Home speakers let you crank up the tunes and they’re perfect for home, taking over a friend’s house, or anywhere else that could use some extra music. The two I’m comparing today are the Sonos Move and Bose Portable Home. Both Bose and Sonos are top brands with fantastic reputations, but one clearly wins over the other.
The Bose Portable Home is OK, but the Sonos Move is fantastic. Sonos made a premium product that looks great, feels great, and delivers amazing sound. While it does suffer a little from being heavier and a little harder to give voice commands, it’s definitely the winner in this competition. Bose’s speaker isn’t terrible, but it has way too many flaws for me to recommend between these two.Read on to see why.
The Sonos Move maintains the balanced sound larger Sonos speakers are known for. Vocals come out crisp while there is plenty of bass when the song calls for it. However, the bass never takes over the audio. With a fuller depth and more balanced sound, this easily wins over the Bose Portable Home.
Auto Trueplay adjusts sound based on surrounding ambient noise. Diehard Sonos fans should remember manual Trueplay, a great but annoying feature that you had to configure whenever you moved the speaker. The Auto version works much better and is available to Android and Apple users. Whether you’re at a loud party, in a quiet room, or even outdoors, it will cut through the noise without being too loud.
Sonos lacks omnidirectional sound, unlike Bose, but it’s not a factor if the speaker is against a wall. You can change the treble and bass to better suit your preferences, but the default settings are ideal in my opinion.
The Sonos Move is sturdy standing 9.4” tall and weighing 6.61 pounds. Matte black is the only available color. The thick silicone base prevents it from tipping over and it feels well put together. Obviously a lot of time went into this design. While it probably couldn’t take a hard fall, that’s common amongst all home speakers.
It’s aesthetically similar to other Sonos products, namely the One and Beam, and it’s around the same size as the Sonos Play:3. The carrying handle is carved into the back of the speaker and the premium polycarbonate finish looks fantastic. Plus, there are no moving parts as the buttons are touch-based.
This speaker is mixed in terms of portability. It’s a little too big and heavy to move constantly, and it doesn’t fit comfortably in most bags. However, it’s portable enough to move around the house or bring to the occasional party.
Another cool design feature is the LED light. It’s white when in WiFi mode and blue in Bluetooth mode. This makes it so easy to know which mode you’re in without having to check.
This is a bit of a weak spot for the Sonos Move. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the best, either. The Move is rated for 10 hours of playback, which is true, but under the right circumstances. What you can actually expect is:
- 10 hours at 40% volume
- 7 hours at 60% volume
- 4 hours at 85% volume
It also takes 2 hours to fully charge. When in the USB-C charging dock, it will charge and stay on unless you turn it off. Out of the dock, it will go into lowpower mode after 30 minutes of inactivity. Lowpower mode lasts about five days, but you can’t connect your smart assistant in this mode.
Again, not terrible, but not impressive, either.
The Sonos app is one of the best, hands down. They’re a leader in WiFi speakers and it really shows. Not only is it easy to set up, but the Move works with Alexa and Google smart assistants. The Sonos Move has six mics that easily hear any voice commands whenever music’s not playing. However, the Move does suffer somewhat when music is playing and you might need to speak louder and clearer for the Move to register your commands.
The WiFi range is amazing and 150-feet more than the Bose. You can play from over five houses away (as long as you’re still connected to WiFi). Changing over to Bluetooth takes seconds and is flawless. Hit the “Bluetooth/WiFi” button and it will change over. That’s it. It will automatically connect to a paired device.
There are five ways to listen:
- AirPlay from your favorite music app
- Spotify Connect
- Cast from any app with the Cast icon
- Make a playlist with the Sonos app (includes over 100 music services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and more)
- Bluetooth over your favorite music
It can also be paired with AirPlay speakers or grouped with other Sonos speakers.
Bose Portable Home
If this speaker was more affordable, then I’d likely be more lenient about the sound. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stand up against the Sonos Move or other similarlypriced speakers. The 360degree sound seems the same regardless of position, which is nice. At 70% volume the vocals are crisp, but the bass is lacking. If you haven’t listened to speakers in the same price range, then you’ll probably be happy with this, but it is lacking in some regards.
Against the Sonos Move, the Bose Portable is weak and hollow. However, it is able to fill a room at 70% volume. Once again, not the best but definitely not terrible.
Things do get worse above 70% volume. The sounds get harsh and distorted. The clarity and balance you had before becomes a jumbled mess. Keep this below 70% if at all possible, otherwise it’s going to get bad.
This is a big problem when playing outdoors. Due to its small size and lightweight build, it should be great outside. However, it sounds too weak at 50% for quiet days and gets weird on louder days (with wind and ambient noises) at over 70%.
You can change the bass and treble, but it honestly goes from bad to worse. Default is the best it gets. This isn’t a bad speaker on its own. However, it lacks the power and balance needed to be competitive in this market with far better options available.
In terms of portability, the Bose wins over the Sonos in many ways. It’s just 2.34 pounds and stands 7.5” tall. It’s so much easier to put in a bag and bring to a friend’s house or an event. It also comes in two colors: Luxe Silver and Triple Black.
The fabric rope is OK. It flips down when you’re not using it and it lets you get a grip on the speaker. However, it doesn’t look good and I’m suspicious of how well it holds up to water. It’s better than nothing and could have been designed better.
While the Bose Portable doesn’t feel cheap, once again we’re comparing it to the Sonos Move and there is a noticeable difference. The Sonos feels premium and the Bose just feels good. Not cheap, but you’d pick out the Sonos if we blindfolded you.
There are physical buttons for volume, Bluetooth, and playback. It has an IPX4 rating that makes it splashproof and durable enough to take small bumps and drops.
The Bose Portable Home has a top playback time of 12 hours, which sounds great, but there are some caveats to that. First of all, the battery needs to charge 4 hours (twice as much as the Sonos Move), and the 12 hours is only under certain conditions. You can expect these times:
- 12 hours at 40% volume
- 5 hours at 60% volume
- 2 hours at 85% volume
You can charge with a USB-C cable or the wireless Bose Charging Cradle (for an extra $29). It will go into standby mode after 20 minutes in inactivity and the battery should last about 30 hours in this mode.
However, one benefit the Bose has over the Sonos is your smart assistant will still work in standby mode. That includes AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. It’s a nice benefit if you love voice commands.
The Bose software often has issues connecting with other speakers, but the app was recently updated and seems somewhat better. You can connect either Google Assistant or Alexa, but only one at a time. You can switch, but that means disconnecting the one and connecting the other.
One area where Bose shines is understanding voice commands when music is playing. Unlike Sonos, which hears commands best when music isn’t playing, the Bose will hear you clearly even if the music is loud. It’s honestly one of the best things about this speaker.
Another great thing is Bose stores 8 different WiFi networks, which is better than Sonos. Switching from WiFi to Bluetooth and back is simple, but there’s no light like with the Sonos speaker. The WiFi range isn’t bad, but don’t stray far from the speaker. The connection can be spotty at times, too.
You can listen to your speaker with:
- Spotify Connect
- Bose app (has Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, but the app is poorly designed)
- Android users will need the Bose app unless they’re using Spotify
- Bluetooth works as well
It can also be paired with other speakers like most other Bose speakers or AirPlay devices. However, it cannot be paired with Bose SoundTouch speakers.