Sonos Move 2
Note: This review was first published on 14 November 2023.
While we'rebig fans of the outdoors, we're not exactly big on carrying and broadcasting our tunes to all and sundry during a hike. However, our experience with portable speakers like the Sonos Roam opened our eyes to their utility during small group gatherings such as an outing to the pool, or an evening barbecue with family and friends, where you’d like just enough volume of music to keep everyone’s energy up, but not so loud as to have people shout over one another trying to make conversation.
The older Sonos Move portable speakers was launched some years ago, so it was an exercise in curiosity when the offer to test the newly updatedSonos Move 2 camearound.
What weliked about the Move 2
The first thing to point out about the Move 2 is that it comes in a new matte Olive finish. Physically, the Move 2 resembles the original Move closely, with the exception of the ruggedized, matte-finish paint on the exterior as well as the rubberized top and bottom. The new colour does help make the Move 2 fit better on your shelf at home in terms of looks, but it won’t look out of place on a picnic mat either.
Having an IP56 rating means that the Move 2 can be used outdoors. It can resist dust and splashes of water but isn’t fully waterproof, so don’t get it submerged in water. In comparison, the Sonos Roam (reviewed here) is IP57-rated and can therefore withstand being immersed in up to 1 meter of water. If you spend more time next to the pool or bodies of water, the Roam might be more appropriate.
As its name suggests, the Move 2 is designed to be a wireless and portable speaker. It has a wireless charging base that lets you quickly and easily bring it with you. This, in our opinion, is the defining and best feature of the Move 2. The docking base lets you set up "base" in any room, and then you can return to it to charge when it runs out of battery. Furthermore, the battery-operated nature of the Move 2 gives users additional freedom in its placement.
For example, we have a Sonos Symfonisk which sits in a particular corner of our room where there is power. Unfortunately, that corner is also a WiFi dead spot, rendering the Symfonisk a mere table lamp; we cannot relocate the lamp either, as we need the additional light where it sits. With the Move 2 however, we can simply place it anywhere in the room to enjoy music. This is also made super simple thanks to a design feature carried over from the original Move in the form of the nifty built-in handle at the rear.
Sonos estimates that the Move 2 can last 24 hours per charge. In real world usage, over the past few weeks with it playing tunes while we’ve been working from home, we’ve put it back on the dock to charge overnight only about once a week, and have yet to encounter any issues with low battery levels during playback. Just like the original Move, Sonos says that the battery is replaceable for the Move 2, which is great for longevity of the unit.
In terms of power, the Move 2 gets pretty loud for its size. Mind you, living in Singapore where you’re generally in close proximity to your neighbours, we haven't had a chance to really find out the upper limits of the speakers; suffice to say, filling a room is no problem.
The Move 2 did generally well at all the types of music we threw at it, whether classical, pop, electronic or jazz. The bass response is reasonably good, but obviously nowhere near as good as a setup with a dedicated subwoofer. We must point out that while the Move 2 comes with Auto Trueplay functionality i.e. the ability to automatically adjust sound for the environment that it is in, we weren't able to discern any real performance benefit with the feature on, or off.
Sonos designed the Move 2 with stereo sound thanks to two tweeters built in, but the overall compact design means that getting really good stereo separation is a bit challenging for the Move 2. On the plus side, if you really want stereo, you can pair two Move 2’s together.
However, do note that you can’t pair the older Move with the Move 2 for stereo playback. You also can’t pair the Move 2 with a subwoofer; Sonos notes that doing so would not just result in imbalanced sound, but also in breaking the bond whenever you shift the Move 2 from one room to another. Lastly, the Move 2 doesn’t support spatial audio, so Dolby Atmos content playback won’t work.
Otherwise, the Move 2 retains the best things about the Sonos ecosystem, and the ease at which you can get the Move 2 up and running out of the box with the Sonos app. The Sonos device onboarding process is simple enough, and takes mere minutes, including automatically updating the Move 2 firmware before first use.
Given that it’s designed to be used outdoors, the Move 2 comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and AirPlay 2 connectivity options. Line-in playback is supported as well, though interesting only through a 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter (which Sonos also sells separately, what a surprise). If higher-resolution audio is your thing, the Move 2 might not be entirely ideal for on-the-go usage, unless you happen to be within WiFi range for streaming up to 24-bit/48kHz quality.
Aside from line-in functionality, the USB-C connector will let you charge the Move 2 in a pinch. It also supports reverse charging, so you can use the Move 2 as a power bank for your phone as well.
While the original Move came with support for Google Assistant, the Move 2 doesn’t. You only get voice assistant functionality in the form of Sonos’ own voice controls, as well as support for Alexa. The Move 2 comes with a simple LED indicator above the volume bar which lights up when the microphone is active. Thankfully, you can mute (and unmute) the microphone with the press of a button, or simply turn off the mic switch at the rear.
The top of the device features touch controls much like the Era 100 reviewed earlier, but despite the groove meant as a tactile guide, it would have been nicer if Sonos’ designers thought to build in some kind of illumination into the touch controls so the Move 2 can be more easily used in lower light. Nevertheless, the top control panel works very well, with a central playback and separate track control buttons available as needed.
The bottom line
Priced at S$799, the Move 2 isn't exactly a budget-friendly option, but Sonos have clearly put some thought into the design and potentially how useful it can be for both in the home and outside. Sure, it doesn’t have the portability of the Roam, but the one-hand handle design makes it reasonably easy to move the Move 2 from room to room, or out and about.
Just as important is that the Move 2 still comes with all the usual bells and whistles expected from Sonos in terms of wireless streaming and multi-room functionality. This might not be something that you’d consider bringing with you on holiday, but for bringing along to parties, or even simply for shifting your tunes from one room to another, the Move 2 does have a few things going for it.
The Sonos Move 2 is not exactly affordable, but if you’re already invested into the Sonos ecosystem and are looking for a way to bring your tunes outdoors, you can hardly go wrong with the Move 2.