Sonos' next smart speaker could be a HomePod rival with Dolby Atmos

HomePod 2 hero
The HomePod 2 will have a new rival from Sonos (Image credit: Apple)

If you’ve been looking to upgrade your home’s sound system then 2023 could be the year to do it as Sonos is reportedly set to deliver a few new Dolby Atmos smart speakers before December; devices that should give Apple’s new HomePod a run for its money.

Sonos is a cut above the rest when it comes to audio, with its Sonos One sound system being the best wireless speaker and the best smart speaker you can buy right now. But things could get even better this year if Sonos’ rumored new speakers live up to the hype.

We’ve known for some time (since August 2022) that Sonos is developing Dolby Atmos speakers that will boast multi-directional sound capabilities so to deliver immersive spatial audio. But a recent report from The Verge has confirmed that the speakers are in the final stages before release and they have official names: the Era 100 and Era 300 (previously known as the Optimo 2 speakers), which you can now find out more about in our Sonos Era 100 and Sonos Era 300 guide. 

The Era 300 will be Sonos’ flagship, a Dolby Atmos smart speaker to rival Apple’s HomePod 2. We don’t yet know how good it sounds but Sonos has a knack for creating stellar audio products so we expect it’ll at least match the HomePod 2 for sound quality; in other areas, its new appliance looks to have the edge.

That’s because the Era 300 likely won’t be so tied into Apple’s ecosystem as the HomePod. The HomePod line offers a lot more support for Apple’s own music streaming service (Apple Music) than it does its rivals (like Spotify), but Sonos’s platform doesn’t favor any one option over another. What’s more, while we expect the Era 300 will continue to offer AirPlay – which lets iPhone users wirelessly stream music from their phone to the speaker – it’s possible it will also support Bluetooth connections – something the Sonos One lacks, and a feature that would make it easier to use Sonos’ products if you’re an Android fan.

3D render of the Sonos Optimo 2 design, showing a dual-angle design

The Sonos Era 300 (formerly Optimo 2) speaker render from The Verge, based on pictures it has seen (Image credit: The Verge)

As for the Era 100 – and rumored Era 100 SL, which following Sonos’ naming conventions would be the same system minus any microphones – it’s expected to be more of a true Sonos One successor (read: less premium price and less impressive sound compared to the Era 300). That said, the Era 100 may still boast up-firing speakers – to take full advantage of Dolby Atmos – and a new design to match its Era sibling and differentiate it from the Sonos One.

We’ll have to wait to find out a few more key details about these new speakers – including their price – but the Era line’s existence alone gives audiophiles a good reason to delay upgrading their home’s AV setup for a little while longer.

With Sonos also expected to launch a product in an entirely new category this year – potentially the long-awaited Sonos headphones or some kind of TV app or OS that was teased by job posts in 2022 – 2023 is shaping up to be a big year for the company. As soon as we find out more details we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.