Sonos Era 300 hands-on: A radical new design and spatial audio support

Our first impressions of the new Sonos Era 300 smart speaker with spatial audio

Sonos Era 300
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Early Verdict


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    6 speakers built in

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    Spatial audio sound

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    Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth support

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    USB-C line in for external audio sources

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    Alexa and Sonos Voice enabled


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    Quirky design may not appeal to all

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    No Google Assistant support

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After weeks of teasers, Sonos has finally put an end to speculation and revealed its new range of Era smart speakers that will officially go on sale on March 28. Two models make up the new series: the Era 100 and Era 300. The feature-set for both models looks to rival some of the best smart speakers out there, including the new Apple HomePod 2, and both models are destined to become essential parts in many next-generation Sonos setups. 

Here, I am outlining my first impressions of the Sonos Era 300 following some recent hands-on time that enabled me to get an early sense on how it will stack up against the best smart speakers of the year. 

Here are my first impressions of the Era 300's design, performance, new features and more.

Sonos Era 300 hands-on: Price and availability

The Sonos Era 300 will cost $449 / £449 / AU$749 when it goes on sale on March 28. In the meantime, it's available to preorder today (March 7) through the Sonos website (opens in new tab) in black or white color options. 

By comparison, the Era 300 sits directly below the continuing flagship Sonos Five ($549) premium speaker.

Sonos Era 300 internals with cover removed

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sonos Era 300 hands-on: Design 

The design of the Sonos Era 300 is an interesting form factor and one of the most striking speakers that I've seen in a while. The hourglass shape is for acoustical purposes to allow sounds from multiple speaker drivers to radiate freely, and results in a speaker cabinet that has an elegant waistline.

The unusual cabinet shape is no accident. It has been developed to make the most of spatial audio music content as well as to unlock a 7.1.4 sound experience when partnered with a Sonos Arc soundbar playing Dolby Atmos content in a home theater setup.

The Era 300 certainly looks like no other smart speaker available, and despite its relatively compact dimensions (it measures 6.30 x 10.24 x 7.28 inches, and weighs 9.85 pounds) it is fitted with six custom speakers to create a 5.1 sound experience from a single speaker unit. The midrange/tweeters take care of the directional musical elements and are angled left and right to support stereo playback, while two woofers maximize low-end output . Bass output is aided by directional horn, and the upward-firing tweeter reflects sound off the ceiling when playing Dolby Atmos content.

Sonos Era 300 hands-on: Features and connectivity 

As the time of my hands-on, the Era 300 offered spatial audio music content support via Amazon Music Unlimited only. However, Sonos says that the Era 300 will offer support for spatial audio on Apple Music when it goes on sale on March 28. 

Trueplay and adjustable EQ are onboard and compatible with both iOS and Android devices. With an Android device, Trueplay uses microphones built into the Era 300 speaker. Users with an iOS device can also use this method (referred to as Quick Tuning in the Sonos app) or the traditional method (referred to as Advanced Tuning) which uses the microphones in your iPhone or iPad and requires you to move around the room.

The Era 300 supports wired networking and is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth connectivity compatible. It also works with AirPlay 2 on Apple devices using iOS 11.4 and higher. Instead of an Ethernet port, though, the Era 300 has a USB-C port on the back. Sonos will sell adapters that can provide an Ethernet connection and line-in to make it compatible with line-level turntables. A Combo Adapter providing Ethernet and 3.5mm line-in connectivity costs $39.99, while a USB-C Line-In Adapter costs $19.99. 

The Sonos Era 300 supports Alexa and its own voice assistant. At the time of writing, there's no support for Google Assistant, but this may be added at a later date via a firmware update. Users can disconnect the Era 300's microphone via a switch on the back.

Sonos Era 300 in white

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sonos Era 300 hands-on: Sound quality 

My hands-on time covered a couple of spatial audio tracks from Amazon Music Unlimited played through a single Era 300. A pair of Era 300s were then put into action as the rear surrounds in a Sonos home theater setup. 

The opening spatial audio track was a song called "Marigold" by M.I.A. followed by "Deep Deep Feeling" by Paul McCartney. I enjoyed hearing the guitar sound on the M.I.A track as it sat in its own acoustic space while the main vocal and backing chorus appeared to come from somewhere above and to the side of the speaker. The drums were also pushed forward on the Paul McCartney tracks with the main vocal placed just behind.

The sense of home theater immersion also impressed during the movie demo, with the Sonos Era 300 helping to create a sound bubble around and an intense atmosphere while watching an excerpt from the movie A Quiet Place. 

Sonos Era 300 hands-on: Outlook

Considering that Sonos consistently hits a high bar with its speaker systems, there's plenty to get excited about with the arrival of the Sonos Era 300 smart speaker. Not only does it look completely different to any smart speaker we've seen, but it's the first I've encountered to be specifically designed to maximize the immersive content of spatial audio music. Google Assistant may be missing, no doubt due to ongoing litigation between the two companies over smart speakers and voice control technology, but just as spatial audio content via Apple Music will be supported by the Era 300 in time for launch, Google Assistant support could come via a future firmware update. 

Although I won't make an official recommendation until I get to experience the speaker's performance properly in my own home, it's certainly looking like a flexible design, and marks a new era for smart speakers everywhere.

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Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.