Sonos Move 2 review: The best rugged smart speaker gets betterReading Time: 4 minutes
Sonos rarely misses, and its first ruggedized, weather-resistant smart speaker, the Sonos Move, was no exception. This year, it released the Sonos Move 2, a sequel that looks, on the outside, pretty much identical to its predecessor, but that has improvements under the hood that make an already excellent speaker even better.
This is a direct follow-up to the Sonos Move that was originally released in 2019. It offers the same durable external case as the original, plus IP56 water resistance, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity for integration into your Sonos system, as well as Bluetooth connectivity for flexibility on the go. There’s AirPlay 2 built in, and automatic Trueplay for getting the best sound out of the speaker regardless of your environment. Voice control is included, with options for voice assistants including Sonos’ own, as well as Alexa (Google Assistant is not available, though it was for the first generation).
There’s a USB-C port on the back that works for both charging as well as for line in (new to this version, this works with Sonos’ USB-C to 3.5mm aux adapter) and it can also charge using the included charging base, which also gets an update to support a new removable USB-C based end on the side of the cable that goes into the included charging brick.
Sonos has improved the internals of the Move 2 with two tweeters instead of one, separated by a fair amount of distance inside the case, and there’s also a better battery — offering up to 24 hours of continuous playback on just one charge, which is more than double the expected battery life of the first generation.
The Move 2 resembles the original almost entirely, though there is a new Olive color option in addition to black (more black than the original) and white, and all the colorways apply to even details like the raised Sonos logo, which pop in white in the older version. It features a ruggedized, matte finish exterior paint and rubberized base and top, with solid metal construction for the frame and exterior wraparound grill. A large, weighted base helps it stay firmly anchored where you rest it regardless of weather, and it’s drop-resistant in case you do manage to topple it over, maybe while dancing in the rain.
Touch controls are on top, including play/pause, back, forward and a volume slider in a recessed groove. There’s also a mute/unmute control if you have the microphone and voice assistants active. One tip from experience on the touch controls — it’s best to disable them if you’re using it in the rain or where it could get splashed with water, as that will activate them on occasion. My neighbors all discovered this at three in the morning one summer when Christmas music started blaring at full volume, using the original Move.
There’s a built-in handle on the back of the Move 2, which doubles as a mount point for use with Sonos’ first-party wall mounts. The weight is the same as the first version at 6.61 lbs, which is especially impressive given the much-improved battery life. It’s a big, relatively heavy portable speaker, but it uses all that additional space and weight to provide much, much better sound than you can expect out of any smaller rugged outdoor Bluetooth speaker you might pick up, even at comparable prices.
Speaking of sound, the Move 2 sounds fantastic. It’s a great upgrade in the auditory department, and the original Move is still a terrific-sounding speaker in its own right. The biggest difference here is the additional depth and quality that results from adding that second tweeter and getting some significant physical distance between the two in the case, which provides a sound stage separation that just wasn’t possible on the first version.
For context, I’ve been using two original Move speakers as outdoor speakers for the past two years (more on that later re: durability) and they sound outstanding when set up as a stereo pair. I also used each of these in a separate location as outdoor and indoor speakers at our wedding on their own. The sound was great and space-filling in both cases, but they excel in stereo. The new Move 2 can get much closer than before to the quality of the original Move configured in a stereo pair — though there’s still nothing like actual significant space between tweeters for true stereo separation, so if you’re looking to maximize that, it’s worth considering picking up two of this generation as well.
The fact that Move 2 is the best outdoor speaker you can buy in terms of pure sound quality, while also retaining excellent durability and battery life, might be enough to convince most buyers, but the durability point should be emphasized. As mentioned, I have used the original Move outdoors for more than two years now — and I’ve been using them continuously like that, in Toronto. That means they’ve sat outside with partial cover (an overhang that still allows a lot of precipitation to hit them) through at least two winter/spring/summer/fall cycles, in temperatures ranging from around 0 F to around 100 F, in all different kinds of snow, sleet, rain and hail.
Both the speakers still work perfectly, with relatively little exterior weathering. The USB-C port on one unfortunately failed a few months ago, but I just place it on its charging based on a table (again, outside) and it continues to work exactly as designed. That failure is not a failure of the product, I should note: This is directly against how Sonos says these should be used, since they’re designed for occasional outdoor use, not continuous, plugged in outdoor exposure to the elements.
The Move 2 carries over the same exterior design and IP56 rating, so I would expect it to weather the outdoors at least as well — which is to say it well exceeds all posted manufacturer specs in practice.
Sonos Move 2 also packs in some excellent nice-to-have upgrades, like the line-in functionality, and the detachable USB-C charging base, which makes it much more convenient to move it around and charge it with the charging hardware you have with you wherever you end up. Connectivity is flawless, which is another area where Sonos consistently delivers.
The Sonos Move already arguably had no peer, even four years in. The Sonos Move 2 raises that bar even higher, basically lapping the competition with solid upgrades in all the areas that matter most. If you have $449 to spare and are looking for a speaker that delivers excellent, space-filling sound with quality and depth both indoors and out, definitely pick up one of these — you won’t regret it.
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