I’ve been pining for a portable outdoor Sonos speaker for years. I suspect anyone who’s bought into the Sonos ecosystem has. The Sonos Move not only scratches that itch, its Bluetooth radio gives me the option of taking the speaker on the road. What could be better than that? Audio performance rivaling the mighty second-generation Sonos Play:5, plus real-time room compensation and your choice of Alexa or Google Assistant onboard.
The Move isn’t Sonos’ first outdoor speaker. The company partnered with Sonance in late 2018 to produce the weatherized Sonos Outdoor by Sonance speakers, but those are wired, passive, and expensive at $799—plus the cost of an amplifier to drive them. You can buy them direct, but they’re really intended for the custom-installer market. The Move isn’t exactly cheap at $399, but it is self-amplified, battery-powered, and—weighing in at 6.6 pounds—luggable, with a deep handle molded into the back of its enclosure.
At home—and everywhere else
To listen to the Move at home, you’ll want to connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi network. The onboard dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter provides significant range that should enable you to listen just about anywhere in even a large yard, provided you have a good router. That will also enable you to sync it to all your other Sonos components in a multi-room audio system. You can pair two Move speakers as a wireless stereo pair when connected to Wi-Fi, but you can’t pair the Move with the Sonos Sub. The Move also supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 audio technology.
I evaluated the Move while connected to a three-node Samsung SmartThings Wifi router that I’m in the process of reviewing, and I was able to wander impressively long distances around my rural property without the speaker dropping off my network. In fact, the Move maintained its Wi-Fi connection even at the end of my more-than-300-foot-long driveway.
Unfortunately, my Pixel 2 XL couldn’t match that performance, so I had assumed that left me with no way to control the speaker apart from touching the play/pause and volume-control buttons on the speaker itself. But then I remembered that I could use voice commands! This worked with Alexa, and while I didn’t switch over to Google Assistant to verify that it would also work, there’s no reason I can see that it wouldn’t. That is a remarkable performance for an 802.11n device. Your mileage will vary, of course, depending on the quality of your router and the density of competing Wi-Fi networks where you live.
Take the Move on the road—or anywhere beyond the reach of…