Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Sonos has always been expensive — but that doesn’t mean it’s overpriced

It’s been a long while since we saw a proper refresh of Sonos’ wireless speakers. Not new soundbars. Not something portable. We’re talking about the bread-and-butter of what made the company so popular in the first place. Wireless speakers that are simple to set up and play damned near anything you want.

And it just so happens we’ve got two new speakers on the way. The Sonos Era 100 and Sonos Era 300 effectively replace the aging Sonos One (released in October 2017, refreshed in 2019, and still available while supplies last) and the already-defunct Sonos Play:3, which was discontinued way back in 2018 after a seven-year run.

The Sonos One retailed for $199. The Play:3 launched at $299. That wasn’t inexpensive then, and their replacements cost even more, with the Era 100 landing at $249, and the Era 300 hitting a whopping $449. That’s a 50% increase on the latter, which is not an insignificant change.

And while we’ve seen headlines bemoaning the prices, that doesn’t mean the Era 100 and Era 300 cost “too much.”

Sonos Era 300 and Era 100 side by side.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Those last two words there are in quotation marks because cost is relative. What’s too expensive for me may be just fine for folks in a higher tax bracket. Or sometimes I’m willing to spend money on things the rich and famous find superfluous. That’s just the way it works.

Sonos speakers have never been what most anyone would call “affordable.” That’s partly by design. Sonos is a luxury brand. Like Apple. Or Mercedes. And like those two companies, you get one hell of a product for your money. Sonos speakers have always sounded really good (I’d go so far as to say “great,” but I fear I’m already poking a pretty big bear here, so let’s be conservative). They’ve always been easy to set up, and made the experience of having multiple speakers in multiple rooms about as simple as it can be. And I say that as someone who remembers running his fair share of speaker cable through walls back in the 1980s so his music-loving father could listen to his newfangled CDs in whatever room he wanted.

No, the Sonos speakers I’ve purchased have been well worth the money. They’ve changed the way I enjoy my pool deck, for instance (in a three-bedroom 1980 ranch-style home, lest anyone think I’ve got a butler typing this for me). And to Sonos’ credit, it did a decent job of spreading performance across price points, from the Sonos One (and Play:1 before it), to the mid-level Play:3 and the larger and louder Sonos Five. That you can mix and match is a feature. You probably don’t need a pair of Fives as rear speakers, but you can do it if you want (and if your wallet supports $1,000 worth of rears).

Just because you can’t afford them doesn’t mean they’re overpriced.

I’ve always been of the mind that the entry-level Sonos One (and the Play:1 before it) always boxed above its weight. A single speaker is surprisingly loud, and a stereo pair makes things that much better. Cheap? No. But, for me, worth it. And our first impressions of the new Sonos Era 100 and Era 300 note how they solve some problems. Android users are no longer shut out of Trueplay tuning. They’ve finally added Bluetooth.

The only reason to say the new Era 100 and Era 300 are “overpriced” or cost “too much” is if they go so far as to emulate Apple and do their best impression of a HomePod. That is if they do their jobs pretty well, but price themselves out of the market. The HomePod did that in its first iteration and had to go on vacation. And it remains to be seen whether Apple’s recent reincarnation will be successful.

If Sonos doesn’t sell enough, perhaps they were overpriced.

All this early moaning — the speakers are available for presale now and will be in stores on March 28 — also forgets one other thing. Companies can always bring the price down.

For what it’s worth, that’s what I think may happen. At least I hope it is. Because I haven’t preordered an Era 100 yet. It just costs too much.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
Ikea hastily removes product page for its Sonos wall art speaker
Leaked image of an Ikea Sonos speaker

It seems that Ikea inadvertently confirmed the existence of a new Sonos-powered smart speaker for the Symfonisk product line. A product page on the company's website, spotted by The Verge on June 1, detailed a Symfonisk "picture frame with Wi-Fi speaker," priced at $199. The product page has since been removed.

"You can choose to hang it on its own on the wall as an eye-catcher, match it with your other pictures on a wall, place it on the floor, or lean it against a wall,” Ikea’s site reportedly said. The term "picture frame" may be too literal -- it doesn't look like people will be able to put any art they like on the speaker's front, but there will likely be a choice of decor options created in an acoustically transparent fabric.

Read more
Sonos dips its toes into hi-res audio streaming with Qobuz
girl holding up sonos roam

For years, Sonos steadfastly refused to support hi-res music formats on its massively popular line of wireless speakers. Today, that finally changes: All Sonos users who are currently running the S2 version of the company's software will be able to stream hi-res music from Qobuz, with a valid subscription. Qobuz debuted its streaming music service in the U.S. in 2019.

With a Qobuz subscription, which starts at $15 per month, those who own one or more compatible Sonos products will be able to play hi-res streams at 48kHz/24-bit quality, marking the first time that Sonos speakers have been able to play better-than-CD-quality music. At the moment, the S2 software will support 48kHz/24-bit streams from Qobuz or 48kHz/24-bit music files from people's personal audio collection.

Read more
Sonos gives its longtime customers up to 30% off new purchases

In what appears to be a bid to help people avoid the retail insanity that is part of the upcoming Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, Sonos has announced a new twist on its trade-up program: If you own a qualifying Sonos product, you can score a 15% to 30% discount code that's valid for new purchases on

Related: What you need to know before upgrading your Sonos system to S2 software.

Read more