It’s hard to overstate what a big deal the Era era is for Sonos. It’s so big that I’d venture to say that I care more about the Sonos Era era than another famous Eras tour happening this spring.
For those who don’t keep up with the AV world, this spring, Sonos released two speakers: The Era 300 and the Era 100. The former is a breakthrough in at-home listening: It allows consumers to play Dolby Atmos, which offers a spatial audio experience, which is at its most basic level, a way of listening to music in 360 degrees. (For artists, it’s like being able to paint in new colors: They’re able to record the sound of drums that sound like they’re behind you, or a guitar that sounds like it’s coming from the ceiling). This is opposed to stereo, where sound comes from just the left and right, or mono, where sound comes from a single source. It’s a game-changer to have a speaker that brings spatial audio into the home, because that’s the kind of sound we usually have to go to the movie theater or concert venue to experience.
The Era 100, on the other hand, is a new twist on an old classic Sonos speaker, the Sonos One, and it will give you the most studio-like sound quality bang for your buck, while still being sleek and compact. A columnar-shaped speaker, its height of a vase and slightly wider than a handle of vodka, weighing less than a gallon of milk. It’s also small enough to not be some high-tech distraction in my apartment; rather, its sleek and minimalist look only elevates the objects around it.
The Era 100 has been perched on my living room table for weeks, and I’ve never listened to so much music consistently throughout the day; it’s never been so easy, or more importantly, sounded so good.
It’s hard to talk about audio, as it is, famously, something that must be experienced firsthand. The only way to do it is to appeal to an emotion. So I’ll tell you the real reason why I love the Sonos Era 100: It’s because I can roll over in the morning, go to Spotify and play Lana Del Rey’s “Say Yes To Heaven,” press a single button and her voice fills my whole house. When I think about full immersion in music and its ability to make or break your day from the start, I always think about the scene in The Holiday where Kate Winslet, jet-lagged and dry-eyed from crying over her loser boss, wakes up in Cameron Diaz’s swanky Los Angeles pad. She opens the blackout curtains with the push of a button and she presses play on a CD player: Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” starts playing. She sits up in bed and starts playing air guitar with her pillow. This is now me every morning!
But as technical specs go, the Sonos Era 100 has some things that I wouldn’t notice if I wasn’t told, but it’s actually the nuts and bolts of it all that makes it work so seamlessly: This speaker is in stereo, which is rare for a speaker that’s so compact — but it offers rich, high frequencies that come from the left and right, while a larger midwoofer creates a stunning, unexpected bass.
The Sonos Era 100 comes with a new user interface and volume slider, as well as a lightning-speed upgraded connectivity, which I can personally attest to: this thing connects faster to my iPhone than my Airpods. It also has a feature where you can optimize the sound for the unique acoustics of your particular space, a level of audio customization of which I’m unaccustomed and wholly impressed, but now don’t think I can live without. The price tag on the Era 100 isn't cheap. The going rate of feeling like you're in a movie, in this case, is $249. But feeling like you're a main character? Priceless.
The Sonos Era 100 is available from Sonos now.