- Homogeneous, rich and warm sound
- Excellent control of the midrange
- Sonos app is as complete and pleasant as ever
- Good quality voice recording
- Good design
- High-frequency reproduction lacks details
- Absence of Google Assistant and Chromecast
The Era 300 is a wireless, smart, in-wall speaker from Sonos. It stands out thanks to its Dolby Atmos compatibility and an atypical architecture that allows it to create an immersive listening sound.
Introduced with great fanfare in early March 2023, the Era 300 begins a new era for Sonos. First and foremost, it is the brand’s first Dolby Atmos compatible connected speaker. The Era 300 is the first Dolby Atmos-compatible connected speaker from Sonos, with multiple speakers placed around it for the most immersive sound experience possible.
In addition to the usual wifi connectivity, the Era 300 has a Bluetooth chip, a first for a Sonos home speaker. It’s also compatible with the TruePlay auto-calibration system introduced on the Sonos Move. The speaker also benefits from the brand’s many connected features and one of the most advanced multiroom systems available today.
Although it adopts a superior inverted hourglass design, the Era 300 retains the “Sonos style” by maintaining a minimalist look. The speaker is entirely covered in plastic shells, alternating between grills and smooth surfaces, and has two rubber pads on the underside to keep it secure.
The Era 300 shows signs of assembly, especially at the joints between the different plastic plates. This is probably a consequence of the repairability efforts that Sonos has put into developing this speaker, having limited the use of glue as much as possible, which is to its credit. The black finish also tends to retain fingerprints. Despite this, the level of finish remains well within the top of the range.
The Era 300 is a beautiful unit, measuring 16 x 26 x 18.5 cm and weighing no less than 4.5 kg, which needs to be placed on a piece of furniture. On the back are various buttons, a USB-C port and the power socket, with the rest of the controls arranged above the speaker in touch surfaces.
The Era 300 breaks with the 100 per cent wireless heritage of the Californian manufacturer’s previous speakers. It features a USB-C port on its rear, which can be used to connect a mini-jack device, such as a turntable, using an adapter sold separately. An adapter with a mini-jack input and RJ45 port is also available.
But the real innovation is the availability of Bluetooth connectivity! Sonos has finally listened to the complaints of its customers; no more need to be connected to the wifi network to play music. However, there is no multipoint functionality, and the latency is around 220ms. In addition, an initial configuration via a wifi connection is required to activate Bluetooth.
Like all Sonos products, the Era 300 requires the Sonos S2 app to be used for initial setup. Once the speaker is connected to the mains, the app triggers a well-thought-out tutorial to guide novice and experienced users through the process.
Once this first approach is complete, the Era 300 is easily controlled using the various tactile and very responsive buttons, allowing you to navigate, manage playback, volume and activate the voice assistant previously defined in the app. There are two choices: Alexa and Sonos Voice Control. It is impossible to set up Google Assistant, let alone Siri on this Era 300.
While Amazon’s assistant can control many streaming platforms or manage home automation, the Sonos assistant only recognises a few services so far (Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, Pandora and Sonos Radio). It is unable to control the connected objects in your home. However, it is usable over Bluetooth but is limited to simple playback and volume controls.
The Era 300 is powered by the Sonos S2 app, one of the most successful apps. Reliable, rich and very pleasant to use, it includes many options, sometimes a little challenging to access because of the overlapping menus. Nothing too serious, though, as the navigation remains perfectly fluid.
The proposed multiroom solution, although only compatible with the other speakers of the brand, is still very intuitive. It’s possible to manage speaker groups, create a stereo pair with two Era 300s, or use two as rear surround speakers with a Sonos Beam Gen 2 or Arc soundbar to obtain a real Dolby Atmos home cinema system.
The sheer number of services available natively still commands respect. All the most popular platforms are present in the aggregator: Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon Music, Tidal… All are included. Content streaming is done through the proprietary Sonos protocol, AirPlay 2, AlexaCast or Spotify Connect, but not Chromecast.
The Era 300 offers excellent voice recognition. The speaker understands what is being asked of it when it is within 3 metres of the speaker, even in relatively noisy environments, or when it is playing music at 70 per cent of its maximum volume. From a distance of several metres, from behind or from an adjacent room, the Era 300 will assimilate voice commands.
When playing loudly or in a busy room, it is necessary to raise your voice or move a few centimetres closer to the speaker for it to understand our requests. Under these conditions, the trigger word (“Alexa” or “Hey Sonos”) may not be correctly spotted and may need to be repeated, but nothing problematic.
When it comes to pure audio performance, the picture is much more pleasing. Even without calibration, the Era 300 delivers a rich and relatively balanced sound. However, we recommend that you calibrate to gain some clarity, especially on vocals. The advanced calibration, which is only available for iOS devices, seems more accurate than the quick calibration, which tends to overemphasise midrange at the expense of high frequencies.
With or without calibration, the Era 300 shows a particular appetite for low frequencies, which we advise you to curb by lowering the bass level by three or four levels using the equaliser present in the app. With this action by the user, the bass is more relaxed and allows the midrange to be fully expressed. As a result, the Era 300 shows a much more pleasant balance while retaining its warmth. The level of precision is correct: the kicks are chiselled, and all the instruments officiating in the low register are easily identifiable. However, the whole thing lacks control; some attacks can slightly overflow, but nothing too bad.
The Era 300 shows a great mastery of the midrange and upper midrange. These are reproduced with precision and an excellent level of detail. Voices, in particular, come out fully and are always perfectly intelligible, regardless of your listening position. The timbres are perfectly respected.
The high frequencies also have a good presence but could have used more attention. Indeed, the high frequencies lack detail and naturalness. This is probably due to the different sound processing algorithms applied and the folding of the extreme highs.
The Era 300 is an excellent wireless and intelligent speaker that takes advantage of the remarkable Sonos ecosystem, which is still closed. The Era 300 is an excellent wireless and smart speaker that takes advantage of the Sonos ecosystem, which is still very closed. We particularly appreciate the addition of Bluetooth connectivity and the sound quality, which is still very good. As good as it is, we regret that listening to songs mixed in Dolby Atmos is so laborious, especially as the speaker struggles to create a three-dimensional immersive sound quality as promised.
Sonos Era 300. Feel sound all around. With next-level audio, Era 300 doesn’t just surround you, it puts you inside your music. (Black)
|Current Price||£448.99||May 31, 2023|
|Highest Price||£449.00||March 27, 2023|
|Lowest Price||£448.99||May 31, 2023|
Last price changes
|£448.99||May 31, 2023|
|£449.00||March 27, 2023|