The Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) is one of the affordable Bluetooth speakers from Bang & Olufsen and boasts an impressive spec lineup. It supports Alexa, has a compact form factor, and is pretty loud for its size. Similarly, the Sonos Roam is an affordable and portable Bluetooth speaker packing features like Alexa & Google Assistant support, Automatic Switching, and more. Above all, both are premium and versatile Bluetooth speakers.
Is the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) better than the Sonos Roam? Or is the feature-set of the Sonos Roam above the Beosound A1?
Well, that’s what we will find in this post today as we compare the new generation Beosound A1 against the Sonos Roam and see which one fits your requirement better.
Since it’s going to be a long post, let’s get going, shall we? But before that, check out these speaker-related posts,
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Design and Connectivity
The Beosound A1 and Sonos Roam are premium speakers with elegant and smooth looks. The Beosound A1 carries a doughnut-like shape with upward-firing speakers. It barely weighs 1.2lbs, which makes it easy to toss it in your backpack or tote bag when traveling.
It’s a premium speaker and packs an aluminum finish, something which is absent in most affordable Bluetooth speakers. The best part is that it comes with a leather strap in a complimenting color. The strap makes it convenient to carry the speaker in your hand or hang it by bike handles. Not that I would want to hang a premium device by a strap. But then, that’s just me. Other than that, all the buttons are marked.
Interestingly, this premium speaker comes with Bluetooth 5.1, which translates into a better range and more bandwidth. It also supports Microsoft Swift Pair and Google Fast Pair to hasten the pairing process. And yes, the former also helps when attending video conferences.
While the Beosound A1 delivers a loud sound (more on that later), you can always pair two Beosound A1 together to enhance the overall audio output. The only limitation is that both speakers have to be 2nd generation speakers. And yes, it’s a waterproof speaker.
On the other hand, the Sonos Roam is a cylindrical speaker. And it justifies its high price tag with its premium and polished look. It’s a cylindrical speaker with speaker grills on either side. The triangular design gives you the advantage of using it both vertically and horizontally.
Though it features an elegant look, it’s not delicate, and comes with its share of ruggedness. And like the Beosound A1, it’s also a dustproof and waterproof Bluetooth speaker.
Compared to its competitor, it’s a bit on the bigger side. But the light form factor means you can carry it easily. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that it lacks a strap or handle that is common with some Sonos speakers.
The Sonos Roam uses Bluetooth 5.0. It supports Qi-wireless charging. So, if you have a compatible Qi-wireless pad, you can just lay the speaker on top to juice it up. Sonos also has a dedicated wireless charger pad that costs an additional sum.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 is a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a smart Alexa speaker. You can ask Alexa-specific voice commands to play music from Amazon Music. Interestingly, it accomplishes the smart-speaker part through Bluetooth and not Wi-Fi. And together with Bluetooth 5.1 and the Beosound A1’s far-field microphone tech, you can wake up Alexa from afar.
However, the smart features are a tad limited. For instance, you can’t play songs from streaming services like Tidal or Spotify. Again, setting up Alexa is a long process, and you will need to log in to the in-house Bang & Olufsen app. That said, Alexa is attentive, and if you have a query or a voice command, you can say it from a little distance.
Regarding smart features, the Sonos Roam takes it a little further and brings Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support to the table. It’s a Wi-Fi speaker as well. However, the features that make it stand out are features like Automatic Switching, Sound Swap, and intuitive controls.
For example, Automatic Switching ensures that the speaker connects automatically to Wi-Fi when you step inside your house. And when you are on the move again, it will switch back to Bluetooth, thus saving you from the redundant process of re-pairing and connecting. On the other hand, the Sound Swap feature comes into the picture if you already have other Sonos speakers. Using it, you can swap songs with the nearest Sonos speaker.
The Sonos Roam is a portable speaker designed to fit seamlessly in a multi-Sonos speaker arrangement. The folks at the Express suggest that the Sonos One, Play:5, and the Roam automatically connect whenever they assemble in a room.
No speaker is worth the money if the battery dies in a short period. Thankfully, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 doesn’t disappoint and comes with 18-hour long battery life. Of course, it will vary as per the volume levels. If you play music at high volumes for a long time, the battery will plummet sooner.
The good news is that the real-world scenario of the Beosound A1 almost resembles the rated battery life. The folks at T3 could get the battery percentage to only 80% after playing music for 8 hours straight. And yes, you will always be able to see the amount of battery left in the companion app.
Compared to the Beosound A1, the battery on the Sonos Roam is short. Sonos rates the battery at 10 hours. And since this speaker supports Wi-Fi, the battery life drops faster when you are on a Wi-Fi connection or if you access Alexa more. If you are purely on Bluetooth when out of doors, the battery level won’t drop as fast.
On the upside, it has an aggressive energy-saving mechanism. When not in active use, the Roam goes to sleep to save energy. And when you need it, you can launch the Sonos app on your phone. That’s it. No toggling off/on switches manually.
Lastly, both speakers charge via USB-C.
Bang & Olufsen and Sonos have made quite the mark for their speaker performance, and the Beosound A1 and the Roam are no different. As noted earlier, the Beosound A1 drivers a loud audio output for its size. And the story doesn’t just end there.
It delivers dynamic audio. The sound is full, crisp, and clear. At the same time, the bass is intense, and it’s a delight to listen to bass-heavy songs or songs with complex beats & instruments. The folks at T3 opine that the bass is deep enough to rattle the surface. Now, that’s something, right?
Surprisingly, the Beosound A1 supports AAC and AptX (adaptive) Bluetooth codecs. If you have researched Bluetooth speakers, you may already know these codecs are difficult to come by in this category.
As opposed to the bass-intensive output of the Beosound A1, the Sonos Roam doesn’t have an assertive bass. However, the audio delivery is smooth and crisp. More importantly, it can handle complex instruments and songs like a pro.
The feature that makes the Roam stand out from its peers is Trueplay. Trueplay automatically optimizes the speaker’s output as per the surroundings using its built-in mics. It ensures that the music you hear has all the right tones even when you are in an echo-ey place or moving from room to room.
While the Roam sounds great in medium-sized rooms, it lacks the oomph to get into the party speaker space. On the upside, you can pair two Roam speakers for stereo sound.
Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) vs Sonos Roam
If you already have a Sonos speaker, it makes sense to get the Sonos Roam to get the most out of the multi-room experience. And features like Auto Swap and TruePlay add to the value of the speaker.
More importantly, the audio quality is rich and packs a decent punch. Although it doesn’t have as much punch as its peer, it does the job of filling up an average room. Besides that, the controls are highly intuitive.
However, if you want the occasional Alexa features and can do without the frills, the Beosound A1 is the perfect one for your need. It delivers dynamic audio and a new dimension to your favorite music tracks. And truth be told, it packs a premium look.
Last updated on 30 July, 2022
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