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Sonos era 100 & era 300 finally here: Everything you need to know
It’s official. Sonos have announced a new “era” is on the way with 2 brand new speakers launching this month.
The Sonos Era 100 and Sonos Era 300 are launching on the 28th of March and we have a lot we need to test out once we get our hands on them. But for now, let’s share everything we know so far (and a little spoiler for you, yes it includes bluetooth, line-in connections, upwards-firing rears and the possibility of a 7.2.4 Sonos home cinema setup) so buckle in.
What is Sonos Era 100?
Sonos Era 100 is a brand-new addition to the Sonos lineup, announced on the 7th March 2023 with an RRP of £249. It is Sonos' new smart speaker offering stereo sound, impressive bass, versatile connectivity and a refreshed design to fit anywhere in your home. Era 100 can be used as a standalone stereo speaker, in a dedicated stereo pair or as rear surround sound speakers to a Sonos soundbar.
Era 100 is the next evolution on from the Sonos One which is in its 3rd iteration with the Gen 2 and is now in its 10th year since the launch of the original Play:1. So far with the One, we’ve seen evolutions but they’ve never been this drastic. In fact, it sounds like Sonos have ticked every box that we’ve ever asked for from the Sonos One.
Sonos Era 100 Connectivity
The Era 100 offers multiple methods of control and in possibly the biggest twist that we certainly didn’t see coming, Sonos have added Bluetooth 5.0 to to the Sonos Era 100 & Era 300. Bluetooth connectivity has clearly been such a common request that Sonos could ignore it no longer.
You also get support for WiFi 6 with Era 100 and 300 which should bring better reliability too for those of you who, like me, prefer the uninterrupted playback you get with connection over wifi. Another major addition is a line-in port so you can connect up to an external audio source like a turntable or CD player. Unfortunately, you’re going to need a separate dongle for these which, you guessed it, isn’t included in the box but I am really pleased the capability is there. An Era 100 with a turntable is bound to be a popular setup and gives a much more accessible way to enjoy vinyl on your sonos.
You also have the usual Sonos methods of control including AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Voice Control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Sonos Voice or use the Sonos S2 app.
Sonos Era 100 Sound Quality
Sonos have upgraded the sound quality of Era 100 with a 25% larger woofer which only just fits within the unit itself to keep a compact form factor so we should get significantly deeper bass. Era 100 is also now a stereo speaker with 2 angled tweeters which should give a much wider soundstage. They’ve added custom waveguides which was described to us almost like a fish eye lens and they will work to amplify dispersion of sound waves for that wider soundstage.
There’s also 3 class-D digital amps to power that sound performance. Plus Sonos have included a 47% faster co-neural processor which is supposed to help with performance and connection and obviously future proofs this speaker for any software upgrades.
You can of course, still pair 2 Era 100s for an even wider soundstage or to use as rears in a home cinema setup with a Sonos soundbar. Again, we can’t wait to test that out.
Sonos Era 100 Design
At first glance, the Sonos Era 100 doesn’t look too different from its predecessor but there’s certainly a refreshed, modern feel to this speaker. It’s slimmed down a bit and is slightly taller than the One but otherwise not too dissimilar in form factor. One big change though is the top panel and the capactive touch controls.
As a compact speaker, Era 100 is perfect for placing anywhere in your home and, as it's humidity resistant, you can even place it in your kitchen or in a covered area outdoors.
They’ve added a little groove for the volume slider making it easier to use and to navigate to a specific volume, e.g 50% with a tangible reference point now. They’ve also added a physical switch to turn the mics off for those who would prefer that.
Sonos have made changes to the design of these speakers to make them more sustainable using recycled materials and less virgin plastics. They’ve also worked to reduce energy usage when the speaker isn’t in use as for the majority of us, this is the case for most of the day. Don’t worry, we've already ordered some energy monitoring plugs to test the difference between the Sonos One and Sonos Era 100 in idle so we’ll see just how much they’ve changed there.
Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One (Gen 2)
I will admit, I’ve got a fair few ones around my home so I was a bit gutted when I heard there was a new version coming out but, I’ve reminded myself that a new version doesn’t make the Ones that I have worse. It does give me a lot of fomo though. But I’ve told myself I’m not making any decisions until I’ve put them head to head to really see if the upgrade is worth it. But, judging by the boxes Sonos are now ticking with this speaker, I can see this being a hugely popular addition to their lineup.
What is Sonos era 300?
Sonos Era 300 is a brand-new entry into Sonos' wireless speaker lineup. Retailed at £449, it is a spatial audio speaker with support for Dolby Atmos, Era 300 is designed to create a truly immersive listening experience and place you at the heart of the entertainment. Enjoy Era 300 as a standalone Dolby Atmos speaker, in a dedicated stereo pair or as upwards-firing rears to a Dolby Atmos enabled soundbar.
It’s not an evolution of any existing Sonos product but for us the start of a new category of speaker. It’s a single speaker designed to deliver a Dolby Atmos spatial audio experience for either music or movies.
There are a lot of similarities to the Era 100. Era 300 boasts WiFi 6, Bluetooth support, line-in connectivity, a new sustainable design and new top panel touch controls.
Sonos Era 300 Design
The Era 300 has a unique design which from first impressions is a bit like marmite. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but it does match Sonos' usual sleek, modern aesthetic. The shape is different and encompasses the internal makeup of this speaker.
Available in Black or White, Era 300 retains a compact form factor to blend into most spaces. Sonos have recommended allowing around 2 feet of overhead clearance to avoid impacting the dispersion and playback clarity.
Sonos Era 300 Sound Quality
Sonos have said that Era 300 is a major step forwards for the brand and is them moving with the times and the demands people have for their audio experiences. As we've transitioned from mono to stereo, Sonos see the next step being Spatial Audio and this new Era 300 is geared for that. Sonos have said that they’ve worked closely with industry professionals to achieve a sound performance that’s as close to how the artist or producer intended it, which I think is what’s needed for Dolby Atmos tracks.
Looking at the architecture, there’s a lot going on under the grill and a very different acoustic makeup to any of Sonos’ other speakers. We’ve got 6 drivers positioned around the front, sides and top of the speaker. There are 4 tweeters for the highs and mids so we’ve got one at the front for the center channel, 2 sidefiring tweeters for the stereo and then an upward firing tweeter for the height in atmos content.
There are also 2 woofers which are angled left and right to support stereo playback. I think we’ll dive deeper into the internals of this speaker in our full review once we’ve tested it out but for now I’ve got my fingers crossed it lives up to the hype.
You can add a pair of Era 300s to a Dolby Atmos enabled Sonos soundbar as upwards firing rears. With an Sonos Arc and 2 x Sonos Sub (Gen 3), this would then give you a 7.2.4 setup which we can’t wait to test out because that should be a pretty incredible audio experience.
Sonos Introduce new Trueplay Tuning for Android users
Sonos have finally introduced a version of Trueplay Tuning which doesn’t require an IOS device. Quick Tuning will use the microphones on the speaker itself to acoustically optimise the speaker without needing to use an IOS device so that’s going to make a lot of you pretty happy. However, for Apple users, Sonos have said that moving around the room and doing the traditional version of trueplay is still the best method.
What is the release date of Sonos Era 100 and Era 300?
Sonos Era 100 and Era 300 are available to pre order from the 7th March and will launch on the 28th March 2023.
Can you use the Sonos S1 Controller with Sonos Era 100 & Era 300?
No. Both Era 100 & Era 300 require the latest generation of the Sonos app (Sonos S2).
What soundbars can you pair with Era 300 for surround sound?
As Era 300 is a multichannel rear speaker, it requires a Sonos soundbar that offers support for Dolby Atmos. Era 300 is compatible with Arc or Beam (Gen 2) but not with Playbar, Playbase, Beam (Gen 1) or Ray.
What soundbars can you pair with Era 100 for surround sound?
Era 100 can be paired with any Sonos soundbar that is compatible with the Sonos S2 app. Pair 2 x Era 100 with a Sonos Arc, Sonos Beam Gen 1 or Gen 2, Sonos Ray, Sonos Playbar or Sonos Playbase so long as they are on the Sonos S2 app.
What is spatial audio?
Any audio in stereo is limited to left and right channels with elements localized within a horizontal place. Spatial audio technologies (Dolby Atmos) enable you to experience individual sounds around you in a 3D space. This gives a far more immersive and realistic listening experience.
How can you experience spatial audio on Era 300?
To experience spatial audio, you’ll need to connect to WiFi and stream a Dolby Atmos track from a supported service. For movies, TV or games, you require 2 x Era 300 speakers paired with the Arc or Beam (Gen 2). You must have a supported TV, connection via HDMI eARC and Dolby Atmos content.
Can you use Bluetooth as soon as you plug in the speaker?
No. You must set up Era 100 or 300 on WiFi via the Sonos app before you can pair a Bluetooth device. Note: Bluetooth is disabled if the speakers are setup as rears in a Sonos home cinema setup.
Can you use Bluetooth with a stereo pair?
Yes, you can stream audio via Bluetooth to a stereo pair.