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Use this Sonos Era 100 review to get a feel of the manufacturer’s 2023 lineup of smart speakers. The Sonos Era 100 is an entry-level speaker and the successor to the Sonos One. This seven-inch device has an array of convenient features to make your smart home a little smarter. Let’s dive into a hands-on review of the Sonos Era 100 and find out what the speaker has to offer.
Sonos Era 100 review: The kind of shopper that should check out the Era 100
The Sonos Era 100 makes its market debut at an asking price of $250, give or take. This number is reasonable for a versatile device, with plenty of convenient features. Better still the Era 100 has the build and audio configuration to create a wide soundstage. These selling points are even more meaningful when you add the speaker to an existing setup with compatible audio devices.
If you have a setup that includes Sonos equipment, the Era 100 would make an interesting addition. If you’re on a budget and on the lookout for a compact smart speaker, then the Era 100 could be an option. The sections that follow kick the figurative tires of this speaker, starting with its design and build.
Sonos uses the term ‘hourglass’ to describe the form and overall exterior of the Era 100. Maybe the manufacturer wants to throw us off because the design team’s take on the hourglass concept is not what you’d expect. Their take translates to a black or white cylinder with curved surfaces at the top and bottom of the speaker.
Cylindrical smart speakers like the Sonos Era 100 have an aesthetic that works with all kinds of décor. This six-inch elliptical cylinder is all curves and neutral colors that blend with whatever space the speaker occupies. A solid exterior with a polycarbonate grill covers the bulk of the speaker’s curved surface. The only break to the mesh texture of the cylinder is the smooth plastic panels at the top, bottom, and back of the speaker.
Sonos Era 100 review: Build
The back panel runs along the height of the Era 100; from top to bottom. At the very top of the panel is a Bluetooth button that you use to enable and disable Bluetooth functionality.
You also get a physical ON/OFF switch that lets you activate and deactivate the microphone. This is an important feature for people who are strict about privacy in their spaces. Next to the microphone button is a USB-C port that you can use to connect all manner of devices. All you need is one or more adapters with a USB-C connector on one end.
Connectivity and controls
The USB-C connector and the power jack are the only physical ports on the Sonos Era 100. All other connections will be wireless, via an internal adapter that provides Bluetooth 5 and WiFi 6E connectivity.
You’ll find a few capacitive touch controls on the top surface of the Sonos Era. For starters, you get a backlit groove that lets you control the volume by swiping a finger along its length. You also get a pair of navigation buttons that you can use to scroll through playlists. A play/pause button completes the set of physical controls on the speaker.
Sonos Era 100 review: Hardware configuration
Sonos designed the Era 100 to disperse sound from the front and sides of its curved exterior. The speaker uses two tweeters and a 4.5-inch oval woofer to execute a three-channel, 270-degree soundstage. Each tweeter forms a side channel that covers treble and upper mid-range frequencies. The forward-firing woofer simulates a center channel while doing a good job of rendering bass and mid-range frequencies.
The drivers are powered by an array of amplifiers that get their instructions from circuitry at the back of the speaker. Lastly, a set of waveguides shape, steer, and direct sound output from the drivers. creating the ultra-wide soundstage of the Era 100.
What you get from this configuration is a stereo soundstage with distinct audio elements that seem to come from exact, pinpoint locations.
The Sonos Era 100 renders the type of sound that delivers definition, detail, and cohesion; all at the same time. Different sound elements seem to come from different locations in the wide soundstage. Each strain of sound stands out in its own right, without overpowering sound elements with similar frequencies.
Only the deepest bass elements threaten to overpower the high-treble sound. So it’s a good thing that the Sonos companion app comes with an equalizer module that allows you to adjust the bass levels of the Era 100.
Sonos Era 100 review: Setup and smart features
Sonos devices are virtually plug-and-play affairs, thanks to the manufacturer’s powerful companion app. The app is also an intuitive user interface that allows you to set up and operate the Era 100 with minimal fuss. Along with a convenient user interface, here are the smart features you get with the Sonos Era 100:
- A large selection of free and premium content, including thousands of radio stations and streaming apps
- Quick tune module that lets you calibrate the Sonos Era 100 from the Sonos app on your Android device
- The Era 100 can also self-calibrate using the classic Sonos Trueplay feature
You can use the Sonos OS and ecosystem to integrate the Era 100 with most Sonos soundbars. In a larger setup, the Sonos Era 100 makes a powerful side or rear speaker. This wireless device can also expand the home’s sound system to different rooms. In this setup, the Era 100 will either play the same audio as the rest of the sound system, or you can play different audio from a different source.
- The use of screws instead of adhesive allows for easier repair
- Wide soundstage with decent bass
- Clear, defined audio where distinct sound elements stand out while blending nicely
- QuickTune feature allows the Sonos Era 100 to self-calibrate and match the acoustics of its surroundings
- Interoperable with several audio devices from Sonos and other manufacturers
- USB-C port allows for a wider range of connections, but only if you source your own adapters
- Hands-free voice control with Alexa and the proprietary Sonos Voice
- A dedicated switch allows you to disable the microphone
- The Sonos Era 100 is incompatible with its predecessor, the Sonos One
- A USB-C port replaces the much-beloved Ethernet port of the Sonos One
- Support for Google Assistant currently lacking in the Sonos Era 100
Sonos Era 100 review verdict: All the changes and improvements you expect from the evolution of the Sonos One
It’s the end of an era as the Sonos One slowly makes way for its sleeker, more powerful replacement. This Sonos Era 100 review finds a compact smart speaker that will surprise you with its big sound. The icing on the cake is an array of convenient features that allow the Era 100 to blend right into your larger network of smart home devices.
The shopper looking to add to the sound profile of their entertainment setup could do a lot worse than this small and powerful sound cylinder. Click here to learn more about this smart speaker.