Sonos Era 300 — 3 reasons to buy and 3 reasons to skip

Sonos Era 300
(Image credit: Future)

The Sonos Era 300 is now available for sale, and this speaker has a lot going for it. As you'll see in our Sonos Era 300 review, it has a unique hourglass-shaped design, two woofers and four tweeters, and is just the third of Sonos' products that can play Dolby Atmos spatial audio. It also works with Alexa, and can be plugged into your turntable. It also sounds incredible.

Overall, the Sonos Era 300 is one of the best smart speakers yet. But, before you go and spend $449 on one, we put together this list of reasons you would want to buy it, and reasons why you might want to skip it in favor of another speaker.

Reasons to buy Sonos Era 300

You want the best-sounding smart speaker

Sonos Era 300 in black with female model using touch controls

(Image credit: The Verge / Sonos)

For its size, the Sonos Era 300 delivers the best audio we've heard from a smart speaker. Its two woofers and four tweeters pumped out incredibly precise and booming bass, and it really highlighted the separation between instruments and voices in the spatial audio tracks we played.

Coming in a close second is the Apple HomePod 2, which is a bit smaller, but also delivers excellent audio — and is also capable of playing spatial audio tracks. 

You have an Android smartphone, or just aren't a big Apple fan

As mentioned, the Apple HomePod 2 comes in a close second to the Era 300 in terms of sound, and it costs $150 less. That's a pretty good bargain. However, not everyone wants to be constrained to Apple's ecosystem — to use the HomePod 2, you'll probably want to use an iPhone as well as Apple Music. While you can use an Android phone and other music services with the HomePod 2, everything is far more seamless if you've got Apple gear.

The Sonos Era 300 is platform-agnostic, so you can use an iPhone or an Android device, and connect dozens of music services, too.

You have — or want — a turntable

One underrated feature of the Era 300 is its USB-C port. Sonos is selling a line-in adapter, so that you can plug a turntable directly into the Era 300 — there's no separate amplifier needed. It's a feature not available on very many smart speakers; the Sonos Era 100 and the much older Amazon Studio are two of the few exceptions. 

Reasons to skip Sonos Era 300

You only stream music from Spotify

Spotify app running on phone

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The biggest reason to get the Sonos Era 300 is that it can play Dolby Atmos-enabled audio tracks. Also known as spatial audio, these music files are configured so that sound not only appears to be coming from the left and right, but above you, too. When done right, it's a pretty incredible effect. (It's also used in movies — think of a plane flying overhead.)

However, at the moment, the Era 300 can only stream Dolby Atmos tracks from Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music. And, unfortunately, Spotify doesn't support Dolby Atmos, so this feature would go unused. 

You're trying to save money for home entertainment

If you want to use the Sonos Era 300 as part of your TV system, you'll need to pair it with a Sonos soundbar if you want to take advantage of its ability to play spatial audio tracks. So, you'd need to add the Sonos Arc ($899) or the Sonos Ray ($279) to the $449 Era 300.

And, if you want full surround sound, you'll need a second Era 300. That money starts to pile up fast. Best to head on over to our best Dolby Atmos soundbars page, or — provided you're cool with Apple — pick up two HomePod 2's and an Apple TV 4K, which will run you a total of $779. 

You prefer Google Assistant or Siri to Alexa

Part of what makes the Sonos Era 300 a smart speaker is that it can be connected to a voice assistant. In this case, the Era 300 has Amazon's Alexa built in; with it, you can control your smart lights, smart thermostat, set timers, play games, and much more. (The Era 300 also has Sonos' own smart assistant, but it's limited to music requests only).

However, if you're not a fan of Amazon's assistant, you're better off with almost-as-equally capable Siri in the HomePod 2; when it comes to controlling smart home devices, Apple's HomeKit doesn't support as many products, but you can do a lot with those that it does. 

Google Assistant users are left out in the cold; while the older Sonos One works with either Alexa or Google Assistant, the newer Era 300 and Era 100 do not. 

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Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.