Sonos Era 100
The Sonos Era 100 impresses with its good sound, simple Bluetooth connection and Trueplay calibration with Apple and Android devices. Unfortunately, all this comes at a price.The Baltic Review
Sonos Era 100: The gateway to the Sonos world
The simple transmission via Bluetooth connects the Sonos Era 100 to the new flagship Era 300, which was launched at the same time. But that’s where the similarities end. The Sonos Era 100 doesn’t support Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio and takes a more classic approach to design. The Era 100 is supposed to replace the Sonos One as a simple, flexible Wi-Fi speaker at an entry-level price – with some new features and a sonic upgrade compared to its predecessor.
The Sonos Era 100 sound check
At the time, the Sonos One took over the driver configuration from its predecessor, the Play:1. So the Era 100 is the first major tech update that this mid-range model from Sonos has received since 2014. That’s because the Sonos Era 100 now has two tweeters, which should bring clearer highs with more detail on the one hand, and a wider soundstage on the other. On the other hand, the tweeters are slightly angled to the sides. The woofer has also been enlarged.
The woofer is now 25 percent larger | Image: Sonos
In the Baltic Review test lab, the new driver configuration of the Sonos Era 100 must prove its worth. It immediately becomes clear that there is more power here than in a Sonos One. Santé by Stromae sounds powerful and with a lot of bass from the Era 100, but that doesn’t mean that the Era 100 sounds dull: the lows are not overly present and are well complemented by a lot of detail in the highs.
When using a Sonos Era 100 stereo pair, the sound is maximized to its fullest potential.
The treble is at its best in our next test song, Alice by Wednesday Campanella. Only the stereo presentation remains somewhat narrow. As the song has enough movement in the instrumental, we directly integrate a second Era 100 via the app and continue with a stereo pair. The sound opens up – until now, the music was only spread quite narrowly around the speaker, but this changes with the second Era 100. Whether alone or in pairs, we think the Era 100 delivers clear, powerful sound for its size that is simply fun.
More options with Bluetooth and Trueplay for Android
Like all Sonos speakers, the Sonos Era 100 has the advantage that it is a comparatively inexpensive entry into the Californian company’s multi-room system. So, if you already have an older Sonos speaker at home or are buying two Era 100s: You can integrate the speakers into the Sonos app, combine them into groups and control them together or individually.
The few design details on the Sonos Era 100: The logo and the LED status indicator. Among other things, it shows you whether the Era 100 is connected to the WLAN.
But that’s not all: with the Era 100, you are more flexible when it comes to music sources. The Era 100 and Era 300 are the first wireless speakers from Sonos to feature Bluetooth. However, you can only use this alternative once you have set up the Era 100 and connected it to the WLAN.
You can initiate Bluetooth pairing via a button on the back of the Era 100.
Trueplay: Room measurement no longer Apple-exclusive
What’s also new: With the Era 100, you no longer need an iPhone or iPad to use the Sonos Trueplay room measurement function. This was previously a prerequisite, as Trueplay uses the microphones of your iOS devices to measure how the sound of the speaker is distributed in the room. According to Sonos, the microphones of Android devices differ too much to achieve reliable results here.
Of course, you can still use the detailed option with the Era 100. This is now called “Advanced tuning”. When you start the process in the app, the Era 100 plays test tones. You then have to walk around the room armed with your iPhone and iPad so that the speaker can adjust the sound to the conditions.
If you don’t want to do this or if you use Android, you can also use “Quick Tuning” with the Era 100. The speaker then plays test tones as usual, but you are completely off the hook: the Era 100’s microphones record the tones automatically. In our test, both options audibly improved the sound.
How to tune your speakers with Trueplay | Sonos
Line-in only with adapter
In addition to the button that starts Bluetooth pairing, the Era 100 has a USB-C port at the back. To use this, however, you need an adapter. Sonos itself offers two options: an adapter with USB-C to jack and a combination adapter with jack and Ethernet socket. The Era 100 no longer has a LAN connection. The adapter with a jack input costs 25 euros at Sonos, the combination adapter a whole 45 euros. Similar adapters are available elsewhere for a fraction of the price. However, there is no guarantee that these will work as intended with the Sonon Era 100.
The adapter is available directly from Sonos. If you need an Ethernet connection, you will also have to pay the extra charge.
If you pay the extra charge, you can connect your cell phone or a record player to the Sonos Era 100 via the audio input, for example. However, the price then rises to 304 euros or 324 euros if you choose the combination adapter.
Controls: New volume control and microphone off switch
So much for the old and new functions of the Era 100, but how does it all work? As with all Sonos speakers, you have three operating options: The Sonos S2 app, a voice assistant or the buttons on top of the device.
You could still use the previous Sonos speakers with the old version of the app, but the Era speakers can only be integrated into the revised Sonos S2 app. Here you can easily set up your speaker, integrate various streaming services and use functions such as Trueplay or the equalizer. However, you don’t necessarily have to control the streaming services from the Sonos app: Of course, you can also simply open Spotify and use either Bluetooth or Apple AirPlay 2 for streaming. Thanks to Spotify Connect, you can also initiate a Wi-Fi stream from here.
You can also activate one of the available voice assistants in the app. The Sonos Era 100 comes with Amazon Alexa and the in-house voice assistant Sonos Voice Control. The latter doesn’t sound as natural as the Amazon equivalent and is limited to controlling your music; it doesn’t recognize smart home commands. The Google Assistant is completely missing from the Sonos Era speakers, which according to Sonos is because Google has changed the technical requirements for compatible devices. There is currently no indication that the Google voice assistant will be added later.
If you don’t want Alexa or Sonos to listen to you, you can press the speech bubble at the top and briefly deactivate the assistants. The microphones can then still be used for Trueplay. However, the Era 100 also has a toggle switch at the back that completely cuts the power supply to the microphones.
The toggle switch for the microphones is located directly above the USB-C port. You connect the power cable under the Era 100 and feed it through the cut-out underneath.
Use even without an app
Last but not least, you can also simply tap the top of the Era 100 to control it. Under the speech bubble, which deactivates voice control, there is a deep notch that you can easily feel even in the dark. Use this to control the volume. Below this, you can skip songs, pause and restart the music. If you press and hold the play/pause button, the Era 100 either connects to other Sonos speakers that you have saved in the app or cuts the connection to them. So you don’t necessarily have to go into the app for simple groupings.
The volume control is easy to feel. The remaining buttons are touch fields.
The design: only slight changes
Not only the control panel, but also the Era 100 itself is very similar to its predecessor. The new one is slightly larger, but has thinned out the continuous band that surrounds the top and bottom of the speaker grille. If you’ve ever had a Sonos speaker before, you’ll know what the whole thing feels like. The materials chosen – mainly plastic – are not of exceptionally high quality, but are always well made. Only the interior has undergone major changes: the Era 100 relies more on screws instead of glue to make the multiroom speaker easier to repair.
The Sonos Era 100 in a home theater setup
If you connect two Era 100s to a Sonos Beam and a Sonos Sub Mini, you can create a soundbar surround set in no time at all. Sonos appropriately calls the package of Beam, Sub Mini and the new Era 100 wireless speakers a home theater set.
We also listened to this combination in our test lab. The Era 100 rear speakers manage to noticeably open up the sound of the Beam. And that sounds really good on the flat. The subwoofer also provides a suitable basis for the low tones.
Two Sonos Era 100 rear speakers can audibly enhance the sound of the Sonos Beam soundbar.
If you listen carefully, however, you will notice that there are three individual speakers. If an object is circling around you, you will hear the sound moving through the room in a triangle. The Samsung HW-Q935B performs slightly better in this respect – this also applies to the sound from above. This is because, like the Beam, the Era 100 has no upward-firing speakers.
Nevertheless, the package is a very successful update for home cinema evenings. Movies have more of a stage, games are more engaging, and music gets that extra kick of detail. However, Sonos is also charging for the package: adding the subwoofer and the two Era 100s triples the price of the Sonos Beam.
Sonos Era 100 vs. Sonos One
Finally, when should you choose the Era 100 over the Sonos One? Well, Sonos basically takes the decision out of your hands. According to our information, the Sonos One will only be sold until the stock is used up. Then it will be replaced in the range by the Era 100. Even if you want to do without microphones altogether, the only option at the moment is the Sonos One SL. According to Sonos, an “SL” version of the Era 100 is not currently planned.
In the meantime, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for bargains on the Sonos One. You should also act quickly if you already have a One at home and want to expand it into a stereo pair. Because: You can connect a One with an Era 100 and operate it in different rooms. However, connecting them directly as a stereo pair does not work. For example, you cannot use a One and an Era 100 as rear speakers in your home theater setup with the Sonos Beam.
The Era 100 is slightly higher and rounder than the Sonos One.
Even if you can’t do without the Google Assistant, you might still find the One interesting. After all, you must do without it with the Era 100.
However, if you want the best sound, you should go for the Era 100. It sounds audibly bigger and more powerful than its predecessor. It’s possible that the decision in the future will be between the Sonos Move 2 vs. the Sonos Era 100. After all, the portable Sonos Move 2 has a powerful battery that the Era 100 does not.
Conclusion Sone Era 100: The new all-rounder
Placement tips for Sonos Era 100
Sonos Era 100 was designed to be placed just about anywhere in your home. But for the best possible sound experience, it’s important to consider where your speaker is placed in the room and how you like to listen. In this video, we’re providing some tips on how to set up Era 100 in your home.