#Note: Find full Sonos review list at the bottom.
If I were stranded on an island, Sonos Five would be the first thing I'd bring with me. Oxygen and food would be second and third.
In summary, the sound quality isn't comparable at all. The decision is simple: Unless you need portability, get the Five. Otherwise, get the Move.
At this price range, you might should also think of getting two pieces of One's. In that case, you can take a look at my 1 x Five vs 2 x One article.
Also see the Sonos' very own speaker recommender at sonos.com/en-us/sonos-recommender.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
Room acoustics, particularly room dimensions and speaker positioning, will have an immense effect on sound quality.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is why I'd hiiiiiiighly recommend you to check out this simple, 2D, online speaker placement calculator.
It's GOOOOLLLDDDDD. I've had an Acoustics & Audio PhD build this tool specifically for this purpose:
- Ceiling height: 106 inches or 8 feet 10 inches or 2.70 meters
- Most standard ceiling height
- Listener's height: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Average height of a sitting person
Central heights of speakers (measured from the ground) and examples to them:
- Soundbars: 30 inches or 2 feet 6 inches or 0.75 meters
- 8", 10" or 12" Subwoofers: 8 inches or 0.20 meters
- 360 degree speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Horizontal speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Floor standing speakers: 20 inches or 1 feet 8 inches or 0.50 meters
- Bookshelf speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
- Center speakers: 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches or 0.80 meters
Side note: This tool can and will return inaccurate results for small, portable Bluetooth speakers such as JBL's Go Series. It will, however, deliver just fine for more powerful, packed bluetooth speakers such as this one.
ASAP Science made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (time adjusted video).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But much less.
Did you know you could also virtually hear any speaker online?
Crutchfield had recently created a tool that virtually simulates the sounds of many different speakers; such as those of SVS, Klipsch, KEF and B&W. Nothing will, of course, beat hearing the speakers in reality. But I'd still recommend you to give it a shot.
While you're at it, blast my Hidden Electronic Gems list to test them:
Planned to replace the Play:5, Sonos Five preserves much of its predecessor’s key features and specifications. There are still six Class-D digital amplifiers, three mid-woofers, and three tweeters.
The drivers also include the same array for a wide stereo soundstage, with the left and right tweeters in horns to deliver a broader audio experience.
Alternatively, the Sonos Move comes with a lot of punch for a portable speaker (which is the first of Sonos). Designed to work in all environments, it shares the same audio specs as the smaller Sonos One.
Nonetheless, the Sonos Move comes with a forward-firing woofer and downward-firing tweeters to help it cut through ambient noises. The bass gets a bit of a push button on the low end that should come in handy when used outdoors.
If you want the newest model with blast room-filling, powerful sound with fluidity, solidity, and a lot of bass, then I suggest going for the Sonos Five. However, if you don't need top notch sound quality, and you'd do just as fine with a worse but still good sound quality, then get the Sonos Five.
Sonos has always been known for its minimalist design and aesthetic. So regardless of the evident difference in size between the Sonos Move and the Sonos Five, I find that both speakers come with rounded corners and very sleek lines, allowing the speakers to blend effortlessly with the environment.
They both also feature tastefully touch-capacitive controls on their top panels, which is very convenient, in my opinion.
Although marketed as a portable speaker, the Sonos Move belongs on the larger end of the size spectrum. Thanks to its built-in handle at the back, it was easy for me to move it freely around the house. On the other hand, the Sonos Five also sports a versatile design, so I can use it in both horizontal and vertical orientations depending on my preferred audio setup at the moment.
Designed for portability, the Sonos Move comes with an IPX56 rating and a durable exterior shell that makes it resistant to dust, water, and other external elements. It’s also advertised as a shock-resistant speaker, so too much about tumbles is the least of your worries as you carry it around.
While not as shock or weather-resistant as the Sonos Move, the Sonos Five is humidity-resistant. I highly recommend this to audiophiles who need music or any back, even inside the bathroom. However, you wouldn’t want to leave the speakers outside in the rain or underwater in a pool.
You might also want to check out the Sonos Move user manual for a more detailed look at the specs.
Sonos Five comes with a port-based stereo pairing, while Sonos Move is known for its Auto Trueplay and built-in voice control.
Given that they belong to the same family, the Sonos Five and Sonos Move both benefit from the product line’s impressive wireless technology that they boast of.
With the Sonos Move, I get the perks of hands-free control through the built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Remember that these voice assistants can only be accessed when in Wi-Fi mode, not while you’re connected via Bluetooth.
Even though you can’t get weather updates or set up alarms from the Sonos Five, it still comes with a smart stereo sound.
I can easily pair two Sonos Five speakers, and the set-up will automatically adjust to mono for more precise stereo separation. The Sonos Five will smartly separate left and right channels either on their own or positioned horizontally.
Setting up the two models of speakers should have been easy in my experience, given the user-friendly interface of the Sonos app.
Equalization settings are both adjustable through the platform too. For iOS users, the Sonos app comes in handy due to its Trueplay feature. The software essentially uses the iPhone’s mic to blend into the room's layout to tune your speakers.
With the Sonos Move, it’s even more convenient. The portable speaker’s built-in mic can easily calibrate the sound output based on your environment.
The Sonos Five has also retained its predecessor’s line-in 3.5mm jack for continuous integration. With this, you’re not limited to streaming services and can conveniently connect the speaker to a CD player, turntable, or even a projector.
Alternatively, the Sonos Move boasts of a circular wireless, sleek charging base that keeps the speaker stable and in place. If you’re using it outdoors or taking it on the road, I say you opt to charge the Sonos Move with the regular USB-C port instead.
You might also want to check out this user guide of Sonos Five for a more comprehensive look.
The Sonos Five is identical to the Play:5 in most aspects and should appeal to audiophiles who look for high-fidelity wireless speakers with power, scale, and volume. If you’re serious about setting up a multi-room audio system in your home, the Sonos Five should be the centerpiece, in my opinion. It’s a bold and big wireless speaker that’s more than capable of filling a space with a good quality experience.
On the other hand, the Sonos Move is ideal for casual users who want an entry point into the Sonos ecosystem. As the brand slowly pivots into portable speakers, the Sonos Move adds more advantages to the category by acting as a wireless home smart speaker. While it’s not as powerful as its bigger siblings, it doesn’t reduce the overall quality THAT much.