If you have seen the series of R-Line multi-room speakers in the past, or our unboxing article, then you will know a little about this audio product already. Today, we wanted to explore a little more about the Roberts Radio S2 features and specs within our review, also taking a look at how the price compares to the likes of Sonos Play: 5.
While the Roberts Radio S2 did cost just under £280 a couple of years ago, you can now pick up this lovely smart speaker for under £60 in 2019, which is a vast improvement on price and delivers great value for money. While not the latest model and lacking features of newer updates, it’s well worth considering if you’re on a budget. Sonos is fighting against many competitors, which includes the better priced Roberts Radio S2 with equal raw power and bass.
This multi-room speaker will obviously be suited to almost every room, although shines in living areas and of course the kitchen side too! If you’re holding a party at home, then you can get the music playing at the same time in multiple rooms, at a cost of purchasing another speaker of course.
There’s a few improvements that can be made with another generation model, but this version is still impressive and one that’s priced within the reach of most, unlike some competitors.
First Look – Roberts Radio S2 is designed with a top plate that looks like brushed metal, although it’s made from plastic. You can clearly see the painted metal grille in our hands-on photos, which wraps around the sides and includes the Roberts Radio “R” logo.
While you can move the S2 from room-to-room easy, it’s not really designed to be a portable speaker for taking out and about. You need to plug it into a power socket when in use, unlike some battery powered speakers, but this isn’t a big deal if your planning on a multi room setup, or a great sounding speaker in your room of choice.
You can see the networking, Aux, and power ports in the photo below that are located to the rear of the S2. Also, left or right speaker settings for stereo set-up in the photo above.
Wireless/Bluetooth and Software – you will find the ability to stream in both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, although a wired ethernet port is available for those that prefer, as highlighted in the photo above. The aux might be an ageing connection port, one that Apple just killed on their iPhone 7, but it’s still useful for connecting other wired sources to your S2 speaker. We tried the sound through an aux on our Samsung 65-inch TV and it certainly improved audio dramatically.
Unlike with Sonos, the Roberts Radio S2 lets you connect to other branded speakers for a multi-brand multi-room system.
There’s a lot more freedom with the Roberts Radio S2, thanks to using Undok to setup a multi-brand and multi-room system. Sonos only lets users connect to same branded speakers, so this is great if you don’t want to have to buy a set of speakers from only one brand.
Of course, there’s downsides with the Undok software not being as flash, but the simple solution gets things setup really easy. This isn’t like other multi speaker setups we’ve tested, as with networking too, it can be painful sometimes, but not in the case of the S2. If you alway get problems with your Wi-Fi, then remember the Ethernet port will almost certainly solve this.
The Undok app will send you to the Spotify app to connect to music, the solution we preferred, although you can still use the Undok app to connect to locally stored music within your home network.
You don’t get much inside the box, as you can see within our unboxing. You will find the main Roberts R-Line S2 speaker, mains adaptor, and instruction manual.
Sound quality during our Roberts Radio S2 review – as we mentioned above, the S2 sounded great when connected to a HDTV, although this isn’t necessarily what it’s designed for. The switch we highlighted a few photos up showcased the “normal” and “wide” sound setting, also how to change between left and right channels.
The Sonos Play: 5 might be one of the most popular multi-room speakers, but the S2 is cheaper and sounds really loud and filled our large kitchen, conservatory, and living room with sound thanks to the giant bass driver. We even have a fully fledged cinema room with soundboards, which showed how good the S2 sounds.
By choosing the S2 over Sonos Play: 5, you will be more than happy with sound quality. You will also notice a passive radiator on the back of the S2, which helps push around more air. If you’re looking for plenty of bass, you’ll get it!!!
In our test, we found the “wide” sound setting much better than “normal”. In wide, you’ll notice clarity of the sound along with notable treble and upper-mids. While this is our preference that resulted in a balanced sounding speaker, of course, how you prefer the sound can be adjusted with a quick switch of this setting.
Bottom-line: If you’re looking for a wireless speaker that’s lounge-ready, then this is a great option for under £60 at the time of publication, an amazing package for a new lower price. You will get bigger sound than the Sonos Play 1 and a better price point than Sonos Play: 5, also with similar results in sound and features.
While not perfect, the choice of S2 might ultimately come down to what brands you like more and of course, price.