Sonos soundbars are very well designed soundbars, but might not be the most cutting-edge in terms of technology.
Sonos released their new products in 2019. Sonos has a wide variety of products ranging from soundbars, TVs, to Wireless Audio and Smart home Sound Systems.
The new improved Sonos Beam provides a lot of features, including HDMI and Alexa voice control. At the reasonable price of just $399, Sonos soundbar has features to provide the best sound experience and in budget.
The Sonos Beam Soundbar is a decent soundbar used itself, without any satellite or subwoofers, it lacks a bit in sub-bass, which can be improved if connected to a subwoofer externally.
The Sonos Beam stands good as compared to other soundbars in terms of their functions and features, however, Sonos needs to make more improvement in the sound quality department.
Sonos Beam Soundbar Specifications
|Dimension||25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 inches|
|Subwoofer||4 Full Range|
|Microphone||5 for voice interface|
|Radiators||3 passive radiator|
|Connectivity||Ethernet Connectivity, Wireless IEEE802.3|
|Driver||4 X elliptical mid-woofer and 1 x tweeter|
Formed like a smooth, extended pill, having the dimensions – 25.6” x 2.7” x 3.9” and weighing just 6.35 lbs, Beam is smaller than most soundbars. Don’t let its humble size get to you because there’s plenty of features going on inside this soundbar unit. It has four woofers and one tweeter, which makes it produce room-filling sounds.
On the back of this soundbar, you’ll discover HDMI, Power, and Ethernet ports and another side it has a ‘connect’ button, and on the top, you’ll see a button for microphone, volume control, power status LED and microphone LED that can be turned off.
Our only issue with the Beam’s general design is the enormous Sonos logo on its front, just saying that it could be a little smaller or discreet.
The Beam does not come with a remote like other Sonos soundbars. You can control it with your TV remote if your TV supports ARC-CEC HDMI, you can also control it with voice commands using Amazon Alexa.
In testing by using our old Pioneer Kuro, the optical connection worked fine, yet we were unable to adjust the audio sync — the Beam was constantly a little bit delayed. But to be fair, if your TV is 10 years old, it’s worth upgrading the TV before you want to work on the sound.
The Beam worked flawlessly over ARC with our 2016 LG B6 OLED TV. The Beam gives the output a black and white screensaver because some TV requires a video signal to open the HDMI connection. You can control the volume by using your voice control or by TV remote and handle all the settings of Beam with its Sonos application.
Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa Control
The Beam supports Google Assistant (post a free May 2019 update), Siri and Alexa voice control support.
But, you do need to switch between Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, so you can’t openly converse with either virtual assistant at once, which makes sense. All of Google Assistant’s fundamental voice controls work with the Beam, for example, checking the climate, lining up the music, shows, and controlling smart home gadgets.
Alexa comes in handy for controlling music through the Sonos application. You can pause/play, and jump to your favorite tracks. But, it couldn’t discover playlists we have on Apple Music or Spotify.
Mountings and Hardware
We think it is a good move that instead of optical audio input, Sonos is made for HDMI ARC input, they included optical to HDMI dongle with the Beam soundbar, so you have the freedom to switch between HDMI and Optical Audio.
The wall mounting bracket is also optionally available with this soundbar so you can mount it on your living room wall with the help of the mounting brackets. One thing you have to keep in mind is that if you place this soundbar under your TV, the Alexa button gets hidden and you can have some difficulty using the button.
We tested this soundbar by connecting its optical cable to HDMI converter with our LG 2016 OLED and while having the Dolby Digital sound processing. It lags due to the Optical output which is questioned every day over on the Sonos Community Forums.
The Beam experiences a .4 second sound lag when playing Dolby Digital sound. It’s strongly recognizable. The beam soundbar essentially doesn’t work with all LG OLEDs and also with few Sony TVs.
IMO, Sonos feels like a rushed product from this aspect. Also, the Sonos might not be ready for the vast variety of TVs available in the market.
Sonos touts the 3.0-channel Beam as its “most progressive soundbar.” Its speakers are intended to “beam” the sound of your speakers and incorporate two woofers, two additional woofers for left and right channels and a single tweeter. There are two detached bass speakers at the front and the one at the back.
The product comes without a subwoofer, however, you can include the $700 Sonos Sub on the off chance if you are a fan of beefy bass sounds.
Sonos sells the two combos of two for $1,000 ($100 off the cost of both independently), or a “three-room set” that incorporates a Beam and two Sonos Ones for $650 ($50 off).
Two Sonos Ones can likewise be combined with the Beam, while a full “5.1” framework (Beam, Sub and two Ones) would cost $1,350.
The other issue we feel with this soundbar is codec support. Sonos has DD support and lacks support for other codecs. The Sonos company believes that the soundbar doesn’t deliver Atom sound quality, so there is no Atom Dolby support here.
Sonos currently supports E-AC-3 or DD+ and PCM stereo surround sound, so this made sense for the soundbar to only have S/PDIF connections
The solution as given by Sonos is purchasing an HDMI optical splitter which costs approx $50 and totally bypassing the LG OLED. This fixes the lag issue but then it totally breaks Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos which utilizes DD+ for excellent quality surround sounds.
If you watch Netflix, Sonos doesn’t support DD+. This means if you regularly stream from services like Hulu, Amazon or Netflix it will automatically downgrade the DD+ output from the streaming services to either DD or PCM. DD+ being the industry standard for all media today, Sonos Beam clearly lags behind.
The Sonos accompanies a night mode to diminish the effect of bass when you would not prefer to upset the neighbors, in addition to a voice-improvement feature. Unlike the Polk Audio Command Bar, the Sonos doesn’t offer a music mode – everything is “wide.”
The speaker sound is good yet the compatibility issues and workarounds are something that cannot be overlooked.
Quirks of the Sonos Beam Soundbar
- Not having Bluetooth and Batteries: None of the soundbars from Sonos are battery-powered or have Bluetooth connectivity features.
- Connectivity: Sonos soundbar has 2.4 GHz 802.111a/b/g Wi-Fi connectivity which means they are not able to connect with 5 GHz faster frequency.
Advantages of the Sonos Beam Soundbar
- Easy Streaming: The Sonos Beam can support almost every streaming like it supports Spotify. You can also connect your home theater applications with the Sonos ecosystem.
- Easy Setup: The Sonos App easily guides you through the process of starting and connecting speakers to your system.
- Voice Assistance: It supports all major voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. You can choose one assistance at one time.
- Thoughtfully Design: Place this soundbar on your wall, or on your TV Stand and ask Alexa to play video or music for you.
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The Beam soundbar is an amazing expansion to the Sonos lineup, extremely helpful for modern TV sound in small rooms or rooms where you would prefer not to spend $600- $700 on the full-sized soundbar.
For small rooms, the Beam is a fabulous decision to buy.
However, for medium-sized and huge-sized rooms, this might be a little underpowered.
We likewise incline toward the appearance of the Beam over the Sonos Playbar. It is smaller and configures well with most modern smart TVs. For $400, it’s a good soundbar and an exceptional incentive from Sonos.
To find out more, check out the Sonos Beam on Bestbuy.com.