There’s a trick that hi-fi companies sometimes do when demoing products: They set up several systems in the same room, with speakers of various sizes present, and then play some tunes. When people start nodding their heads in approval of the sound, the company rep reveals that it’s actually the smaller set of speakers producing the sound, leaving everyone in awe at their performance.
You could easily do a similar trick with the Sonos Era 300. It’s the new smart speaker from Sonos, nested in between the Era 100 and the Sonos Five, and it singlehandedly produces sound that can often match larger speakers, perhaps even entire hi-fi systems.
The Sonos Era 300 is the company’s first speaker to support spatial audio and, like most other Sonos speakers, can be integrated with other audio products from the brand, but is designed to work perfectly fine on its own.
Having had a single Era 300 speaker for review the last couple of weeks, I can say that it achieves this feat wonderfully. But I wasn’t as thrilled when I first pulled the Era 300 out of the box.
The Era 300 is quite big, much larger in size than any other smart speaker I ever had at home. It’s also heavy; at 4.47kg it’s still fairly portable, but it’s not something you’ll want to move around very often. Design-wise, it’s quite different from most speakers, which are portrait-oriented; the Era 300 is wider than it is taller, and looks a bit like a speaker that was placed on its side. And though it has tons of fancy tech inside – six amps, four tweeters, and two woofers – on the outside it’s covered in fairly bland, white plastic (it also comes in black; I haven’t seen that variant in person). It doesn’t look bad, but it suffers in comparison both with hi-fi speakers which are typically clad in wood, and Apple’s HomePods which are far more elegant and covered in a mesh material that’s soft to the touch.
A small design flaw: if you want to connect a source to the Era 300 via a 3.5mm audio jack, you’ll need to use an adapter that’s sold separately.