Answered

Roam setup nightmares.

  • 25 April 2021
  • 24 replies
  • 2625 views

The product is branded “roam” it should be easy to use away from home… right?

I was naive enough to think that.

I am currently traveling for work and my go-to bluetooth travel speaker kicked the bucket. I took it as an opportunity to pickup the roam, something I had been eyeing for a bit. Getting the thing setup (just so I can use bluetooth) while I’m on hotel wifi is near impossible. It also REFUSES to do bluetooth pairing without wifi setup first.

 

I finally did it, it took an hour and a half. Multiple devices, hotspots, new sonos systems/accounts, etc. Completely unacceptable experience.

 

 

This is going to be a ton of people’s entry product into the sonos ecosystem. It NEEDS to work with simple bluetooth pairing out of the box. I don’t know why I have to tell you this, get better product management.

icon

Best answer by ratty 25 April 2021, 22:43

View original

24 replies

Roam is a Sonos speaker that also does Bluetooth, not a Bluetooth speaker that also does Sonos. 

All Sonos devices need to be set up on a system and registered to an account before they can be used. In part this is because units often ship with out of date firmware, so require an internet connection and an account in order to update to the latest version. 

Roam is a Sonos speaker that also does Bluetooth, not a Bluetooth speaker that also does Sonos. 

All Sonos devices need to be setup on a system and registered to an account before they can be used,

 

Good point, why did I expect a product branded “Roam” and with the following marketing headlines (on the sonos product page) to actually work well away from home? Silly silly me.

  • “Supreme Versatility”
  • “Take incredible sound everywhere with Roam”
  • “”The portable smart speaker for all your listening adventures.”

What an absurd request I made, for the product with “Supreme Versatility” to work out of the box, I’ve learned my lesson.

 

 

Sonos Roam:

“The portable smart speaker for all your listening adventures… as long as they start at your house, if not, you’re out of luck”

None of your quotes detract from the fact that the unit first needs to be set up on -- or as -- a Sonos system in order to operate.

 

The FAQ on the product/store page are quite explicit:

Will Roam work with Bluetooth out of the box?

Like all Sonos speakers, Roam must be set up with the Sonos app whilst on WiFi before you can connect a device directly via Bluetooth.

I’m not arguing that point, and I never was arguing that it doesn’t require that setup. I was arguing it SHOULD be changed so it works out of the box. That was my feedback.

 

This post was left in the feedback section, are you lost?

are you lost?

No. You initiated the thread here, which incidentally is a section for feedback about the community itself, not the products.

Userlevel 1

I completely agreed with Pwestdubs - I just acquired ROAM during an overseas trip to use for the next few weeks that I will be in the road, only to find out I need a private WIFI connection (hotel/coffee shops/etc networks that required user/pass doesn't work) to set it up and start using it via BT  … it’s just ridiculous - this type of product should come ready to use - I own multiples Sonos products for home use so big fan of the brand … this is just not right. “Bluetooth is seamless with Roam” says Sonos IG post …. not that seamless after all.

 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Roam is a Sonos speaker that also does Bluetooth, not a Bluetooth speaker that also does Sonos. 

All Sonos devices need to be set up on a system and registered to an account before they can be used. In part this is because units often ship with out of date firmware, so require an internet connection and an account in order to update to the latest version. 

Sorry,  but looking at the Sonos Roam product page I don’t think the average consumer will get this impression.   

Fortunately for me I already had a Sonos 2 set up when I bought my Roams so I had relatively little difficulty setting up. 

 

But I have been looking at Bluetooth speakers since last year, and I was comparing the Roams with the Bose Revolve and other Bluetooth speakers.  I think other average consumers will likely be doing the same. 

The average will not assume that a Sonos 2 controller Wi-Fi account setup will be required to use Bluetooth.  A non-Sonos user has no idea what a Sonos 2 controller is.  Even some Sonos 1 users had no idea that they needed to set up a Sonos 2 controller just to set up their Roams. 

The Roam product page has statements like 

  • Roam is ready to soundtrack your day, whether you want to unwind in the backyard or escape to the backwoods.”
  • “everywhere” and
  • “stream directly from your smartphone, tablet, or computer using Bluetooth.”

And the average user will quite naturally assume that it works similar to other Bluetooth devices.

Saying that the average user should have read some FAQ page is not reasonable in my opinion.

Perhaps the product pages should at least have an asterisk with footnotes indicating the Roams need to be registered on a Sonos 2 WiFi controller network before use.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Hi @Pwestdubs 

Welcome to the Sonos Community!

Thank you all for your feedback - both on Roam setup and the guides/FAQs online. I’ll pass this on to our development team for consideration.

If a customer is not going to read the FAQ before buying the product, I doubt they are going to bother looking at asterisks and footnotes.  I get that there is going to be customers who don’t consider the possibility that a WiFi speaker with Bluetooth might operate differently than a speaker with Bluetooth alone...but this twisting of promotional language to claim it implies setup as a Sonos speaker is not required for bluetooth operation is very much a stretch.  Do you really think Sonos should say...

  • “Roam is ready, after setup on your home WiFi, to soundtrack your day, whether you want to unwind in the backyard or escape to the backwoods.”
  • “everywhere, after setup on your home WiFi,” and
  • “stream directly from your smartphone, tablet, or computer using Bluetooth, after setup on your home WiFi, .”

Assumptions were made, and they were wrong.  Sonos can perhaps do more to anticipate assumptions, but that isn’t going to fully stop people from making assumptions that are incorrect.

I’ve noticed that Amazon puts a “We want you to know” section near the top of the page for some of their products, and it’s usually about assumptions like this. Here’s the page for the Echo Flex as an example. Perhaps Sonos could do something similar.  However, this still requires people to go to the product page to get details.  I have no doubt that people ignore that section of the Amazon page.  Nor can Sonos control all the information on all retailer’s sites.  Indeed, if you were to get an Echo Flex at Best Buy, you aren’t going to see any such warnings.

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

..

Assumptions were made, and they were wrong.  Sonos can perhaps do more to anticipate assumptions, but that isn’t going to fully stop people from making assumptions that are incorrect.

..

 

While it is impossible to know what people are going to assume, there is also the concept of “reasonable expectation”.  If a small percentage assume incorrectly one might argue it is the problem of the small percentage.  But if a large percentage assume incorrectly then I would say that it is the product advertising that is misleading and requires clarification.   

I notice that the Roam product web page now explicitly says that a charger outputting 7.5W or better is required.  It used to not say that.  That clarification was obviously deemed important enough to put up front.  I think a large number of people assumed that their old 5W phone chargers would work.

I believe that the assumptions about the Bluetooth functionality are made by a sufficiently large percentage of the potential consumers that it should be highlighted somewhere.

Yep, just got burned on this one as well. Just started a month-long business trip living in a suite hotel, ordered the Roam to be delivered here for music and it arrived today, my second day here. I was a bit hesitant to buy it for lack of a simple 1/8” input, but I figured I would just use it on Bluetooth until I got home where I had planned to use it with Airplay. The hotel wifi has no password but does have a “Connect” html page so the Roam of course, cannot connect. So I have a nice paperweight for a month.

I’m not sure why people are so passionate about defending the fact that a speaker heavily marketed as Bluetooth-capable isn’t actually usable without wifi, self-righteously pointing at FAQ’s and footnotes. As it happens I’m a pretty avid tech-geek, airline pilot by profession, and actually do tend to read specs and handbooks. But whatever, I missed this one. Probably because it would never dawn on anyone except perhaps previous Sonos owners that this would be an issue. 

To them this way of doing things probably seems normal, but what a terrible impression for new users. First Sonos product for me, was thinking of the Beam as well but forget it - the Roam is going back today. No point keeping something that can’t be used out of the box in what is the definition of a “roaming” location.

But it looks nice, so there’s that.

Further to my experiences with my first Sonos product, the Roam, and receiving it (while roaming) at a hotel with a typical wi-fi configuration.

I did figure out a way to get it set up, using my iPad with cellular data as a hotspot,  and then connecting to it with my phone with the Sonos app and the Roam. This allowed me to enable the magical functionality of using the Roam as a Bluetooth speaker with my various devices. 

A solution, incidentally, I thought of myself with zero credit to Sonos support whom I contacted and could only repeat the mantra of “it has to connect to wi-fi first before you can use Bluetooth”. Funny thing, if you Google “Use Sonos Roam with Bluetooth” it details the process of how to do so with zero mention of the setup steps for a new Sonos device.

Anyway, just in the process of getting an RMA to return it, even though it’s now working with BT.

Not because of the ridiculous user experience...but because it sounds pretty mediocre.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

The travel router-option is mentioned a lot here on the forum for situations like yours. This is kind of the same thing.

Yes, it is. Shame the Sonos support person didn’t have a clue about it. 

I used to enjoy kludging stuff like this but I’m kinda past the point where I have either the time or interest in searching online for silly workarounds to enable basic functionality of things. Of course Sonos isn’t the only company making products like this. No biggie, it’s already on the way back. Fortunately the market for portable speakers is a crowded one with a lot of great options.

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

I agree Sonos could have mentioned this. I do not agree that a Roam should per sé work out of the box on Bluetooth, though. 

That’s fine. I think you’ll find though, that most people expect things to work out the box. Probably because most things do. Sonos has chosen a different approach, that’s fine too. 

It’s all a bit moot though, as the Roam just doesn’t sound that great compared to other BT speakers that do work out of the box. I’ll leave the discussion there. Cheers!

Just suffered the same fate! 

At work. Bought one to use and charged it during my drive. 

 

Try to connect to Bluetooth says it needs the app. 

Etc.. 

Then I learn all this.

So, so stupid. 

 

Here's a simple question.... 

Why doesn't Sonos enable it to just work on Bluetooth out of the box???? 

 

What is the drawback of bt out of the box? 

Would have enjoyed using this in general. 

But forcing this account and setup on me for simple bt audio streaming use has made me repack it and just grab my second choice, a ue boom.

 

I thought wifi would be a nice bonus feature for when I'm ready to set it up. 

Not a hindrance to use bt. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

So? Set it up while you’re at home and use is for Bluetooth at work. This is a possible hindrance only for one day….

So? Set it up while you’re at home and use is for Bluetooth at work. This is a possible hindrance only for one day….

The point is totally lost? 

 

Why force a wifi setup for Simple Bluetooth.? 

 

Because it’s a network speaker that also does Bluetooth, and not a Bluetooth speaker that also connects to WiFi? I’ll grant you it’s a fine distinction, but Sonos is in the business of network speakers, and not Bluetooth only speakers.

I’m sorry this is frustrating to you, but I wouldn’t expect a company like Sonos to jump that far away from their massive base. 

 

When you add a functionality like bt and advertise it as a bt speaker feature ontop, it's unreasonable for a new customer to expect it to work as such is silly.

 

To defend it ontop and not see the customer benefit to do this with no loss/sacrifice in product quality/cost or use is silly.

 

I think I'm done here. 

It feels like I'm making good points to a bunch of Sonos fan boys / Sonos employees that can't give one (good) reason for this

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

There’s no denying this would benefit some, but Sonos must have had good reason to do this. I do not see why this is such a big problem though. Why be so passionate about a one time only set up?

I suppose that users who have previously purchased Bluetooth only products and ROAM is their first SONOS product are surprised by the requirement to load the SONOS App. Long time SONOS users would expect to use the SONOS App to integrate ROAM with their existing SONOS system and would be confused and upset if ROAM seemed to be a Bluetooth only product. I’m not sure if there is a “win” situation here because the issue is so “obvious” to both sides.

Full disclosure, while Bluetooth capability came bundled with my pad, phone, and recently my new computer, MOVE was my first Bluetooth enabled player. As a longtime SONOS user, installing both MOVE and ROAM seemed straight forward. I have only used MOVE and ROAM’s Bluetooth in a “kick the tires” setting and it seems to work OK. I now have a Bluetooth headset that I use regularly and I’ll say that it can be frustrating to use. ROAM is a much friendlier Bluetooth player.

It is unbelievable to me that people are defending Sonos here. Like others, I just bought the roam “bluetooth” speaker via amazon and like others I am traveling and don’t have a private wi-fi connection. It’s 2021 - something advertised as bluetooth should be able to connect to my phone straight out of the box via bluetooth. Period. At *most* I might have to download an app to control it. 

Things that can connect to my phone via bluetooth straight out of the box: My Denon amplifier. My subwoofer. My TV. My shower speaker. My computer. My Car. MY MOTHER FREAKING TOOTHBRUSH. 

Things that can’t connect to my phone via bluetooth straight out of the box: Sonos Roam. 

And I am absolutely going to crap myself if anyone suggests this speaker is of sufficient quality to be used in a home theater system and therefore networking must be the top priority. Not that I’ve heard it, mind you, but first of all a simple look at the specs will tell you this is a reasonably nice portable speaker that has NO place is even an entry level home audio system. Secondly, it’s a false dichotomy to presume that a “wireless speaker first” approach means bluetooth has to be a nightmare to setup as has been argued. 

I am returning this hunk of junk having never been able to use it. Some of you would have me believe that’s just because I’m just a bad customer. Let that concept sink in for a minute. A bad paying customer. Yikes! Sonos has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for a while now. Gee, I wonder why. 

 

 

Reply