Sonos Move 2 Review: Powerful and Punchy Portable Speaker

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Photograph: Sonos

Hi-Res Audio? Maybe Not

Despite Sonos’ efforts to keep the Move 2’s technical specification under wraps, it’s possible to tease out a detail or two during the course of an extended listen. For instance, using Apple equipment to stream to the Sonos (an iPhone 14 Pro and a MacBook Pro running Colibri software) means using AirPlay 2—and the Move 2 is more than happy to take receipt of lossless audio files. But there’s no way of knowing the resolution they end up at once the Sonos DAC has done its thing, of course.

Switching to Bluetooth streaming from an Android Nothing Phone (2), though, reveals that the Move 2 is compatible only with the bog-standard SBC and AAC codecs—so despite the fact the Phone (2) is ready to hand over audio files using the higher-resolution aptX HD, LDAC, or LHDC codecs, the Sonos is not prepared to accept them. So is this, in fact, a high-resolution audio device? It seems unlikely, and Sonos just isn’t saying.

In any case, the technical specs don’t tell you as much about a speaker’s performance as sitting down and listening to it does. And while Sonos has made things difficult for the Move 2 in a number of ways (its size, its weight, and its cost, to name a few), there’s no question that this is a speaker that never sounds less than good, and in the right circumstances it can sound very good indeed.

If you’re listening indoors, make sure loudness is switched off in the control app before Trueplay does its thing. (Indoors, it makes the speaker sound muscle-bound and plodding; outside, the lack of physical boundaries makes loudness a good idea). And that’s about the extent of the preparation that’s required. After that, just stream your favorite tunes using your preferred method, and the Move 2 has a lot of pertinent observations to make about them.

Convincing, Unified Sound

From the antiquated charms of Fanny’s “Hey Bulldog” as a Bluetooth stream via TIDAL to the slightly more contemporary allure of “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs delivered as a hi-res file via the laptop, the Sonos is an observant, detailed, and periodically quite insightful listen. It keeps a close eye on the minor and transient occurrences in a recording, giving them appropriate weight and context—and as a result, you never feel as if you’re missing out on any vital information.

Tonality is convincing from the top of the frequency range to the bottom, with a nice evenhandedness that makes the Move 2 sound unified rather than a collection of several individual components. There’s substance to complement the bite and shine at the top of the frequency range, good control of the bottom end (as long as the loudness control rules have been observed), so that rhythmic expression is naturalistic and convincing, and a proper degree of insight and understanding through the midrange. No matter how accomplished (or otherwise) a vocalist might be, the Sonos grants them a stack of character and expression—so even FKA Twigs’ whispered and muttered imprecations are disclosed in full.

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