On paper, the Era 300 ($449) is arguably the most exciting Sonos speaker in years. It's the company's first non-soundbar that's fully optimized for Dolby Atmos — like its Arc soundbar, it has an upward-firing driver to make audio feel way more immersive. It has both Bluetooth and line-in connections in addition to Wi-Fi, meaning it supports more ways to play audio. And if used as rear-channel speakers, two Era 300s can help make the most immersive Sonos home theater system possible.

In reality, the Era 300 is a bit more complicated. That's because even though it sounds terrific, the Era 300 really needs to be playing Dolby Atmos content to make use of all its powers — and Sonos only supports this via two music streaming services, Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music. So if you don't subscribe to either of those, or if you don't plan on buying two Era 300s and using them as rear-channel speakers, you should probably opt for another Sonos speaker, like the Era 100 ($249) or Five ($549), instead.

What's Good About the Sonos Era 300?

sonos era 300
Head on shot of the Era 300.
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Dolby Atmos sounds electric.

sonos era 300 speaker
At launch, you’ll need to subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited or Apple Music to play Dolby Atmos tracks on the Era 300.   
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sonos era 300 speaker
Both music streaming services have tens of thousands of tracks that support Dolby Atmos.  
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When at full pelt and playing tracks that support Dolby Atmos, there's no debating that the Era 300 is a fantastic-sounding speaker. I tested it with Amazon Music Unlimited — which when I tested it before the official launch was the only streaming service that Sonos supported Dolby Atmos, but Sonos is rolling out Dolby Atmos support for Apple Music at launch — and the speaker sounds big, wide and full of energy.

Amazon Music Unlimited claims to have tens of thousands of tracks that support Dolby Atmos, and I actually found that most of the music I normally listen to was available in Dolby Atoms. (You can also search for playlists and tracks that do support Dolby Atmos, like this one). These songs are even labeled with a "Dolby Atmos" icon, so you know you're listening to the right thing.

When listening to songs that were optimized for Dolby Atmos — like Justin Bieber's "Ghost," Halsey's "Die 4 Me" and Ed Sheeran's "Shivers" — they just sound bigger than what you'd get with traditional stereo. The audio shoots left, right, through the center and upwards (thanks to the Era's upward-firing driver) and just immerses you in a way that feels a little more intimate, more like you're experiencing music live.

Two Era 300s are the best rear-channel speakers you can buy.

sonos era speaker
You can pair two Era 300s with an Arc soundbar for a really immersive home theater system.

Full disclosure: Sonos only sent me one review unit of the Era 300 and thus I was not able to use two as rear-channel speakers with my Sonos Arc. However, earlier in the month I went into New York for a private briefing, and I was able to listen to the Arc, two Subs and two Era 300s — which is a 7.1.4-channel system and the most immersive sounding home theater system you can make with a Sonos soundbar — and it was incredible. We watched several movie clips, including the scene in A Quiet Place where a monster corners Elizabeth Blunt's character in the basement, and the sounds were just blasting off the ceiling. It was awesome.

The great thing about using two Era 300s as rear-channel speakers is that it nullifies the headaches (more on this below) that come with Sonos's support of Dolby Atmos music. There is so much content — movies, shows and sports — that support Dolby Atmos, and as long as you have an Arc soundbar (or even a second-generation Beam), the Era 300s will immediately sound their best when paired with that home theater system.

For this reason, I imagine the vast majority of early adopters of the Era 300 will be buying two and using them as rear-channel speakers with their Arc. It's so easy...and sounds awesome.

It can be hooked up to your turntable.

sonos era 300 speaker
The Era 300 has a USB-C line-in connection that you can use to connect a turntable (with a preamp). You have to buy a special line-in adapter from Sonos, though.
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sonos era 300 speaker
Streaming Bluetooth audio to the Era 300 is also really easy. 
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In addition to streaming over Wi-Fi, the Era 300 supports Bluetooth and a USB-C line-in connection. The latter is the cooler thing in my eyes, as it allows you to hook up the Era 300 to a turntable with a built-in preamp — although you will need to buy Sonos's special 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter ($19) — or play your vinyl records on your Sonos. Previously, you were only able to do this with a Five or Play:5.

(For the last few years, I've had my Play:5 connected to a turntable and it works great. I wasn't able to try the Era 300 on my turntable, unfortunately, as I didn't have Sonos's special adapter. But I'm guessing that it works just fine.)

As for Bluetooth, this works really well on the Era 300. You simply push the Bluetooth button on the back of the speaker, find the Era 300 in your smartphone's settings and connect. As for when you'd need to connect via Bluetooth, that's a different story. Theoretically, it allows you to stream audio that you normally wouldn't be able to normally, like music you've recorded or the audio from a YouTube video. But I'm not sure I'd actually do that very often. It does make it easy for friends to come over and play audio without connecting to your home's Wi-Fi, which is nice, although I'm not sure my friends (or family) are smart enough or determined enough to try and figure that out. Sorry guys.

Yes, it's an Android-friendly Sonos speaker.

sonos era 300 speaker
There are two options for Trueplay tuning. "Advanced tuning" is what traditional Trueplay is and can only be done with the help of an iPhone or iPad. "Quick tuning" can be done by either an Android or iPhone users.
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If you're an Android user, you have another reason to be excited about the Era 300 (as well as the Era 100) — you can finally tune the speaker via Trueplay. It's a different kind of Trueplay, albeit, called "Quick Tune" and it uses the Era 300's built-in mics to tune itself based on its surroundings.

As an iPhone user, I've never really had this issue of not being able to use Trueplay — as iPhones (and iPads) have support Sonos's TruePlay for years — but it's been hinderance for Android users for years.

That said, Quick Tune is not quite as sophisticated as traditional Trueplay, which Sonos is now calling "Advanced Tuning," because it only uses the speaker's mics and not the mics in your smartphone or table (which is what Advanced Tuning does with an iPhone or iPad). It therefore doesn't quite get the same "lay of the land" as it would if you were waving your device all around the room like with "Advanced Tuning" aka traditional Trueplay.

What's Not Ideal About the Sonos Era 300?

sonos era 300 speaker
The Era 300 has a neat indented strip that allows you to adjust volume by swiping or tapping.
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Sorry Spotify listeners, the Era 300 isn't for you.

sonos era 300 speaker
A rear view of the Era 300. The Bluetooth pairing button is at the top. At the bottom there’s a switch for turning the mic on/off as well as a USB-C line-in port.
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I've owned a number of Sonos speakers for years and, in my everyday life, I mostly stream Spotify on them. Unfortunately, Spotify doesn't support Dolby Atmos — on Sonos or on any other speakers — and thus the Era 300 isn't going to be your best option for it. You can still stream Spotify to the Era 300 just like you would any other Sonos speaker, of course, but you're going to have to do so with the knowledge that other streaming services would sound better. it's just not going to sound as good as it could. And that stinks.

Now, Spotify is supposedly figuring out pricing for its long awaited lossless streaming service, called Spotify HiFi. It was going to roll out the service by the end of 2021, but changed plans after Apple Music released its own lossless service at no extra cost. It's assumed that Spotify is going to bundle the service with support for Dolby Atmos, but we don't know when/if that's going to happen...or if Sonos is going to support it when it does.

Listening to Dolby Atmos tracks can be, well, complicated.

sonos era 300 speaker
In the Sonos app, you can adjust play around with the "height" of the audio that the Era 300 is able to deliver.
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In order to listen to Dolby Atmos music on the Era 300, there are a few other things you need to know. Dolby Atmos is only supported over Wi-Fi, meaning if you connect to the Era 300 over Bluetooth it will not be able to play true Dolby Atmos content. Maybe most importantly, Dolby Atmos is not supported over AirPlay 2. This means if you have an iPhone and you're an Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited subscriber, and you stream a Dolby Atmos track to the Era 300 over AirPlay 2, it will not play that track in all its Dolby Atmos glory. And that's pretty frustrating.

You might be wondering, "Well, how do you play Dolby Atmos content on the Era 300?" There is only one way — you need to do so through the Sonos app. After opening the Sonos app, you need to select the Music tab > select Amazon Music Unlimited (or Apple Music) > select a track that supports Dolby Atmos > and then play it on the Era 300.

In my many years of listening to Sonos speakers, I rarely ever use the Sonos app. I use it basically for two things: setting up my Sonos speakers and adjusting how they are grouped together. So for somebody like me to take full advantage of the Era 300, you basically have to relearn how you interact with your Sonos speakers. And that's, well, slightly inconvenient.

You can't use "Hey Sonos" or "Alexa" voice commands to play Dolby Atmos tracks.

homepod vs sonos era 300
Side by side: Apple’s newest HomePod the Sonos Era 300. Both are capable of playing Dolby Atmos content, but they are innately different. While the HomePod plays 360-degree audio, the Sonos Era 300 is a front-firing speaker. It’s also substantially bigger and more expensive.
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One of the most perplexing things about the Era 300 is that if you use it as a smart speaker — meaning you request songs by either "Hey Sonos" or "Alexa" voice commands — it will not play Dolby Atmos tracks. This is true even if you have Amazon Music Unlimited or Apple Music set as the default music service in the Sonos app.

I'm not exactly sure why this is the case, but when I reached out to Sonos they confirmed that using the Sonos app is the only way to play Dolby Atmos and truly experience the best audio that the Era 300 has to offer. According to a Sonos rep, "Atmos playback is not currently connected to voice control, including Alexa."

      No Google Assistant support is a buzzkill.

      sonos era 300 speaker
      Google Assistant is nowhere to be seen.
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      The Era 300 is a smart speaker that can respond to "Hey Sonos" or "Alexa" voice commands. Unlike pretty much all of Sonos's other smart speakers and soundbars, the Era 300 (and the Era 100) doesn't support Google Assistant. And that's a bummer, especially for people who have other Sonos speakers that support it.

      The reason why the Era 300 doesn't support Google Assistant is, according to Sonos, because of policy changes that Google has made for third-party companies that want to integrate its voice assistant into their gadgets. It apparently doesn't have anything to do with the ongoing legal battle between the two regarding patented speaker technology.

      Either way, it's unfortunate.

      It's not Sonos's best-sounding speaker.

      sonos era 300 speaker
      Photo: Era 300 (left) and Play:5 (right). 
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      sonos era 300 speaker
      The Five and older Play:5 (right) are both superior sounding stereo speakers than the Era 300. 
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      The Era 300 isn't as good of a speaker as the Five (or antiquated Play:5), which is bigger, has more drivers and is $100 more expensive than the Era 300. The Five is also optimized for playing stereo audio, which pretty much all digital tracks are rendered for, so you don't have to worry about the specific track you're listening to or how you're streaming it to the speaker — the Five is going to sound great no matter what.

      So in addition to being a bigger, bass-ier, louder and better sounding speaker, there's a lot less to worry about when listening to the Five compared to the Era 300.

      (Read our article on the Five vs Era 300 for a more in-depth comparison.)

      The Verdict: Sonos Era 300

      sonos era 300 speaker
      The Sonos Era 300.
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      The Era 300 isn't as straightforward to recommend as other Sonos speakers. There are too many variables. If you're primarily going to listen to music, you should really be a subscriber either Amazon Music Unlimited or Apple Music and be really psyched about listening to Dolby Atmos tracks — which again, sound fantastic on the Era 300.

      The Era 300s are pretty easy to recommend for home theater enthusiasts who have an Arc soundbar. If you're cool dropping $900 on two Era 300s so you can designate them as rear-channel speakers, they can create the most badass Sonos surround system possible.

      The truth is: the Sonos Era 300 is a speaker that's more primed for the future rather than the right now — at least for most people.

      The Sonos Era 300 is available for preorder now and starts shipping March 28th.

      Color: Black

      Sonos Era 300


      • Excellent Dolby Atmos sound
      • The best rear-channel speakers that Sonos makes
      • Supports many ways of playing audio

      • Listening to Dolby Atmos can be complicated
      • No Google Assistant support