The new Sonos Roam is the most versatile portable speaker you can buy, full stop. It works great on the go, no doubt, but unlike other speakers on this list, it also connects over Wi-Fi in addition to Bluetooth. This not only offers improved sound quality, but it also lets the Roam double as a smart speaker for Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, as well as connecting to other Sonos speakers in a multi-room setup.
As for sound quality, the Roam is an absolute ringer for its size and specs. It offers warm and smooth sound with great detail and way more bass response than you’d expect from a six-inch tube. From the moment we pressed play on the Roam, we were amazed by not only how good it sounds, but how big. Occasionally its sound gets a little heavy in the midrange, and its fidelity is best at about mid-volume (it loses some luster at low volume), but it's easy to adjust the EQ to taste. What's more, the speaker's True Volume feature helps it adjust the sound to its environment.
When it comes to serious bass, it won't keep up with bigger sound tubes such as Ultimate Ears’ hefty Megaboom 3, nor does it have the same 360-degree sound field. At just 10 hours of playback time, its battery life is a fair bit lower, too. But it’s also a lot easier to take along.
The rubberized exterior feels good in your hand, and it even fits perfectly in your backpack’s water bottle holster. The rugged front grill keeps the interior parts safe, as does the IP67 dust and water resistance, allowing it to keep dust out and sit in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes—something you don’t usually expect from a Wi-Fi speaker. Its Bluetooth range on the road is also substantial—we were able to walk nearly an entire practice field before it started to cut out.
Because this is a Sonos speaker, you’ll also get the convenience of Sonos Wi-Fi setup, the loaded Sonos 2 app (compatible with 100+ streaming services), and the ability to not only group with other Sonos siblings, but also swap sound from Bluetooth playback, and more.
In short, this is an easy pick for the best portable waterproof speaker. While its cost may be a bit high, if you want a speaker that does it all—and sounds darn good doing it—the Roam is it.