The cheapest Sonos Bluetooth speaker has arrived - but there's a catch

by Virginia Campbell

Sonos has upgraded its best Bluetooth speaker for music lovers that don’t want their devices to listen in on their conversations.

The new Sonos Roam SL removes the microphones from the original Sonos Roam speaker, which means you won’t be able to control it with your voice or use it to control your other smart home devices .

That might sound like a downgrade, but for anyone that’s concerned about privacy, having no microphones built into their portable speaker will come as a relief. The wireless speaker company has done this before, with the Sonos One and the Sonos One SL , with the latter becoming a popular choice for use as rear speakers with the brand's Sonos Arc and Beam soundbars.

The Sonos Roam SL is also slightly cheaper than its predecessor, and is available to preorder now for $159 / £159/ AU$269 - it'll officially go on sale on March 15.

Compared to the $179 / £179 / AU$299 price of the Sonos Roam, you’re getting a $20 / £20 / AU$30 discount for sacrificing the ability to control the speaker hands-free.

Is that price cut really worth celebrating?

That price cut does come with a big caveat, though. When the Sonos Roam first launched in 2020, it cost $169 / £159 / AU$279 - the same as the new SL model (in the UK, at least). However, after Sonos increased the prices of most of its wireless speakers and soundbars last year , that price jumped up, too.

So, in real terms, you’re not really saving any money on the new model - if anything, you’re losing some of the functionality that made the Sonos Roam our top pick for the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy today. Add in the fact that the original Sonos Roam is sometimes on sale for $10 / £10 / AU$20 less than its RRP, the saving associated with the SL model is really quite negligible.

Still, the Sonos Roam SL could still offer a fantastic option for anyone that wants the very best portable speaker on the market today, but doesn’t want the possible privacy concerns that come with having microphones built-in.

The SL otherwise retains all of the original Sonos Roam’s best features, including the ability to ‘swap’ music to other Sonos speakers , Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the ability to stereo pair with other Roam or Roam SL speakers, and a 10-hour battery life.

The build and design of the Sonos Roam SL remain unchanged too, so you’re still getting an easily portable speaker that offers IP67 dust and water resistance, as well as remarkably powerful audio performance.

It’s a shame that Sonos wasn’t able to shave more off the price for the lack of voice assistant support - after all, that’s a feature that’s still fairly new in the world of Bluetooth speakers, and being able to use the Roam as a smart speaker sets it apart from most of its competitors.

Sonos’ pricing increases have now had a knock-on effect on its new devices, and that doesn’t give us much hope for future devices, like the rumored Sonos headphones - chances are, they’ll be pretty pricey if they ever materialize.

These are the 10 biggest movies on Netflix right now

Netflix announced in November 2021 (in no small part thanks to the success of Squid Game ) that it would be publishing a weekly list detailing its most popular movies over a seven-day period.

Ranking titles based on weekly hours viewed – i the total number of hours subscribers around the world watched each title between Monday and Sunday of the previous week – Netflix regularly shares four separate lists; two for movies (English and Non-English) and two for TV shows (English and Non-English).

Whether or not the best Netflix movies make it to the top of these charts is up to the streamer’s viewing public – and feature-length documentaries have been known to sneak into the rankings , too – but below, we’ve rounded up the 10 most popular English-speaking movies on the streamer this past week.

1. The In Between

Release date: April 8, 2022 Hours viewed: 26.77 million Weeks in Top 10: 1

2. The Adam Project

Release date: March 11, 2022 Hours viewed: 10.9 million Weeks in Top 10: 5

3. The Bubble

Release date: April 1, 2022 Hours viewed: 9.95 million Weeks in Top 10: 2

4. Shrek Forever After

Release date: July 2, 2010 Hours viewed: 9.77 million Weeks in Top 10: 2

5. The Blind Side

Release date: November 20, 2009 Hours viewed: 8.71 million Weeks in Top 10: 2

6. Four Brothers

Release date: August 12, 2005 Hours viewed: 8.17 million Weeks in Top 10: 1

7. Enough

Release date: 21 May, 2002 Hours viewed: 5.79 million Weeks in Top 10: 1

8. How It Ends

Release date: July 13, 2018 Hours viewed: 5.65 million Weeks in Top 10: 1

9. Shrek

Release date: June 29, 2001 Hours viewed: 5.34 million Weeks in Top 10: 5

10. Return to Space

Release date: February 1, 2019 Hours viewed: 6.14 million Weeks in Top 10: 1

Hands on with the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s: A delicious temptation

Lenovo has lifted the lid on the latest addition to its portfolio of ThinkPad business laptops , the X13s.

Launched at MWC 2022 , the ThinkPad X13s is the first ever laptop powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chipset - and also the first ever ThinkPad powered by an Arm-based chip.

The new laptop supposedly offers a whopping 28-hour battery life, courtesy of a few clever optimizations at the SoC level, and also benefits from 5G mmWave connectivity for rapid speeds when working on the move.

Lenovo doesn’t have a presence at MWC this year due to the pandemic, but we got hands on with the new machine at the Qualcomm booth.

First impressions: Lenovo ThinkPad X13s

We only had a few minutes with the ThinkPad X13s, so bear that in mind. But that said, it didn’t take long for the quality of the device to become apparent.

This laptop is extremely light and thin, weighing in at just over 1kg, but at the same time feels sturdy in the hands. It’s also fanless, which means the machine should be practically silent, even under load.

Almost everything about the build feels premium, from the recycled magnesium shell to the matt finish that prevents the hands slipping as you type. And although the keyboard is perhaps no nicer than any other, the touchpad is lovely and smooth and the mouse buttons deliver a satisfying thunk.

Long-time ThinkPad fans will be relieved to hear the TrackPoint nipple has made it into the X13s, so look forward to using that once for the novelty and never again.

The so-called communications bar protrudes slightly at the top of the screen, but not in an unattractive way, housing a 5MP webcam that supports Windows Hello and intelligent framing.

And the low-power screen seemed plenty bright too, even in the harsh lighting conditions of the Fira exhibition center in Barcelona.

Naturally, the small footprint necessitates compromises, particularly from a ports perspective. The X13s features two USB-C ports, a SIM slot and a headphone jack, but nothing else; there’s no USB-A, HDMI, or storage expansion ports. It’s clearly designed to be used in combination with a docking station , and without any peripherals when on the move, so maybe the lack of ports will only be an issue for some.

Long story short, we wouldn’t mind one ourselves. For anyone that can convince their IT department to shell out, the X13s will no doubt be an attractive option.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s will hit the shelves in May, starting at $1,100/€1,399, and TechRadar Pro will publish a full review at a later date.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.

Disclaimer: Our flights and accommodation for MWC 2022 were funded by Huawei, but the organization had no editorial control over the content of this article.

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