The Sonos Five has been long considered one of the best speakers for some time, but had been lacking some of the more modern day features that other Sonos speakers had introduced. Enter, the Sonos Era 300, which in my mind is the spiritual successor to the Sonos Era 300 and a really great speaker.
Design-wise, the Sonos Era 300 is not only unlike anything else that Sonos released, but any speaker that I’ve personally seen. It’s an unusual shape because of the amounts of tweeters and woofers featured. It’s quite eye catching in its unusual shape, but if this what you’re after is a discreet looking speaker, this definitely isn’t it.
The speaker features a tweeter on the front, two on each side and also an up-firing speaker that is used to reflect Dolby Atmos audio off the ceiling. Spatial Audio is all the rage at the moment, as detailed in our recent HomePod review and when utilised well here, it really makes for a world of difference. It’s hard to put into words, but it really just makes the audio sound alive, giving instruments different levels of audio, and making them sound like they’re coming from different parts of the room.
The downside of this is that because not a lot of songs have been mixed using Dolby Atmos, great examples are few and far between, and there’s a big difference between a song that has been mixed well and ones that haven’t at all, or have been mixed awfully and make the balance between voice and instruments sound uneven.
When not utilising Dolby Atmos, the speaker still sounds phenomenal when listening to music. Unlike the Sonos Era 100, it’s really able to fill a large room, penetrating almost every room in my house with it’s incredible bass and the ability to go loud without losing clarity in the audio. $750 is a steep price for most, but I’d say with certainty that you won’t be disappointed with placing one of these in your house from an audio point of view.
You’re able to pair two Sonos Era 300 speakers as surrounds with your Sonos Arc/Beam and when paired with an Arc and a sub, you’re getting full 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos surround sound. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test this yet as we only have one Sonos Era 300, but we’d expect a decent result given what we’ve been able to hear with one unit. Granted though, to buy all four of these items, you’re looking at nearly $4,000 so it’s getting expensive.
Much like the Sonos Era 100, he controls have been completely re-designed on the Era 300. The volume is now controlled by a slider that you can run your finger across to make larger adjustments or just tap on each edge to make smaller adjustments. The play/pause and backward/forward buttons are now totally seperate.
The connectivity of the Sonos Era 300 has been drastically improved with both Bluetooth and line-in functionality now being an option. You’re able to enable Bluetooth with a button at the back of a device, for connecting to your phone (if you’re out of your home network) or devices such as your PC.
In huge news for those with vinyl players, there’s also line-in functionality thanks to a USB-C port on the back, although you will need to purchase a line-in adaptor for $35, but I’m still so thankful to see this functionality as it means you can connect a vinyl player, then send it to the rest of your house. The Sonos Era 300 pairs really nicely with a vinyl player in particular if that’s one of the primary reasons that you’re using it.
You’re also able to use smart assistants including Sonos Voice Control which works pretty decently for music or adjusting the volume, and you’re also able to use Amazon Alexa both to play music, but also control smart devices around the home. Interestingly, Google Assistant isn’t included on the Sonos Era 300, and we wouldn’t hold our breaths to see it returning at any point.
Sonos has very clearly understood that not everyone is into having a microphone that’s always listening, so they’ve provided two ways to control it. A button on the top allows you to turn voice assistant on or off, but will allow the microphone to keep working for Trueplay, but a switch on the back totally allows you to turn the microphone off all together.
Speaking of Trueplay, there’s now two types. Quick Tuning uses the microphone (without any external device) to quickly tune the speaker based on its current location. This is a great solution particularly for those on Android. Sonos now calls its traditional tuning method ‘Advanced Tuning’ which is still only available on iOS devices, and it’s absolutely still my recommended way of tuning your speaker, more-so than ever with the Era 300 as it really places an importance of knowing how your room is set out.
Really, it comes down to whether you want to be on the forefront of audio or not. If you want to be set for the future, the Sonos Era 300 is a no-brainer, but if you’re just wanting a great sounding speaker, the Sonos Era 100 is absolutely fantastic and $250 cheaper.
The Sonos Era 300 is set to fulfil your audio needs far into the future. It has a great, full sound, and expanded connectivity to be useful in any scenario. Whilst Dolby Atmos audio is still in its infancy, there's not a better way to take advantage of it than the Sonos Era 300.
Full Sound To Fill The Whole House
Dolby Atmos Sounds Amazing When The Mix Is Good
Pricey For Two As Surrounds
GOOD Dolby Atmos Mixes Are Still Few And Far Between