Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) vs Sonos Roam: Which Bluetooth speaker is better

The Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) is one of Bang & Olufsen’s affordable Bluetooth speakers and boasts an impressive range of specs. It supports Alexa, has a compact form factor, and is quite loud for its size. Similarly, the Sonos Roam is an affordable and portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with features like Alexa and Google Assistant support, auto-switching, and more. Above all, both are high-end 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 superior to the Beosound A1?

Well, that’s what we’ll find in this review today as we compare the next-gen Beosound A1 to the Sonos Roam and see which suits your needs best.

Since this is going to be a long article, let’s get to it, okay? But before that, check out these speaker related posts,

Design and connectivity

The Beosound A1 and Sonos Roam are premium speakers with a sleek, slick look. The Beosound A1 has a donut-like shape with upward-firing drivers. It weighs just 1.2 lbs, making it easy to pack in your backpack or tote bag when traveling.

This is a premium speaker that comes in an aluminum finish, which is missing from most affordable Bluetooth speakers. The best part is that it comes with a matching color leather strap. The strap makes it easy to carry the speaker in your hand or hang it on bike handles. Not that I want to hang a high-end device by a strap. But then, it’s just me. Other than that, all buttons are marked.

Interestingly, this high-end speaker comes with Bluetooth 5.1, which translates to better range and more bandwidth. It also supports Microsoft Swift Pair and Google Fast Pair to speed up the pairing process. And yes, the former also helps when participating in video conferences.

While the Beosound A1 delivers loud sound (more on that later), you can always pair two Beosound A1s together to improve the overall audio output. The only limitation is that both speakers must be 2nd generation speakers. And yes, it is a waterproof speaker.

In contrast, the Sonos Roam is a cylindrical speaker. And it justifies its high price with its high-end and polished look. It is a cylindrical speaker with speaker grilles on either side. The triangular design gives you the advantage of using it both vertically and horizontally.

Although it presents an elegant look, it is not delicate and it has its share of robustness. And like the Beosound A1, it’s also a dust and waterproof Bluetooth speaker.

Compared to its competitor, it is a bit bigger. But the lightweight form factor means you can carry it around easily. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that some Sonos speakers lack a common strap or handle.

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 charge it. Sonos also has a dedicated wireless charger which costs an extra amount.

Smart features

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 is a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as an Alexa smart speaker. You can ask Alexa for specific voice commands to play music from Amazon Music. Interestingly, it accomplishes the smart speaker part via Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi. And with Bluetooth 5.1 and the Beosound A1’s far-field microphone technology, you can wake Alexa remotely.

However, the smart features are a bit limited. For example, you cannot play songs from streaming services like Tidal or Spotify. Again, setting up Alexa is a long process and you’ll need to log into the internal Bang & Olufsen app. That said, Alexa is listening, and if you have a voice request or command, you can say it remotely.

When it comes to smart features, the Sonos Roam takes it a step further and brings Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support to the table. It is also a Wi-Fi speaker. However, the features that make it stand out are features like auto-switching, sound swapping, and intuitive controls.

For example, auto-switching ensures that the speaker automatically connects to Wi-Fi when you enter your home. And when you’re on the go again, it’ll switch back to Bluetooth, saving you the redundant process of re-pairing and connecting. On the other hand, the Sound Swap feature comes into play 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 perfectly into a multi-Sonos speaker arrangement. The the people of the Express suggest that the Sonos One, Play:5 and the Roam connect automatically whenever they come together in a room.

Battery

No speaker is worth the money if the battery dies in a short time. Luckily, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 doesn’t disappoint and comes with an 18-hour battery life. Of course, this will vary with volume levels. If you listen to music at high volumes for a long time, the battery will run out sooner.

The good news is that the real life scenario of the Beosound A1 almost resembles the rated battery life. The people of T3 could get the battery percentage to only 80% after playing music for 8 hours straight. And yes, you will still be able to see the amount of battery remaining in the companion app.

Beosound A1 (2nd generation)

Compared to the Beosound A1, the Sonos Roam’s battery is short. Sonos rates the battery at 10 hours. And since this speaker supports Wi-Fi, battery life drops faster when you’re on a Wi-Fi connection or access Alexa more. If you’re only on Bluetooth when you’re outdoors, the battery level won’t drop as fast.

On the other hand, it has an aggressive energy saving mechanism. When not in 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 manual activation/deactivation of switches.

Finally, both speakers charge via USB-C.

Audio performance

Bang & Olufsen and Sonos have made a big difference when it comes to speaker performance, and the Beosound A1 and Roam are no different. As stated earlier, the Beosound A1 drives a powerful audio output for its size. And the story does not end there.

It offers dynamic sound. The sound is full, crisp and clear. At the same time, the bass is intense and it is a pleasure to listen to bass-heavy songs or songs with complex rhythms and instruments. The folks at T3 feel the bass is deep enough to rock the surface. Now that’s something, right?

Surprisingly, the Beosound A1 supports AAC and AptX (adaptive) Bluetooth codecs. If you’ve researched Bluetooth speakers, you might already know that these codecs are hard to find in this category.

Unlike the bass-intensive output of the Beosound A1, the Sonos Roam has no assertive bass. However, the audio delivery is smooth and crisp. Most importantly, it can handle complex instruments and songs like a pro.

The feature that sets the Roam apart from its peers is Trueplay. Trueplay automatically optimizes speaker output based on the environment using its built-in mics. It ensures that the music you hear has all the right tones, even when you’re in an echoing location or moving from room to room.

While the Roam sounds great in medium-sized rooms, it lacks the punch to get into the party speaker space. On the other hand, 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 speaker’s value.

More importantly, the audio quality is rich and packs a decent punch. Although it doesn’t pack as much punch as its counterpart, it does fill an average room. On top of that, the controls are very intuitive.

However, if you want the occasional Alexa functionality and can live without the frills, the Beosound A1 is perfect for your needs. It offers dynamic sound and a new dimension to your favorite music tracks. And truth be told, it offers a premium look.


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