Why can't Sonos Roam work for phone calls? I want an answer.

  • 10 November 2021
  • 20 replies
  • 3001 views

Userlevel 2

I learn after I buy the product and start using it that for some unfathomable reason it won’t work on phone calls. The product has a good mic on it. Every other bluetooth speaker can do this. There is no mention anywhere of the lack of capability. I feel completely misled and wasted my money. I demand an explanation for why the company chooses not to allow this use case. And don’t close this topic for comments just because you don’t want to hear from more customers about this issue. I WANT AN ANSWER.


20 replies

It’s not advertised by Sonos as a telephone speaker, it’s perhaps better described as a wireless-multiroom audio speaker with  Bluetooth and Airplay built-in, whose microphones are used to auto-TruePlay and tune it’s audio-output to its surrounding environment. The mics allow the user to converse with the built in voice assistants for playback/control of the audio and adjust its volume.

The Bluetooth built-in, in some respects is unlike any other, in that it acts as a line-in/pass-through for the Bluetooth-playing audio, which in turn allows the Roam to be ‘grouped’ over WiFi with other Sonos speakers (with or without Bluetooth) to playback that streaming audio to multiple rooms. 

The little speaker has these listed features (not an exhaustive list):

  • Waterproof 
  • Auto-Trueplay 
  • Apple Airplay 
  • Wireless Audio
  • Sound Swap Audio Transfer to compatible Sonos products
  • Bluetooth (with pass-through/line-in to Sonos wireless connected devices)
  • Stereo pairing & grouping.
  • 10 hour+ battery life
  • Built-in mic with voice assistant (Alexa/Google?)
  • Available in Black/White colours
  • Wired/Wireless charging

…but a mobile telephone speaker, it isn’t (not yet at least), nor as it ever been advertised as such.

Userlevel 2

If something is listed as “bluetooth” and “built-in mic”, then in my opinion it needs to explicitly be listed as not allowing for phone calls. Because I’m willing to bet 100% of other portable speakers with “bluetooth” and “built-in mic” support phone calls. It’s like a car that has an accelerator pedal and a “Drive” mode but doesn’t support actually moving forward.

Userlevel 7

@twinsdad 

Not to be rude … (and @Ken_Griffiths did an excellent job  to address your RANT) but no where on the Sonos website does it say the Roam can be used for phone calls. Duh??

I would suggest you do better research before you buy a product. Maybe you should have hoped the thread would be closed for comment. Had it been…my (this) post exposing your lack of common sense when buying a product would have never seen the light of day. 

Userlevel 2

Here's the product I bought the Roam to replace. To see phone support you need to expand on the second to last bullet point on the very bottom of the product page. So because I didn't happen to notice that one point is not made on the second to last bullet point expansion, when every other product in the category supports this, that's my lack of research? Is this a site of Sonos fanboys?

 

https://www.ultimateears.com/en-us/wireless-speakers/boom-2.html

Not of fanboys, but of people capable of looking at the specs of a device before purchasing it, yes. 

If something is listed as “bluetooth” and “built-in mic”, then in my opinion it needs to explicitly be listed as not allowing for phone calls. Because I’m willing to bet 100% of other portable speakers with “bluetooth” and “built-in mic” support phone calls. It’s like a car that has an accelerator pedal and a “Drive” mode but doesn’t support actually moving forward.

The devil is sometimes in the detail I guess and it’s what a device will actually do - not what you think it will do. Sonos has never said the Roam will work as a speaker for phone calls over Bluetooth - the mic, as I’ve attempted to explain, is used to speak to the built in voice assistant and for continuous auto-TruePlay tuning of the speaker, as you move it about to different listening environments.

What you perhaps need to do is contact Sonos Customer Support and submit your requirements as a ‘new feature request’, then see if the Sonos developers can perhaps go onto include that in a software update at some point in the future. Here is the link if you wish to chat/speak to Sonos Support:

https://support.sonos.com/s/contact

Hope that helps…👍

By the way, my car has ‘wings’, but it doesn’t fly (joke) … ha ha 😀

Userlevel 7

@twinsdad

Look…man-up, woman-up or whatever sexual orientation you identify with and STOP blaming others for your mistakes. Take responsibility for your actions. Learn from your mistakes and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake again. Your rational to justify your actions is that of a two year old and not that of a responsible intelligent person (or adult if you’re of age). So you have two choices:

  1. Keep the speaker
  2. Return it and buy what you want

Your complaining about your mistaken buying decision is fruitless. Take @Ken_Griffiths advice and submit a request for a feature enhancement. That’s all that can be done. 

Now that said…Do you have a technical issue this community can address? If not…well…you know the answer.

Userlevel 5
Badge +14

I learn after I buy the product and start using it that for some unfathomable reason it won’t work on phone calls. The product has a good mic on it. Every other bluetooth speaker can do this. There is no mention anywhere of the lack of capability. I feel completely misled and wasted my money. I demand an explanation for why the company chooses not to allow this use case. And don’t close this topic for comments just because you don’t want to hear from more customers about this issue. I WANT AN ANSWER.

Not to be rude, but I am 100% am glad it is NOT a Bluetooth speaker. I had one and it’s annoying as all get up. 

Phone use? For me it was implicit and I was surprised that it does not feature this.  But hey, it's a great unit as designed. There are other ways to manage phone calls.  Stop beating each other up, it's not that big a deal.

I can understand the assumption, but when a speaker that has bluetooth does a lot of other things that a typical bluetooth speaker doesn’t do, it’s reasonable that it may not do all that you assume it would.  Does Sonos have a responsibility to highlight all the features a product doesn’t  in can you make an assumption?  No.  I personally think Sonos should added to their FAQ, along with other assumptions they dispel in the FAQ though.   And you can always return the product if it’s not what you want.

All that said, you could have easily asked the question without making demand.  No body really wants to deal with people who start off making demands.   I am not sure what the consequences of not meeting your demands are anyway.

In all fairness Sonos is considered a leading company in speaker technology. Creating products with jam packed features. 
For me it is both disappointing and surprising that calls are not an option. I have been waiting and hoping for an update. 
I am a tradesman and would love to use this in my work truck for on the go calls between job sites instead  of installing a expensive and complicated aftermarket head unit.. 

 

please make this happen sonos. 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

This would of course be a nice to have feature on the Roam and the Move. But having an unsecured bluetooth speaker for use as a hamnds free carkit does not look like a good idea to me. A dedicated hands free kit is a better idea for that purpose. Take a look at these for example: https://www.jabra.com/in-car

I am completely supportive of twinsdad’s perspective here. A Bluetooth speaker with a mic and does not support phone calls is completely ludicrous. Since every speaker with a mic can do a phone call - that’s what they are there for since they communicate with your f’n phone - it’s completely logical to expect this feature without having to read fine point to confirm an illogical expectation. 

For those of you who believe this as a lack of research, you must write insurance policies exclusions for a living.

I should have mentioned that I am on this forum for the same reason - I could not believe the Roam did not support phone calls. I would have bought the one without the microphone.

Whether it comes down to a lack of clarity or a lack of research, what do you expect to come of posting angrily on the forums about it? Try to think about, what exactly do you hope to gain from this? And, were the tables turned, would you be inclined to go out of your way to help someone whose first inclination is to angrily demand answers from you?

 

And perhaps even more to the point, what do you hope to gain by flaming other forum members, who aren’t even Sonos employees??? I get it, you’re disappointed, but _damn_ some of you need to learn how to act

@Twinsdad. I hear your frustration.  Very disappointing indeed. Ultimately it might be the reason I return my entire system. Adding the ability to call would probably be fairly simple. However, clearly they decided not to do it. That is their choice. Can not be mad at them for that.  You can find work arounds with other devices but it does complicate things more. At these prices you should not have to such a thing imo. Also they for sure come across as fan boyZ but you come across as disrespectful. Hopefully they will make their devices smarter in the future. The tech is there.  For now im going to take my trial period for what it is. Trying to figure out if this not so smart tech is worth it. Great sound,  bad UI, lacking in controls, pricey and sleek design.  

This is not a feature that I wish for.

Certainly, a single ROAM or MOVE could be retooled as a phone support device, but the SONOS system is larger and much more complex than a simple phone support device. For example, the SONOS device might be Bonded with another as a stereo pair or Grouped with other Rooms and playing music. How should the phone connect to this large system? Do you want your call to be distributed through the whole house? Do you want the music to stop? Would you want the music to play in the background while on the call? If there are multiple devices, how does the phone know which device to use? One option might be to stop all of the music, but multiple people might be listening to the music in other areas. I would be annoyed if my music stopped because your phone rang.

 

Okay … got to stick up for OP on this one.  I found this thread because like him, I couldn’t believe it couldn’t double as a conference call speaker.  I did not buy the Roam for that function, but I found myself on a road trip recently where I brought it along, and it would have been nice to be able to make some business calls from my room with it. It took some Googling just to find out it couldn’t do that, despite being a BT speaker with a microphone.

I’m not sure about the relevance of the post immediately prior to mine - I wouldn’t expect it to work as a phone speaker in Wifi mode - but in pure Bluetooth Mode, it’s baffling to me why this functionality wouldn’t be there.  

I laughed at the comment above about people defending the lack of the feature being the kind of people who write insurance exclusions.  Exactly my thought.  Not having that functionality would be like picking up my new car only to find it has manual door locks and the dealer stating “well, the X1As trim level you selection never claimed to have power locks or keyless entry”.  Some things are so universal and so basic they don’t even merit advertising.  I really can’t even think of a single other BT speaker I’ve purchased in the last 5 years that didn’t allow pass through for phone calls - and I’ve probably bought a dozen.

I’m no engineer, but it seems like this is something that could be added in via a software update.  Not holding my breath, but it would be wonderful if Sonos actually improved a product after release.  Other than that minor lack of functionality, I’ve been pretty darn pleased with my Roam (and my Move).

I’m not sure about the relevance of the post immediately prior to mine - I wouldn’t expect it to work as a phone speaker in Wifi mode - but in pure Bluetooth Mode, it’s baffling to me why this functionality wouldn’t be there.  

 

 

For the Roam, entering bluetooth mode does not exit ‘WiFi mode’.  The speaker is still connected to your WiFi and the other speakers in your system which allows you to share any BT audio with the rest of your Sonos system.  So the scenario where  described regarding how the system should operate when a phone call is received is valid.  I’m not saying that this features makes receiving phone calls technically impossible, just that the feature would be implement in a way that many surely would not find idea.

 

I laughed at the comment above about people defending the lack of the feature being the kind of people who write insurance exclusions.  Exactly my thought.  Not having that functionality would be like picking up my new car only to find it has manual door locks and the dealer stating “well, the X1As trim level you selection never claimed to have power locks or keyless entry”.  Some things are so universal and so basic they don’t even merit advertising.  I really can’t even think of a single other BT speaker I’ve purchased in the last 5 years that didn’t allow pass through for phone calls - and I’ve probably bought a dozen.

 

 

It’s been stated already before, but how many of the BT speakers were also WiFi speakers?  I think echos can (or maybe only older gens) had a BT mode where they can be used as dumb speakers, not connected to Alexa or able to stream music directly.  That’s not how the Roam works, as already mentioned.

As far as the car analogy, Ford F150 XL still has manual locks, no keyless entry.  It would be a bad assumption.    However, I think it would be better to compare an EV to regular gas engine vehicle for your example.  They both do basically the same thing, but there are some difference, and you can’t assume the EV does everything that the gas vehicle does, in addition to the additional features it offers.  Likewise, you can’t assume that the Roam does everything a BT speaker does plus all the WiFi speaker features.

Like I said before, I understand where the assumption comes from.  And honestly, if you need a device to act as phone speaker/mic more than you need it to connect with the rest of your Sonos system, then Roam is not for you.  I had a need for a portable speaker with an aux input, so I didn’t get Sonos  since they didn’t offer that at the time, and still don’t.


I’m no engineer, but it seems like this is something that could be added in via a software update.  Not holding my breath, but it would be wonderful if Sonos actually improved a product after release.  Other than that minor lack of functionality, I’ve been pretty darn pleased with my Roam (and my Move).

 

Software changes always appear ea sy when we don’t know much about how it’s coded.  Usually very different in reality.   And Sonos improves products after release whenever possible.  It’s why every product that had the hardware to handle it got upgraded with airplay, high res audio, Sonos Voice control, etc.

I second @twinsdad. that is just a common sense and requirement for a portable bluetooth speaker to be used as both speaker and microphone. regardless what it is designed for, whether it is a wifi-speaker or not, it supports bluetooth and has a speaker, it should be able to serve the purpose.

No blame on Sonos as it is never advertised so. No attempt to convince others’ opinions whether it should support it or not. From my perspective, I would just suggest that when it works in bluetooth mode, just turn it to a normal bluetooth speaker. For my Sonos roam, every time I had a meeting (via my laptop), I had to open the lid to use the built-in microphone and switch the audio to sonos. Eventually I ended up not using Sonos at all.

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