Sonos' new Bluetooth speaker looks like a killer bargain

Sonos Roam SL on a rock outside
(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos is adding a new budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker to its range: the Sonos Roam SL. Billed as a cheaper version of the standard Sonos Roam, the SL model strips back a few (arguably non essential) features but keeps the excellent design and solid sound quality that made its predecessor one of the best Bluetooth speakers around. 

The Sonos Roam SL will cost $159, and is available to pre order right now. A retail price just shy of $160 makes the compact Bluetooth speaker $20 cheaper than its older sibling. However, in order to hit that fairly attractive price point sacrifices have been made. The primary loss is the Roam SL’s lack of a microphone.

Sonos Roam SL: $159 @ Sonos

Sonos Roam SL: $159 @ Sonos
The Sonos Roam SL is a stripped down version of one of our favorite portable Bluetooth speakers, the Sonos Roam. It may be mic less but it still offers the same slick design, excellent audio quality and IP67 rated waterproofing. All that for just $159 is a real bargain. 

Removing the mic unfortunately means that the Roam SL doesn’t offer Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support. The lack of a mic also means that Auto TruePlay, which automatically adjusts the speaker’s sound profile to best suit its surroundings, has been nixed. Plus, the ability to pass audio between the Roam and additional Sonos speakers has also been cut. 

Otherwise the Roam SL looks to be practically identical to the portable speaker that we awarded an editor’s choice recommendation last Spring. In our original Sonso Roam review we said: “The Sonos Roam is portable, durable and competitively priced, making it an attractive Bluetooth speaker on-the-go.” 

The Roam SL offers the same attractive triangular design, strong IP67 waterproofing and consistently solid audio quality. We still think 10 hours of battery life is a little on the short side for a portable speaker of this size. But, so long as you’re never too far from a power outlet this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. 

The Sonos Roam SL is scheduled to begin shipping March 15. As noted, it will retail for $159 at launch. Although this price could rise in the future. The original Roam speaker jumped from $169 to $179 last fall with Sonos citing the ongoing global chip shortage as the reason. 

FYI: Sonos could launch a virtual assistant to take on the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. And a new budget soundbar could be on its way in the form of the Sonos Ray

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.