’s a great example of a company eyeing up the market and seeing where it can stand out amongst the crowd, and yet for whatever reason, Sonos has done the complete opposite with the surprise launch of the Sonos Roam 2.

Is this really the new Roam?

As one of the few products to ever score a full five-star rating here at Trusted Reviews, the original Sonos Roam is still a great recommendation in 2024, years after release, and any minor issues we had with the device simply weren’t enough to diminish it overall. You would think that Sonos would be happy with that but instead, to keep the Roam fresh in the minds of consumers, it has put out the most iterative of updates I have ever seen.

Sonos Roam 2

There has been no change to the sound quality, the design is almost identical (save for a change in the colouration of the Sonos logo) and the battery life remains the same at 10-hours. So what exactly has changed here? Well, there’s now a dedicated Bluetooth button and the Roam 2 can now pair right out of the box without having to go through the previous Wi-Fi set-up. That’s it.

At a time when big brands like Samsung and Apple are accused of relying on only the smallest of updates for their yearly phone releases, I never expected Sonos of all companies to drag the bar down even further. How the new Roam ever got a ‘2’ added to its name instead of being released in a similar fashion as the USB-C AirPods Pro, I’ll never know.

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