App & Software Review Tech

Sonos Move 2 review: a slam-dunk sequel


Once you’re contemplating the sequel of any tech product, it’s simple to leap to the conclusion that it’s “every little thing the unique ought to’ve been.” And as I’ve been testing out the brand new $449 Sonos Transfer 2 speaker during the last a number of days, it’s been tempting to lean on that narrative. The Transfer 2 improves upon the corporate’s first transportable speaker with higher, broader sound — it now does stereo as a substitute of simply mono audio output — and large strides in battery life. It’s additionally extra versatile due to the inclusion of line in and the flexibility to reverse cost your cellphone and different gadgets through the speaker’s USB-C port. The one draw back is perhaps that every one of these enhancements include a $50 worth hike.

However in reality, the primary Transfer was by no means going to be something like this. It got here earlier than Sonos found out find out how to seamlessly juggle Bluetooth audio with music performed over its Wi-Fi-based whole-home audio platform; you had to decide on one or the opposite through a button on the again. (Sonos solved that awkward dilemma with its far more compact Roam speaker.) On the time of the Transfer’s launch, the entry-level Sonos One was additionally restricted to mono playback. It wasn’t till the Period 100 that the corporate crammed two tweeters into a comparatively small single speaker enclosure. Now, it’s working the identical play with the Transfer 2, giving the product devoted left and proper channels as a substitute of mixing every little thing collectively. However time hasn’t benefited the Transfer 2 in all methods: amid an ongoing authorized rift between Sonos and Google, this good speaker ships with out Google Assistant, which is current on the first-gen {hardware}.

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Save for the tweaked controls on high, the Transfer 2’s seems to be haven’t modified a lot. It’s nonetheless the identical form. And it’s nonetheless pretty tall (9.53 inches) and weighty (6.61 kilos) to be thought-about very “transportable” — however at the least you’ve acquired the built-in deal with for carrying it round. As with the primary Transfer, that is actually designed to be moved round completely different spots inside and outdoors your private home, not a lot to accompany you to the seaside like a conventional Bluetooth speaker.

The Transfer 2 sticks intently to the unique’s dimension and total design.

Aside from the usual black and white choices, Sonos is providing a inexperienced colour of the Transfer 2, and I’ve actually come to benefit from the olive shade whereas reviewing it. It’s not overly daring, but it surely’s trendy and never boring. Within the field, you get a wi-fi charging base station, and in contrast to the primary time round, this one might be indifferent from its wall plug as a substitute of the entire thing being hardwired. As earlier than, the Transfer 2 can alternatively be charged by means of its USB-C port.

Round again is the ability button, Bluetooth pairing button, a bodily change for the Transfer 2’s built-in microphones, and the USB-C port. In line with the unique, the Transfer 2 helps automated Trueplay, which makes use of the microphones to investigate the speaker’s environment and optimize the sound everytime you transfer it to a brand new spot. Palms-free voice controls are attainable with each Sonos Voice Management and Amazon Alexa. There are two methods to disable the mics: you’ll be able to faucet a speech bubble button on high of the speaker to deactivate voice assistants whereas maintaining options like auto Trueplay enabled. If you wish to shut off the microphones altogether, that’s what the rear change is for.

But it surely’s been upgraded with the identical contact controls as Sonos’ Period audio system.

However Google Assistant stays absent after first being dropped from the Period lineup. With JBL now providing a speaker that concurrently runs Alexa and Assistant, I’m actually hoping that Sonos and Google can put their authorized quarrels apart and work out a technique to carry Assistant again into the fold. For a sure set of consumers, its absence makes the Transfer 2 a nonstarter. 

One other facet of the Transfer 2 that disappoints me (albeit to a lesser diploma) is that it might probably’t function a speakerphone for calls. If the factor works with Bluetooth and has mics that I’m already talking to on a semi-regular foundation, why not go the remainder of the way in which, Sonos? Many lower-priced Bluetooth audio system and even Apple’s Bluetooth-less HomePods embrace this function, so it’s irritating to see Sonos omit it but once more.

It’s obtainable in a brand new olive inexperienced colour alongside black and white.

However there are a number of methods wherein the corporate has favorably expanded the Transfer 2’s capabilities. Just like the Eras, it helps line-in (if you buy Sonos’ $19 USB-C adapter) so you’ll be able to plug any audio supply, corresponding to a turntable, into the speaker and play that content material throughout the remainder of your Sonos system. Something you’re listening to over Bluetooth will also be synchronized throughout your grouped audio system, which is a comfort that the first-generation Transfer lacked. Sonos continues to help Apple’s AirPlay 2, and you’ll immediately management its audio system with music providers together with Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, and lots of extra. 

The Transfer 2 can stream Bluetooth audio to the remainder of your Sonos system.

One other new trick is that the rear USB-C port can be utilized for charging exterior gadgets. It provides 7.5 watts of energy, which isn’t notably quick, but it surely’s fallback in case your cellphone battery is working low while you’re taking part in tunes on the park or seaside far faraway from any outlet.

Battery life on the Transfer 2 has greater than doubled, with Sonos saying it might probably attain as much as 24 hours of steady playback. That large bounce might be attributed to 2 issues: there’s a bigger 44Wh battery inside, and the corporate additionally made power-saving optimizations underneath the hood. The larger battery is backward-compatible with the unique Transfer, however dropping it into that speaker received’t magically get you 24 hours of listening time for the reason that first-gen Transfer lacks a few of the newer effectivity tweaks.

“Inserting a Transfer 2 battery in an authentic Transfer will improve the Transfer’s battery life by about 25 p.c, yielding round 13.5 hours of battery life,” Sonos spokesperson Olivia Singer advised me by e mail. “Transfer 2 has a way more environment friendly system which contributes to the extra playback enhancements.” Both approach, I very a lot recognize that the battery is definitely replaceable to start with; this ensures an extended lifespan for the Transfer 2 in comparison with many client audio system the place the battery will steadily maintain much less of a cost over time. 

Its two tweeters produce stereo audio, in contrast to the mono first-gen mannequin.

I’ve stated quite a lot of instances that the unique Transfer turned my favourite total Sonos product due to its portability and potent sound. The Transfer 2’s improve to stereo isn’t a monumental change — a single-unit speaker is restricted in how a lot separation it might probably produce — however you’ll be able to clearly hear the distinction. When taking part in a take a look at file, I might simply distinguish the left and proper tweeters throughout the Transfer 2. The primary good thing about this stereo association is that you just received’t want to fret about particulars of a music being misplaced within the background as can occur when every little thing is downmixed to mono.

The general sound signature is trustworthy to the unique Transfer, which means the Transfer 2 nonetheless tends to underemphasize treble; I’m additionally at present testing the brand new equally formed Final Ears Epicboom, and the UE speaker places a much bigger deal with these crisp higher frequencies whereas Sonos takes a extra even-handed strategy. If you’d like extra excessive finish, that’s simple to perform utilizing EQ sliders within the Sonos app. Bass response was greater than satisfactory for my wants, however I can see some folks wanting extra oomph from the Transfer 2 when actually cranking the quantity. 

The Transfer 2 is rated IP54 in opposition to mud and water.

Amongst Sonos’ different audio system, I’d rank the Transfer 2 under the flagship Sonos 5 and the Atmos-oriented Period 300. You’re mainly getting a wi-fi Period 100 that may be taken wherever, and that’s an attractive thought. Like all of the corporate’s audio system, you’ll be able to stereo-pair two Transfer 2s if you’d like that wider, extra immersive presentation {that a} single unit can’t fairly pull off by itself. However as this can be a system meant to be moved round, a stereo pair won’t be as sensible right here as with Sonos’ different audio system.

On that time, the Transfer 2 is on no account as “transportable” or simple to pack with baggage as a Roam, but it surely’s no hassle to hold round the home, carry out to the yard, or throw into the trunk when touring. Should you plan to take it on the highway consistently, Sonos sells an extremely overpriced $79 carrying case. The unique Transfer got here with a material carrying bag, however that’s gone this time, and Sonos advised me it was solely ever meant to maintain the speaker protected throughout transit and transport. 

Battery life can attain as much as 24 hours on a single cost.

Should you already personal the unique speaker, you’re little question questioning whether or not this one is price an improve. Most often, assuming you’re glad with what the Transfer has provided thus far, I’d say the reply is not any. The unique stays a superb product — particularly in the event you purchased it on sale. However in the event you consistently end up exhausting the Transfer’s battery or have already got a use in thoughts for the Transfer 2’s line-in function, then stepping as much as the brand new one begins to make extra sense. The stereo sound can be extra gratifying and more true to your favourite music, however that alone isn’t sufficient to fork over $450. 

As a whole bundle, the Transfer 2 is a slam-dunk sequel that may solely get higher while you consider Sonos’ long-term software program help. The corporate wanted to attract on classes discovered from different merchandise to get right here, however anybody who liked the primary Transfer will discover even larger worth in its successor. Hopefully Google Assistant will finally make a comeback. However even when not, the Transfer 2 provides loads of options and ok sound to make it a novel standout in Sonos’ {hardware} lineup. 

Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge


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