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Sonos Roam SL drops the mic with a $159 price tag and all the portability

The Sonos Roam SL ditches the built-in microphone and voice-assistant smarts in favor of being the cheapest Sonos speaker to date.
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Written by June Wan, Tech Editor on
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Image: Sonos

Sonos today unveiled the Roam SL, the company's follow-up to the original Roam portable speaker. It's the cheapest offering from Sonos, ringing in at $159 ($20 less than the Roam), but still comes equipped with most of the audio hardware and sound quality found in the original. The difference is the omission of the built-in microphones, typically used for voice assistant controls and Sonos' Trueplay -- a feature that uses the microphone to adjust and fine-tune the speaker's audio by listening to the ambiance.

More: Best Bluetooth speakers: Sonos Roam stands tall

If you can shrug off the lack of a mic, then the Roam SL is essentially the same speaker as its predecessor, which is a good thing. The portable speaker can be paired via Bluetooth or WiFi for at-home or on-the-go listening, and comes in the familiar triangular shape for a form factor that's easy to carry around or be placed atop any surface. Roam SL also features an IP67 rating for dust and waterproofing up to a meter deep for half an hour. The certification is more than enough if you plan on using the speaker at the beach, by the poolside, or in the rain and shower. 

Most importantly, Sonos states that like the original Roam, which we recommend as the best Bluetooth speaker right now, the Roam SL produces the same rich and detailed sound profile found on higher-end and larger speakers -- and a 10-hour battery life. If you wish to charge the Roam SL wirelessly instead of USB-C, the Sonos Roam Wireless Charger can be purchased separately for $49.

The Roam SL goes on sale starting March 15 for $159 in Shadow Black and Lunar White, with preorders happening today on the Sonos website. For those seeking an ultraportable speaker with Sonos' sound signature for less, the Roam SL is one to consider. But if you need the added benefits of microphones, then the original, $179 Sonos Roam is a useful alternative.

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