Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Sonos cuts voice assistants on the go for the Roam SL

If you want a Sonos to take with you but don’t care about talking to it using Google or Alexa, the Roam SL could save a few bucks.

We’re always fans of saving money, and sometimes, companies have the bright idea of removing features you might not actually need to create a new product that lets you do just that.

For instance, if you loved the idea of a Sonos multiroom speaker to go in the Sonos Move, but didn’t quite need the size on offer, last year Sonos released a variant in the smaller Sonos Roam.

However, that still arrived with a feature not everyone will want or need: microphones for smart assistants.

That’s something Sonos includes on quite a few of its speakers to let you call out directions to either the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and have it tell you things or control your music. They’re missing in action on some Sonos speakers, namely IKEA Sonos speakers such as the Symfonisk Picture Frame, as well as the Sonos “speechless” SL models.

And now, Sonos is cutting them on the Roam, with a variant of the Roam cutting the mics entirely and likely saving a few bucks in the process.

This week, Sonos has announced the Roam SL, which is basically the same as the Sonos Roam portable speaker we checked out last year — and won a best-of tech award for Pickr in 2021 — but has the microphones removed, so you can’t talk to it or do the automatic True Play tuning feature that worked on the previous model.

Other than that, the Sonos Roam SL is largely the same, offering the same speaker system, up to 10 hours of battery life, support for wireless charging in the bottom, and a water and dust resistance rated to IP67.

In short, the Sonos Roam SL is basically the same Sonos Roam as last year, but without the mics. It can even be stereo paired to another Sonos Roam or just another Roam SL, dealer’s choice.

What Sonos hasn’t said yet is how much it will end up costing in Australia.

Overseas in the US, the Sonos Roam SL has been priced literally $20 less expensive, with the Roam costing $179 in the US, and the Roam SL at $159. Here in Australia, the Sonos Roam costs $299 at retail, suggesting (to us) that the Roam SL could come in around $269, saving people those aforementioned few dollars.

Unfortunately, there’s no word quite when that will happen, but stay tuned in the next couple of months, because our guess is it’ll happen soon.

Read next