Earlier this week, Sonos announced two new speakers, the Era 300 and Era 100. The Era 100 is a replacement for the Sonos One, with the One only being available until stock runs out.
The Sonos Era 300 appears to be a new product or a replacement for the long-dead Play:3. The Play:3 was discontinued due to poor sales, with most customers opting for two Play:1.
The Sonos Era 300 changes things due to the new focus on home cinema and its compatibility with Dolby Atmos. For the best home cinema experience, using two Era 300 speakers for your rear will be much better than the Era 100, or even the Sonos 5.
Sonos Era 300 vs Era 100 vs Sonos 5 Specification Compared
|Sonos Era 300||Sonos 5||Sonos Era 100||Sonos One|
|Price||£449||£549||£249 / $249||£199 / $219|
|Speakers||1x forward firing tweeter|
2 x side firing tweeter
1 x upward firing tweeter
2 x angled woofers
|1 x forward firing tweeters|
2 x angled tweeters
3 x forward firing woofers
|2x tweeters, 1x woofer|
Woofer is 25% larger
|1x tweeter, 1x woofer|
|Dolby Atmost / Spacial||Yes||No||No||No|
|Microphone||Far field microphone||No||Far field microphone||Far field microphone|
|Trueplay||Yes & Quick Tuning||Yes||Yes & Quick Tuning||Yes|
|USB-C Adaptors-||3.5mm Line In (£19)|
Combo with 3.5mm and Ethernet (£39)
|N/A||3.5mm Line In (£19)|
Combo with 3.5mm and Ethernet (£39)
|Smart assistants||Alexa, Sonos||No||Alexa, Sonos||Alexa, Sonos|
|Wireless||802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4 GHz/5 GHz)|
|802.11a/b/g/n (2.4/5 GHz)|
|802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4 GHz/5 GHz)|
|802.11a/b/g/n (2.4/5 GHz)
183 x 120 x 131 mm
When will the Sonos Era 500 be launched?
The Sonos 5 was only launched in 2020, so I wouldn’t expect a replacement any time soon. For comparison, the Sonos One launched in 2017, with a Gen 2 being launched in 2019.
The original Sonos One launched before the Sonos Beam and was perhaps not ideally designed for home cinema; therefore, a replacement product makes sense. The Era 100 is clearly designed to be integrated into a home cinema setup.
The Sonos 5 will continue to be the premium option for music and multi-room functionality. The additional woofer it has should help it be a more powerful speaker with a richer sound. However, the Era 300 will now be the go-to option for the best surround sound.
If a Sonos Era 500 is in the works, I’d guess you will have another couple of years to wait.
Sonos Era 300 vs Era 100 vs Sonos 5 for Surround Sound Speakers
Ever since launching a Playbase (which only had optical) and subsequent Beam soundbar, Sonos has been shifting focus to target the home cinema market.
You now have the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and Sonos Arc, which both have Dolby Atmos support thanks to the speaker array that angles the speakers to bounce sound around your room for more immersive audio.
Unlike other surround sound soundbars, Sonos don’t virtualise the rear speakers. You instead need to pair up the soundbar with dedicated rears (which sound better than virtual rears).
The soundbars can also be paired with any of the subwoofers Sonos has launched.
Some brands give you the option to pair up with optional dedicated rears, but Sonos has quite a big advantage here. You can pair up the soundbar with a wide range of Sonos speakers, they just need to be matched up.
For the Beam Gen 2 and Arc, this includes:
Sonos One (including SL), Sonos Five, Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 (Gen 2). You can also use Sonos Amp to power in-wall, in-ceiling, or other passive speakers as surrounds.
Previously, pairing up with the Sonos Five would have been the ideal option if the price was not a consideration.
However, the Era 300 is now by far the best overall option for surround sound speakers as it supports Dolby Atmos. This is due to the array of drivers that are forward, side and upward-firing, which allows it to achieve a 7.1.4 channel setup if you use a subwoofer as well.
If you can’t justify the cost of the Era 300, then the Era 100 will be a better choice over the Sonos One due to the stereo separation, but you won’t get the Dolby Atmos support for the rear channels.
Unsurprisingly, the Sonos Era 300 is by far the best option to pair up with one of the Sonos soundbars to improve your surround sound.
The Era 100 is an excellent alternative and the next best option thanks to the stereo separation compared to the Sonos One.
The Sonos Five was only launched two years ago, so it seems unlikely that an Era 500 will be launched any time soon.
Originally posted on mightygadget.com – Follow on Twitter – Instagram – Facebook – Mighty Gadget Latest Reviews