The Sonos Beam is the new soundbar from Sonos. While a bit more compact and lighter than the Playbar, the original soundbar, this soundbar is full of new technology. It also comes priced at a significant advantage, with standard pricing of $399. While it does not pack quite the punch of the Playbar when it comes to maximum volume and pure sound quality, it offers significant sound quality benefits over its competition such as the Bose Solo 5. It also has all sorts of other new technology and improvements over the Playbar.
Sonos has been working hard to add new features to their speakers. Not content to sit and let their technology get stale, they have added real meaningful improvements with new iterations of their speaker lines. The Beam is not different, and it has some big tangible improvements over the other soundbar offering from Sonos.
Improvements that you will immediately notice include:
- You can connect to your TV with an HDMI cable in addition to the audio cable.
- Apple Airplay is an added feature.
- Amazon Alexa comes built in.
- The price is significantly lower, $399 vs $699. We sell it for $375 so you save even more.
- It is more compact, and a bit more modern looking.
- Sound quality remains high.
- Control your television with the Beam. This only works if your television is compatible and it is connected through the HDMI-ARC input (it won’t work through the optical cable). You can control basic functions such as power, volume, mute, and it can control Amazon devices such as Firestick.
Here is a handy comparison chart, which compares the Playbar and the Beam side by side.
|Best Sound Quality||Good||Best|
|Ways to Connect to TV||HDMI/Optical Cable||Optical Cable Only|
|Weight||6.2 LBS||11.9 LBS|
|Dimensions||2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 in||3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 in|
|Connects to WiFi||Yes||Yes|
|Can use Airplay||Yes||No|
The Beam weighs only 6.2 lbs, and can easily be mounted on a wall, or set on a cabinet. Setup is a breeze, and it can be done in less than 5 minutes. Continuing on the Sonos platform, the Beam is controlled by the same Sonos App as the other offerings, and it can be paired with other speakers for a full home theater experience.
How to Use the Beam
The Beam is meant to be used as a standalone speaker connected to your television, or with other Sonos speakers to create a surround sound environment. The key is that any soundbar is meant to be mounted near your TV. It does not need to be mounted, it can sit below your television on a stand, or in a cabinet, or it can sit on top of your TV. Oftentimes, people will mount a soundbar directly above or below the their television set, but you can also mount it to the side if you prefer.
A soundbar is meant to improve upon standard television speakers. Standard television speakers are small and don’t handle bass and low tones very well. They don’t get very loud, and the sound is not especially “rich”. By adding a soundbar, the user is able to greatly improve upon standard TV sound without taking up a lot of room or running any wires.
With Sonos, and the Beam, they make it extremely easy because you can connect the device with an HDMI cable (or optical cable if you prefer), and you can add other speakers to it to create a surround sound system while it all works over your home WiFi system.
Oftentimes, people will add other speakers to a soundbar like the Beam in order to create a true home theater environment. The soundbar is sort of the base of the system, and with technology today a specific receiver device is no longer required for most setups.
It also excels at playing music, and you can stream music from a number of sources including internet radio, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, your music library, and a variety of other sources. Don’t forget to utilize it for this purpose, since it gets loud enough to provide music to any party.
The Beam is controlled through the Sonos Controller App, as are all other Sonos speakers. This is a very simple and intuitive application, and anyone can learn how to use it in only a few minutes.
There are some popular configurations of other Sonos speakers to use with the Beam to further enhance the home theater experience. These include:
- Simply adding a Sub, which greatly increases the bass. Because a soundbar is narrow it typically doesn’t handle low notes as well as it does higher notes. A subwoofer is the biggest missing component which can add a lot of depth to the sound.
- Adding 2 Sonos One, or Play:1 speakers. By putting these behind the listeners, you can easily create a surround sound system. Add a Sub to kick it up another notch.
- Adding other speaker brands, such as those that mount in ceiling easily. By using a Connect, or Connect Amp, you can join and sync other brands of speakers such as Triad to your Beam and other Sonos speakers.
How it Looks
This speaker has a very sleek and modern look to it. It comes in both black and white colors, which is nice, because you can match the color to the look of your house. There are controls on top of the speaker, but they are subtle and not very visible. This is a more compact soundbar than a lot of the previous offerings on the market, but it does not sacrifice quality for size because of the new technology in it such as passive radiators to move air around and give warmer tones.