Eras work quite well with Amazon Alexa Ecosystem, but if you’re not interested in smart home compatibility, you can try Sonos’s voice assistant, which promises to preserve your privacy and is, for some reason, voiced by actor Giancarlo Esposito. It lets you choose an artist, song from the album, radio station or genre, change the volume or even music from the movie to another room, though I missed other smart speaker basics like setting timers or checking the weather. .

The biggest problem with Sonos Voice Control is that it currently supports Apple Music and Amazon Music, but not Spotify, which is probably a deal breaker for many. The Sonos spokesperson did not shed any light on this omission.

Any new speaker can connect to external players via a 3.5mm cable, or act as a stereo pair if you buy two.

Any new speaker can connect to external players via a 3.5mm cable, or act as a stereo pair if you buy two.

So if you don’t care about voice control, or if you mostly rely on Amazon or Apple for music, The Era 100 is a brilliant smart speaker and a nice upgrade over the old Sonos One. But what about the Era 300? ?

The addition of spatial audio support is exciting, but it also brings some caveats and quirks of its own. With a good Dolby Atmos track, I think it dwarfs Apple’s HomePod and even some more expensive soundbar-based setups, but depending on your musical tastes, it’s not always easy to find a good Dolby Atmos track.

Streaming services are full of downright poor spatial audio mixes, stretching and heightening the soundstage for no reason or mixing instruments incoherently. While listening to a favorite song on an Atmos mix can be a fantastic experience, the entire Pearl Jam experience Ten The album sounds amazing, it can also be hugely disappointing. For example Blink-182 What is my age again? It sounds like you’re in a mid-floor apartment and each instrument is located in a different remote area of ​​the complex.

Listening to spatial audio also means you’re tied to the Sonos app, since streaming from Amazon Music or AirPlaying from Apple only gives you stereo. The Sonos app is generally fine, but for this particular use it seems inadequate; there are no badges or other indicators of which tracks feature Atmos and which don’t, which means you usually have to find what you want in the streaming service’s own app, and then try to find it again in Sonos.


Worst of all, the Era 300 sounds dull when playing a regular old stereo mix, possibly due to its unique speaker design. It’s certainly not bad, just flat, especially compared to dedicated stereo machines like the Sonos 5 or the discontinued Google Home Max.

None of the problems I’ve had with these new speakers are insurmountable, and in fact, I’d be surprised if Sonos hadn’t fixed them via software updates within a year. They’re still characteristically great-sounding, stable Wi-Fi speakers that work on their own or as part of a whole-home setup.

But at a time when Google, Amazon, and Apple are trying to lock users into product ecosystems by tying their hardware and software tightly together, Sonos’ argument for a platform agnostic that works with everything is important, and it hasn’t. done at all. still realized.

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