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Sonos Roam SL review: Mic-free variant

Sonos Roam SL review: Mic-free variant

Sonos Roam SL

The Sonos Roam SL is a portable wireless speaker that sounds fuller than its compact size would suggest. It's the microphone-free version of last year's Sonos Roam, which saves you S$30, but you'll lose some features like voice assistant support and Sonos Trueplay. Go for it if you already have a Sonos Roam and want a second speaker for stereo sound. You'll save S$30 doing so, but I feel Trueplay is essential for that Sonos experience. If you're using a single speaker, especially indoors, I would suggest the Roam (S$329) over the SL (S$299).

Quick specs

  • 1 mid-woofer, 1 tweeter and 2 Class-H amplifiers
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • Dimensions: 62mm x 52mm x 161mm; Weight: 423g

The lack of a microphone means that the Roam SL doesn't have a voice assistant, and more importantly, no Trueplay, which is Sonos' audio tuning feature. You also cannot swap the currently-playing song between another Sonos speaker and the Roam SL. Personally, the lack of Trueplay is my bigger concern than not having the Google Assistant. But if you will mostly use the SL outdoors, at a BBQ for example, Trueplay probably isn't necessary. Otherwise, the Roam SL is identical to the Roam, from the rugged (IP67 water and dust resistance) and compact build to the speaker configuration to the 10-hour battery life.

Sonos Roam SL
Physically the Roam SL is identical to the Roam, but there's no microphone button above the playback controls. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

To my surprise, the bass is stronger than expected in the Roam SL — you can literally feel the speaker vibrating. The mids, too, come across clearly. The Roam SL appear to have a similar sound signature as other Sonos speakers. I switched midway through a song from my Sonos Beam to the SL using the app, and the sound appeared identical — the transition was seamless, too. Obviously, the SL doesn't offer as much sound separation compared to the Beam because of its size. The SL is decently loud indoors, but less so outdoors — it also sounds strained at higher volumes. You can, however, pair two Roam SL or a Roam and an SL together for a stereo effect.

Sonos Roam SL
The SL is about as tall as a 500ml can, and almost as heavy at 423g. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The Sonos app is arguably the best in the audio business. It was a breeze to set up the Roam SL — the app found the SL quickly and I could integrate it with my existing Sonos system. Besides Wi-Fi, the SL also supports Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2 for when you're outside without a Wi-Fi connection. You can charge the SL via its single USB-C port. Or place it on any Qi wireless charging pad. In my testing, the SL's battery dipped by 15% after 2 hours at 50% volume, which sounds roughly in line with the 10-hour battery life claim.

At S$299, the Sonos Roam SL is slightly cheaper than the Roam (S$329), albeit without the microphone. You'll get great sound (for the size) with either model, though the Roam will probably sound better indoors due to its Trueplay tuning feature. More importantly, the SL has the battery life to comfortably get you through your BBQ. Get the Roam SL now from official distributor TC Acoustic on its website and on its Shopee store front.

See Also
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000

Note: Review unit provided by Sonos.

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Slightly cheaper mic-free version that still sounds great.

Buy it from TC Acoustic
Buy it at Shopee

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