The Bose SoundLink Flex is one of the newest portable Bluetooth speakers from Bose. It is the successor to the highly popular Bose Soundlink and promises loud audio and robust build. On the other hand, the Sonos Roam is a premium portable Bluetooth speaker from Sonos. It promises high-res audio with deep bass. More importantly, it brings Wi-Fi connectivity and is one of the close competitors of Soundlink Flex.
So that brings us to a simple question—is the Sonos Roam better than the Bose SoundLink Flex? Or, is SoundLink Flex the ultimate portable Bluetooth speaker? Well, that’s what we’ll find in this post today as we compare both Bose SoundLink Flex and Sonos Roam to see which Bluetooth speaker will fit your requirements the most.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Design and Connectivity
The Sonos Roam is a premium speaker and boasts elegant looks, all thanks to the smooth and polished material. The triangular shape gives it the advantage of using it vertically and horizontally. However, it’s not a 360-degree speaker, and the base and the sides do not have speaker grills.
That said, it’s a robust speaker and can withstand some harsh conditions. For now, it’s IP67 rating makes it waterproof and dust resistant. So, you can take it out to the pool or beach. The good thing is that even if the material is smooth, it’s not a lint and dust magnet.
The Roam is big enough to hold in your hands. And the non-slippery material ensures a better grip. However, it doesn’t have a lanyard or a strap. Not that anyone would be comfortable hanging a $150+ speaker by their bike’s railing or backpack’s loop.
That said, the Roam comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and also supports Qi-wireless charging. The former means you can expect the wireless range to be better when compared to old Bluetooth Speakers. On the other hand, you can buy the Sonos Qi-wireless charging pad and wirelessly fuel the Roam. Alternatively, you can also use your phone’s Qi-charging pad to fuel it.
Like the one above, Bose’s SoundLink Flex also fits the bill of portable and lightweight. This speaker barely weighs 1.3 lbs and is big enough to offer a decent hold. The speaker has a smooth silicone exterior (which adds to its robustness). The only downside is that the silicone acts as a dust magnet.
Like its peer, you can use the Flex both vertically and horizontally. It packs the proprietary PositionIQ tech that adjusts the audio output as per the orientation. This way, you will have similar audio delivered to your ear irrespective of its orientation.
That said, it’s small enough to be thrown into a tote bag or a backpack, and the silicone exterior will ensure it remains scratch-free.
Like most Bluetooth speakers today, the Flex is also a waterproof speaker with a rating of IP67. The good thing is that it floats on water as well. So if it falls into your pool accidentally, you can retrieve it without fearing water damage.
For connectivity, Bose’s SoundLink Flex packs an older Bluetooth 4.2 version and doesn’t support Wi-Fi. Most premium speakers like the Roam above come with Bluetooth 5.0 (see Bluetooth 5.1 vs Bluetooth 4.2) or above, so it would have been good to see the same on the Flex. However, the folks at CNET argue that the connectivity on the Flex is rock solid.
The Wi-Fi connection on the Sonos Roam takes things a little bit further. For one, it brings Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support. With this, you can issue voice commands to the speaker when connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
Plus, it boasts features like Automatic Switching and Sound Swap. The former ensures that you switch to Wi-Fi whenever you enter your house. On the other hand, if you have a secondary Sonos speaker, you can ‘throw’ the sound from the Roam to the other one. Cool, right?
The best part is that both features work as advertised. Also, the Sonos Roam works best in a multi-Sonos units environment. It can seamlessly connect with other Sonos soundbars and speakers to give you a stereo output.
As opposed to the above, the Bose SoundLink Flex doesn’t support smart features, though you can enable voice commands for Google Assistant and Siri through the companion app. The app gives you several nifty options like connecting with other Bose speakers. However, it doesn’t have customizable EQ settings. That means you will have to settle for the default EQ settings. Bummer, right?
The battery life is one of the important aspects of any portable speaker. After all, you wouldn’t want a speaker that dies after playing for just a dozen songs, right? Both the Sonos Roam and the SoundLink Flex sport good battery life. However, the battery life is not as extraordinary as the JBL Charge 5 (20 hours) or the Sony SRS-XB43 (24 hours) (see best portable Bluetooth speakers with long battery life).
The Sonos Roam lasts around 10 hours. And the battery life depends on the Wi-Fi strength, overall volume, and the number of times you use the smart assistant. For instance, the battery will plummet sooner while using the speaker over Wi-Fi. Thankfully, for the days you are out on a road trip, picnic, or camping, Bluetooth connectivity should sustain in for a long time.
Plus, the aggressive battery-saving practices should help you save energy in the long run. For instance, the Roam goes into sleep mode when not used.
On the other hand, Bose rates the SoundLink Flex at 12 hours on moderate volume. Provided you charge it fully and play songs at a moderate volume, the battery will last you its advertised time.
The good thing is that both speakers support USB-C charging. Apart from that, the charging time is short, and it takes around 4 hours for a complete charge.
So let’s address the elephant in the room. How do the Sonos Roam and Bose SoundLink Flex perform in terms of audio quality? When it comes to the Roam, it delivers smooth and crisp audio. While it can handle complex instruments, it doesn’t have an assertive bass. But the feature that makes it stand out is its Trueplay feature. Using it, the speaker can optimize the audio as per its surroundings.
So, for example, if you are moving the Sonos Roam from a small room to a bigger one, the audio will optimize automatically.
But at the end of the day, the Sonos Roam is not the loudest speaker. Sure, it can fill up average size rooms. However, it’s not a party speaker if you are looking for one.
When it comes to loudness, the Bose SoundLink Flex is also not the loudest speaker, although Bose claims it to fill up any room with its noise. That said, it delivers a balanced audio output. And yes, the bass has more definition. Plus, the audio appears clear and distinct.
But as we mentioned above, you won’t be able to customize the EQ as per your choice.
Sonos Roam vs Bose SoundLink Flex
Both Sonos Roam and Bose SoundLink Flex are expensive premium portable speakers. Thankfully, it’s not a difficult task to pick one between them.
If you are looking for a simple portable Bluetooth speaker that meets the memo, then the SoundLink Flex is the one for you. There are no added frills, and it’s good at what it does—belting out quality music. At the same time, the robust build means it will survive in any condition, much like its predecessor.
On the other hand, if you are planning to move into the Sonos ecosystem, then the Roam is an excellent buy, primarily because Sonos speakers blend in seamlessly with other Sonos speakers.
That said, it delivers impressive music. However, most of the nifty features will go for a toss if you do not make the most of them.