Sonos has announced a new portable wireless speaker called the Roam SL which is actually a cheaper variant of the Roam wireless speaker that was released in 2021. Despite the practically identical design, there are key differences between the two speakers. There are a plethora of portable wireless speakers in the market that differ not only based on design and features but also on price.

Unlike wired speakers that have to be connected to a power source, the built-in batteries of portable speakers allow them to be easily moved around within the house or even taken outdoors. Some of these speakers connect via Bluetooth, some via WiFi and some support both. Among those that connect via WiFi are models that can stream audio from the internet and even control smart home appliances.

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The Sonos Roam SL has the same triangular design as the Sonos Roam. Both speakers have volume and play/pause buttons on one side, and a USB-C port, power button and slip-resistant feet at the bottom. The two speakers have a shock-absorbent design and an IP67 rating making them dust- and water-resistant (can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes). Sonos doesn’t even differentiate the two speakers in terms of colors as both the Roam and Roam SL come in the same Lunar White and Shadow Black colorways.

Sonos Roam SL Vs. Sonos Roam: Features And Price

The Sonos Roam SL differs mainly from the Roam based on its lack of microphones, which means it doesn’t have support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri voice assistants. The missing microphones also mean that there is no Trueplay support, the feature that allows the Roam to automatically adjust the sound based on its surroundings. Swap audio is also not available on the Roam SL as the microphone is used to detect nearby products, so users will not be able to pull or push audio from/to another Sonos product.

Despite these differences, the Roam and Roam XL audio experience should be identical as they both have two Class-H digital amplifiers, one tweeter, and one mid-woofer. They also have the same CPU and memory, support Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5.0, and WiFi connectivity. The Roam and Roam XL have an 18Wh battery that will last up to 10 hours on a single charge. Users will be able to charge the speakers via USB-C or wireless charging using a Qi-certified wireless charger.

While the audio experience is expected to be similar on both speakers, the Roam SL is targeted at those who do not want one more device with a microphone in their home. However, for those who want a speaker that can also respond to voice commands and control their smart home products, the Roam is the better choice. That said, buyers will have to shell out more money as Sonos sells the Roam for $179 while the Roam SL has a $159 price tag.