The Sonos Era 100 is a worthy successor to the Sonos One. This remastered smart speaker adds Bluetooth (finally!), modernises the connections (Wi-Fi 6 and USB-C), and upgrades the sound with more bass and stereo separation. The only downside is the increased price (S$449 compared with S$349 for the Sonos One), and depending on your inclination, the loss of the Google Assistant.
- 3 Class-D digital amplifiers (two tweeters and one midwoofer)
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB-C
- Far-field microphone array with physical mic switch
- Dimensions: 182.5mm x 120mm x 130.5mm; Weight: 2.02kg
Available in either white or black, the Era 100 shares the same design language as Sonos' recent products such as the Sonos Ray soundbar. Its plastic housing is slightly taller, and curvier than the Sonos One. In short, it will fit right into any Sonos-equipped home. Sonos has also tweaked the controls — for the better. A new touch-capacitive volume slider lets you quickly adjust the volume with a swipe. It's intuitive, and delightful to use. You can also fine-tune the volume by pressing the +/- buttons at the ends of the slider. But there's no Google Assistant (probably due to the ongoing lawsuits). Instead, Sonos' own voice assistant, and Amazon Alexa are available. A switch at the back of the speaker disables the microphone (and voice assistants) for privacy.
The Era 100 also gets Bluetooth, a feature that has been missing from Sonos products (excluding portable speakers like the Roam) for the longest time. Sonos says this was a response to user feedback, though Bluetooth functionality will be disabled if a pair of Era 100s are used as rear surrounds in a Sonos home theatre setup. And Sonos didn't just stop there. There's now a USB-C port, which can be used — with an optional dongle — as a line-in (3.5mm), and also for Ethernet. The Sonos Line-In adapter costs S$39, while the Combo adapter (with both the 3.5mm jack and the Ethernet port) is S$69. Support for line-in is great news if you have a vinyl record player. I only know of one turntable that currently works with Sonos speakers wirelessly. However, you'll pay more (for the dongle) if you prefer wired over wireless connection.
The Era 100 comes with two angled tweeters for improved stereo sound, which is a significant upgrade over the mono Sonos One. But the first thing I noticed is the Era 100's larger midwoofer. The bass from the new speaker is more prominent than you'd expect from this relatively compact speaker. It's almost too much, and at first, I was inclined to turn that down in the Sonos app. However, the bass grows on you — present but never overpowering. The trebles sound crisp and clear, though occasionally, a note or two may seem a tad sharp. For the most part, the Era 100 does an excellent job of reproducing all the voices, and instruments in a track, while keeping them clear and distinct.
You can also now use Trueplay — Sonos' audio calibration feature — on Android smartphones. This Quick Tuning (Fast and easy) option for Trueplay uses the speaker's built-in microphone to tune the sound for the room. Apple users can also choose the Advanced Tuning option (Custom and precise), which involves walking around the room while waving the iPhone or iPad. But frankly, I'm doubt I can tell the difference between the two Trueplay options in a blind test. At least not for the Era 100. The Sonos Era 100 will replace the Sonos One, but not the Sonos One SL, which lacks a microphone. Overall, the newcomer brings enough to the table to justify its higher asking price. Get it now from Lazada, and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Sonos.
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