Sonos Era 100 review

The Sonos Era 100 is a success in almost every department.

Editors Choice
Luxury
Check price

Sonos is a name that’s long been synonymous with top-quality, wireless audio for the home, and the Sonos Era 100 represents something of a new chapter in the Sonos story: together with the Era 300, this is perhaps the biggest revamp of the Sonos line yet, with hardware that’s been re-engineered from scratch and software that offers more capabilities than ever before.

What hasn’t really changed is the Sonos mission: to offer a complete home audio solution that can stream music straight from the web, work effortlessly with your existing devices, and operate seamlessly across multiple rooms too. If you already have Sonos speakers at home, then the Sonos Era 100 will work just fine with them.

Sonos Era100 in living room settingCredit: Saga Exceptional

The Era 100 effectively replaces the Sonos One speaker in the company’s range, adding Bluetooth connectivity support, a line-in option, and stereo sound in a single speaker thanks to dual-angled tweeters that can produce a stereo effect.

While the Sonos One remains on sale at the time we’re writing this review, the Era 100 is the new entry level Sonos speaker in price and size, aside from the battery-powered portable options.

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Editors Choice

Sonos Era 100

Luxury

The Sonos Era 100 is a top choice for a wireless smart speaker ready to stream music from the web or a connected device. It builds on the Sonos heritage to offer an intuitive way of playing music around the home, and it’s a joy to listen to.

Design

Usability

Audio Performance

Value


Who’s this for?

If you’re after a sound quality that’s superior to the average smart speaker on the market, and you have the extra cash to pay for it, then the Sonos Era 100 provides it. It can also function as part of a bigger home sound setup, if there are other speakers in the Sonos range that have caught your eye. It’s also perfect for those who rely a lot on music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Top tier sound quality
  • Hugely versatile
  • A breeze to set up and use
  • Line-in needs another adapter

Expect to pay

RRP: £249 The official retail price for the Sonos Era 100 that you’ll see on the Sonos site is £249. If you have a hunt around at other retailers online, you might be able to beat that price, but probably not by much. We have noticed Sonos regularly running discount deals on its own website, in the region of 10-15 % – sign up for emails from Sonos if you want to be notified about these.

Sonos Era 100 Review method

How we test

We tried out the Sonos Era 100 with a variety of music streaming services, and by playing music from a Mac computer over AirPlay.

We tested the speaker with as many different types of music as possible, from classical to hip hop, and ran a few audiobooks and podcasts through the device as well. 

The Era 100 also when through our testing lab, where we put the speaker through its paces and measured a range of audio outputs.

Sonos Era 100 Setup

Easy to follow instructions

The Sonos Era 100 feels like a quality product right out of the box: it’s tightly packed and wrapped in a soft material, and to get started with setup you connect the accompanying power cable and plug it in. 

After that, everything is handled via the Sonos app. It’s available for Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, and Windows and Mac computers, so you can take your pick. After a few minutes, which mostly involve connecting to wi-fi and agreeing to terms and conditions, the speaker is ready to use.

It’s certainly not a complicated process and you can’t really go wrong with it. If you already have a Sonos speaker installed at home, then it’s even easier – two Era 100 speakers can be configured as a stereo pair, if you have the budget for another.

You’re going to need to have login details to hand for the music and audio services you want to use with your Sonos Era 100, and all the popular options are supported. You can access these services and speaker playback through the Sonos app, so there’s no need to bounce between half a dozen apps to queue up songs you’d like to listen to. 

Sonos Era100 in living room setting rear detail shotCredit: Saga Exceptional

Sonos Era 100 Design

Looks good in any room

You can get the Sonos Era 100 in either white or black, and its size has clearly been chosen for it to fit on a bookshelf: it stands 182.5 mm (7.18 inches) high, and snuggles up nicely next to a row of paperbacks.

While the aesthetics of the speaker aren’t particularly eye-catching, it’s elegant in a minimal sort of way, with the Sonos logo lettering, the buttons, and even the power cord connector all tastefully done. There’s no battery option, so you need to keep the speaker near a power socket.

You’re not going to feel compelled to hide the Sonos Era 100 away at all, quite the opposite in fact. Its rather neutral design and colour options mean it goes with just about any kind of decor theme, and it’s equally comfortable in the kitchen, the conservatory, the study or the lounge.

Note that there’s no physical remote control included here – everything is handled with the on-board buttons or the Sonos app. 

Sonos Era100 in living room setting top panel detailCredit: Saga Exceptional

Sonos Era 100 Usability

Impressively straightforward

Sonos speakers have always scored highly in terms of the digital services you can use with them, and this continues with the Era 100. Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, BBC Sounds, Deezer, Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn and YouTube Music are just some of the apps you can connect – add in Bluetooth connectivity, AirPlay support, and a line-in port (via a bespoke adapter, sold separately) and you really are spoilt for choice.

It’s one of the most impressive aspects of the Sonos Era 100 and the other products in the Sonos range, and getting music and other audio queued up is very straightforward.

Whether it’s the touch controls on the top of the speaker or the phone app, everything is well laid out and simple to operate, and that’s a credit to the Sonos engineering team.

As an added bonus there’s Amazon Alexa support as well, so you can use the Sonos Era 100 as a smart speaker: ask about the weather forecast, or check appointments on your calendar, or control connected smart home devices, or load up music using your voice.

There’s a lot you can do with Alexa, and it gives you yet another reason to think about this speaker as the next item to buy for your smart home.

There’s also basic voice control for features such as setting timers and controlling playback, which works separately to the Amazon Alexa functionality. If you’d rather not have your speaker listening out for what you’re saying, there’s a physical switch to disable the microphone for some extra privacy.

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Sonos Era100 in living room setting - bluetooth detailCredit: Saga Exceptional

Sonos Era 100 Audio performance

Premium level sound

The Sonos Era 100 produces fantastic-sounding audio for its size, and for the price you’re paying. There’s no doubt that this is a premium-level speaker, and one that you can’t fail to be impressed by.

Whether it’s spoken word audio from podcasts and audiobooks, or music of any variety, the Era 100 handles everything supremely well.

You can really hear the pluck of a guitar string, or the brush of a cymbal, or the glide of a bow across a string – instruments and vocals are crisp and well separated, and this clarity is maintained even as the volume is raised or lowered. It’s only vocals that can occasionally feel a little lost in the music.

The bass is rich and full, while mids and trebles have punch and power too. In fact the listening experience is so good, it can give you a new appreciation for the music you’re listening to, and add a new level of enjoyment to digging through your digital music library.

You get a power and range way beyond anything built to be a smart speaker first and a music speaker second, such as the Amazon Echo and Nest Audio speakers. 

You also get a feature called Trueplay that optimises audio output to fit the room the speaker is in. It’s difficult to objectively assess this, but we tended to prefer having this feature off and just allowing the Era 100 to use its default, standard settings – it comes across as a touch more open and free.

However, Trueplay is certainly something worth having a play around with, and helps to set this apart from budget-level speakers such as the Nest Mini and Echo Dot. There are equaliser settings available inside the app too.

All that said, there’s only so much sound you can get out of a speaker this size. The Era 100 is more than good enough to fill a room with quality audio, but the Era 300 is even bigger and even more powerful – and therefore even more suitable for true audiophiles. That does of course mean spending more money though. 

Sonos Era100 in living room settingCredit: Saga Exceptional

Sonos Era 100 Value

Not cheap, but strong value-for-money

At £249, the Sonos Era 100 isn’t particularly cheap, but at the same time we’d say it offers a strong value-for-money proposition.

Sure, you can pick up perfectly serviceable speakers for a lot less, but you can absolutely hear the difference when it comes to the audio quality. If you have the budget to be able to afford the Era 100, then your ears will be grateful for the extra investment.

It’s certainly a device we got attached to during our testing period, which is a sure sign of a premium piece of hardware – it was a joy to power up and use, and it’s only at the loudest volumes that you’ll start to notice it reaching the limits of its capabilities.

Price-wise it’s in line with the likes of the Apple HomePod and the Amazon Echo Studio, which feels about right for its performance. 

Sonos Era 100 Competition

Also consider…

Apple HomePod

Two Apple HomePod speakers apart on a tableCredit: Saga Exceptional

One attractive alternative is the Apple HomePod, which will particularly appeal to those who’ve already invested heavily in the Apple ecosystem (with iPhones, iPads, Macs and so on).

In our review we praised it for its excellent sound quality, but it lacks the versatility of the Sonos Era 100: the HomePod doesn’t support as many streaming music and audio services, and you can’t connect devices via Bluetooth.

Featured product

Apple HomePod (2nd gen)

RRP: £299

Apple HomePod (2nd gen)
Read our Apple HomePod review

Google Nest Audio

Close up of Google Nest Audio on a wooden unit flanked by a clock and a vase.Credit: Saga Exceptional

There are a couple of reasons to pick the Google Nest Audio over the Sonos Era 100. One is that it’s significantly cheaper, less than half the price; and the other is that it has Google Assistant, which is just about the best digital assistant out there right now (especially if all your stuff is in Google apps like Google Calendar and Google Keep).

Bear in mind that it can’t compete with the Era 100 we’ve reviewed here in terms of the audio fidelity, but if you’re willing to make compromises in that respect it could be another option. 

Featured product

Google Nest Audio

RRP: £89.99

Google Nest Audio
Read our Google Nest Audio review

Sonos Era 100 Final verdict

The best option around, if it fits your budget

We were very happy with just about every aspect of the Sonos Era 100, from the simplicity of the setup to the sounds that it was able to produce, to the wide choice of connectivity options.

The previous generation Sonos speakers were great, but the Era 100 manages to be even greater, with upgrades to the sound and features.

If the Sonos Era 100 fits inside the budget that you’ve got, we’d say it’s the best option around right now, offering more versatility and flexibility than the Apple HomePod.

The only caveat we’d add is that if you’re looking for speakers to hook up to something with a wired connection—like a turntable or desktop PC—there may be better options out there, even though the Era 100 has a line-in option.

For fans of music streaming services especially though, the Sonos Era 100 is well worth a look. It’s going to be a huge improvement over the speakers built into your laptop, PC monitor, TV, tablet, or phone, and it couldn’t be easier to get all of your digital accounts and gadgets connected up to it. 

Editors Choice

Sonos Era 100

Luxury

The Sonos Era 100 is a top choice for a wireless smart speaker ready to stream music from the web or a connected device. It builds on the Sonos heritage to offer an intuitive way of playing music around the home, and it’s a joy to listen to.

Design

While not particularly striking, this is undoubtedly a good-looking piece of kit.

Usability

Anyone can use this speaker, and attaching different audio sources couldn’t be easier.

Audio Performance

Hard to fault across the board, particularly considering the size of the speaker.

Value

More than some people will want to pay, but it ultimately justifies its cost.


Who’s this for?

If you’re after a sound quality that’s superior to the average smart speaker on the market, and you have the extra cash to pay for it, then the Sonos Era 100 provides it. It can also function as part of a bigger home sound setup, if there are other speakers in the Sonos range that have caught your eye. It’s also perfect for those who rely a lot on music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Top tier sound quality
  • Hugely versatile
  • A breeze to set up and use
  • Line-in needs another adapter

Expect to pay

RRP: £249 The official retail price for the Sonos Era 100 that you’ll see on the Sonos site is £249. If you have a hunt around at other retailers online, you might be able to beat that price, but probably not by much. We have noticed Sonos regularly running discount deals on its own website, in the region of 10-15 % – sign up for emails from Sonos if you want to be notified about these.

Sonos Era 100 Specs

Release year 2023
Dimensions 182.5 x 130.5 x 120 mm
Weight 2.02 kg
Power Mains
Internal speakers 3 x class-D digital amplifiers, 2 x angled tweeters, 1 x mid-woofer
Wi-Fi Wi-fi 6
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Smart Home support Amazon Alexa
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David Nield

Written by David Nield

Updated:

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables.

David has by-lines at leading publications including TechRadar, Wired, The Guardian, Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

When he’s not busy writing, he enjoys watching football and long walks in the countryside.

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