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Sonos Era 300 review: BIG sounds all around

Our Rating :
£449.00 from
Price when reviewed : £450
inc VAT

Another first-class wireless speaker from Sonos – the only thing wrong with the Era 300 is its lack of Google Assistant support


  • Impactful sound
  • Superb flexibility
  • Looks fantastic


  • No Google Assistant support
  • Expensive

The Sonos Era 300 is something of a landmark product for the multiroom audio specialist. Although the company has produced multichannel products for home cinema, this is the first one that’s primarily designed for multichannel “spatial” audio. With tweeters firing in all different directions, plus support for Dolby Atmos and Apple’s Spatial Audio technology, the Era 300 treads a different path to every Sonos speaker that has gone before it.

Despite all the innovation that has gone into the speaker and its rather outlandish arrangement of drivers, the Era 300 manages to deliver the superb audio quality we’ve come to expect from Sonos. That, combined with Sonos’ traditional strengths in multiroom audio, its room-tuning technology and the flexibility to use the speaker as a rear in a Dolby Atmos system along with a Sonos Arc or Beam 2, makes this a wireless speaker to be reckoned with.

Sonos Era 300 review: What do you get for the money?

The size and the price of the Era 300 certainly indicate that it’s a serious piece of equipment. Buy one Era 300 and it will set you back a hefty £449. Buy two as a stereo pair (or rears in a Dolby Atmos setup) and you can save a bit but they’ll cost you £853.

For that, you’re getting quite an imposing lump of plastic. Available in black or white, like the rest of the Sonos range, the Era 300 is reminiscent of a small African Djembe drum laid down on its side.

It’s pretty chunky, measuring 260 x 185 x 160mm (WDH), weighs 4.5kg and houses no fewer than six drivers. The four tweeters and two woofers are each backed by their own class-D amplifier and are designed to produce audio that both fills your room and is capable of positioning it accurately within that space.

Beneath the oval grille at the front is one tweeter, embedded in the centre of a gently flared wave dispersal guide, while the remaining three are located at the rear of the speaker housing, under another grille that wraps around most of the circumference of the speaker body. Two of those tweeters fire sideways to the left and right to create stereo effects and the last one, loaded in a short, upward-firing horn, bounces sound waves off the ceiling to add the extra height effects that are associated with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio.

For bass, meanwhile, you have a pair of woofers at the bottom of the housing, again firing to the left and the right. It’s an unusual arrangement but one that, as you’ll see below, works remarkably well.

Build quality is superb. The speaker housing is rigid and vibration-free and it all sits on a pair of thick rubber rails that run laterally across the speaker’s base. Once you plonk it down on a surface, this thing is going absolutely nowhere. Alternatively, you can use the two threaded inserts on the base to mount the Sonos Era 300 on one of Sonos’ proprietary stands.

You might want to look for a third-party solution once you see the price of these, however. The floor stands come in at £149 for one or £279 for a pair, while the wall mounts are £79 for one and £129 for a pair.

The physical controls for the Sonos Era 300 mimic those provided on the Era 100 and are all touch-based and located on the top panel toward the front. The cleverest touch is the slightly indented volume track, which lets you drag your finger left and right to adjust the volume, but there’s also a full collection of other controls here: in front of the volume track are three touch-sensitive buttons for pause/play and skip back/forwards; behind it is a button for enabling or disabling the voice assistant.

The only other controls on the exterior of the speaker are a Bluetooth pairing button on the rear and an electrical microphone shut-off for those concerned about privacy. The latter sits next to the figure-of-eight AC power input port and a USB-C socket that allows you to hook up an analogue source using an adapter.

As for wireless connectivity, there’s Bluetooth of course – something Sonos speakers didn’t used to have, so brownie points to the company for adding it here – but most connections will be made over Wi-Fi, where the Era 300 supports Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.

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Sonos Era 300 review: Is it easy to set up and use?

Otherwise, it’s standard Sonos fare, most of which I like. Set up is super simple. You just download the Sonos app, set up an account (if you don’t have one already) and add the speaker. The software takes care of everything else, including the Trueplay room tuning, which automatically tunes the speaker so it sounds great wherever it’s positioned.

You don’t have to run Trueplay if you don’t want to, but it’s well worth doing as it improves the audio quality no end. And the good news is that there’s now a way for Android phone owners to take advantage of the technology.

With previous generations of Sonos speakers, such as the One, the Three and the Five, you had to have an iPhone or iPad to hand to do this. You’d wander around your room while the speaker played a test tone, and the microphone on your device would record the sound waves as they were emitted by the speaker and reflected off the walls and other surfaces in your room.

You still can’t carry out this process with an Android phone but you do have another option during setup: Trueplay Quick Tune, which uses the microphones in the speaker to measure how the test tone sounds in your room. Note, though, I found that this isn’t quite as effective as the old way (now called Trueplay Advanced), so it remains preferable to find a friend with an iPhone.

Once everything is up and running on your network and the speaker is tuned, it’s simply a case of linking the Sonos app to your various music services and voice assistants, and this is where the Sonos system comes into its own.

The first thing to note is that Sonos has dropped Google Assistant from the Era generation of smart speakers but, other than that, it’s superbly flexible. There’s still support for two voice assistants, Amazon Alexa and the Sonos voice assistant, the latter of which can be used for playing, pausing and searching for music without the need to run a full-blown voice assistant. All processing for Sonos voice assistant commands takes place on the device itself, so you have no worries about your voice recordings ending up in the cloud somewhere – and the best thing is that the default voice is that of none other than Breaking Bad and Mandalorian star, Giancarlo Esposito.

As for music, you can of course play that via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi via AirPlay 2 without having to have a Sonos account, but the best way is to just give in and use the Sonos app. It’s also the only way to make the most of Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio from Amazon Music and Apple Music.

Not that this is any kind of imposition, because the Sonos app is excellent. It integrates all the major audio streaming services fully, from Spotify to Tidal and even Bandcamp. It lets you search for music across all of your linked services at once, build cross-service playlists, and even play music from local network music servers.

And, of course, the app is where you can manage multiple Sonos speakers, add and remove them from groups or stereo pairs, and play music to one or several of them at once. As I mentioned previously, if you own a Sonos Arc you can add a pair of Era 300 speakers to act as the rear channels (with both left, right and left height and right height channels) and you’ll have yourself a complete 7.1.4 system. That’s rather expensive, though – the full package costs £2,466 – and it’s probably too much audio for many rooms, too.

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Sonos Era 300 review: How does it sound?

The Sonos Era 300 is, to put it bluntly, a fabulous-sounding wireless speaker. It absolutely flies with all types of music, but feed it some Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio material and it sounds sublime.

When I first listened to the Era 300 at a pre-launch demo, it sounded a little thin in the mid-range to my ears but, once I’d started listening to it properly, with the speaker tuned to my room, that sense vanished quickly. Melody Gardot’s mellifluous vocals on “My One and Only Thrill” were reproduced in all their silky glory, every breath picked out with deft subtlety, never veering into shrillness or harshness.

The orchestral backing parts were handled equally well, delivering impressive scale without ever swamping the all-important singing. It’s a well-balanced performance that carried through to other genres. Six by Seven’s “Eat Junk Become Junk” takes things up a notch, with the Era 300 delivering the thundering bassline, multiple layers of distorted guitars and Chris Olley’s strained vocals with poise and a good sense of instrument separation.

Fire up a track with distinct left and right such as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and there’s a clear sense of left and right, even playing on just one speaker. And with Dolby Atmos audio, there’s even more sense of space to your music. I switched between standard and Atmos versions of several of the tracks on Apple’s “Electronic in Spatial Audio” playlist and the difference on every track was palpable, with cleaner bass and a far greater sense of three-dimensionality to the music.

With some tracks, I did feel the tweeter/woofer setup robbed the music of a teeny bit of body, and I felt that deeper bass could have done with a bit more control and smoothness, but this was in comparison with my main audio setup, which costs a good deal more than one or even two Sonos Era 300 speakers.

Sonos Era 300 review: Is there anything it could do better?

It’s hard to think of a single thing that the Sonos Era 300 could do better, other than be a little cheaper. This is a wireless speaker that can party with the best of them, rock out or deliver something a little more sedate in those moments when you want to sit back and relax.

Its flexibility, moreover, is second to none. It can be used on its own, in a stereo pair, as part of a bigger multiroom setup or even as part of a Dolby Atmos home theatre system – you choose – and the Sonos app makes customising your setup a breeze.

In short, the Sonos Era 300 is probably the best streaming speaker money can buy right now. It’s irritating that Sonos has dropped support for Google Assistant but otherwise, it’s pretty much a flawless performance.

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