You already know that Sonos makes some of the best wireless speakers for sound quality. And you may have heard that it was working on a whole new generation of audio hardware. At last, it's here. Sonos has taken the wraps off the Sonos Era 300 and Sonos Era 100 speakers, and I think you're going to be impressed.
The Sonos Era 100 is a replacement for the ageing Sonos one, but the one I think you'll be most interested is its bigger sibling. The Sonos Era 300 has been built from scratch rather than based on an existing Sonos, and it's all about spatial audio.
You can order yours today for delivery on or after 28 March.
What's so special about the Sonos Era 300?
This is an expensive speaker – at £449 / $449 / €499 / AU$749 it's even more expensive than Apple's HomePod 2 – but it's slightly cheaper than the Sonos Five, and it has a key difference: where the 5 is limited to stereo audio, the Era 300 can do mono and spatial audio too. Both Era speakers also support hi-res music from Quobuz and Amazon Music; more hi-res services should be added soon.
To deliver that audio there are six drivers: two woofers for the bass, angled left and right for stereo imaging, and four tweeters. The tweeters include one forward-firing one, two side-firing ones and one upward-firing ones for that all-important height. Each driver has its own Class D amplifier.
It's an odd looking thing but it's not as big as it looks in photos, and most of the changes are down to function – so for example in order to make room for the upward-firing driver to breathe, Sonos had to reposition its control panel towards the front instead of having it dead centre as originally planned.
The other big headline feature here is music over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Era 300 supports Wi-Fi 6 and it's the first mains-powered Sonos to handle Bluetooth audio streaming – although it's worth noting that Spatial Audio is Wi-Fi only because of its data requirements. There's also AirPlay 2 and Alexa.
The Era 300 also has a USB port you can use to connect it to audio sources such as the best turntables, although you'll ned to shell out for an adapter. Refreshingly, Sonos hasn't done an Apple here and charged an arm and a leg for those: expect to pay about £19.
I haven't heard either Era yet, but given Sonos's track record I think it's highly unlikely that they're going to sound anything less than brilliant. I can't wait to read what my colleagues make of them when they turn up in T3's listening rooms.