Sonos Beam Review: The Best Sonos Soundbar Yet8/10 (Expert Score)
With this Sonos Beam sound bar in black, you can experience an incredible sound all whilst you stream your favourite music, watch all of your favourite TV shows or whilst playing video games with voice control. The voice control is easy to use, and the sound bar uses 5 microphones which will…
Sonos Beam Review
I’ll start off and say it immediately, you’ll struggle to find a better performing Soundbar than the Sonos Beam (At this pice range). It’s truly an astounding little thing.
The Sonos beam is the cost aware cousin to the Sonos Playbar & Playbase, but it packs a great punch. It has the modern features you expect such as Amazon Alexa integration, Google Assistand and Siri.
It’s not just a soundbar for your television. It’s a multi-room speaker which will play music from the majority of Online Music Services. Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Google Music, Spotify & Tidal are all supported. It can also play directly from your Phone Media & other Network devices.
The Sonos Beam also integrates with your existing Sonos Products, playing the same music all around your house.
The Sonos Beam has one huge advantage over it’s more expensive cousins. It has an HDMI connector, not only just a Digital Optical Connection. This is to be utilised with HDMI ARC, which will allow the Sonos Beam to take control of your television (kind of), using the Sonos Voice Control to actually turn on your television. It enables non-smart TV’s to become a little smarter.
Sonos don’t favour any single Operating Sytem or Music Subscription service, offering support to all of these. You can be sure if another service is invented, Sonos will add support.
What we really liked with our Sonos Beam Review was the ability to connect smaller speakers, which can turn the Sonos Beam into a full Cinema System.
Does it have the Sonos quality we come to expect?
The Sonos Beam comes with all of the options you’d expect, such as TruePlay & Loudness. There’s also Night Mode & Speech Enhancement, which reduce the bass and allow for crisp speech.
For a compact device, the Sonos Beam is brilliant. We tested this with a Football match, turning the sound right up (with the neighbours consent!) and it was quite an experience. It did a great job of recreating noise all around the stadium. It’s definitely something to show off when you have your friends around.
Sonos Beam Review: The Verdict
The Sonos Beam is very affordable & is a little workhorse. For a device as compact as this is, it does a great job. It’s priced very well, with most people priced out of the £700 playbar the Sonos Beam becomes a viable opportunity.
While the Playbase & Playbar offer even better sounds, it’s not always necessary to spend so much on a Sound System. You’ll be fine with the Sonos Beam & you have the safety of knowing that if you upgrade to another Sonos System, the devices all co-operate.
You won’t find a better Soundbar at this price.
- Unrivalled Quality for the Price
- Supports ALL voice integrations
- Links up with other Sonos Devices
- Sound doesn't fill the whole room
Sonos Beam Review: The Best Sonos Soundbar Yet Prices
|Price history for Sonos Beam Compact Smart Soundbar with Alexa built-in in Black|
Specification: Sonos Beam Review: The Best Sonos Soundbar Yet
Lovely sound. Feels like a quality product from the moment you open the box. Very easy to set up. Oh and it has Alexa built in, nice upgrade from our dot.
cannot fault any sonos product so far easy set up and great sound always just wish I could afford the sub…
Jack Wright –
This review will cover the pros and cons of it, and help you decide if it’s better to pick up Sonos’ more expensive Playbar or Playbase instead. Because the Beam shines in areas the other two don’t and visa versa. And or course, my own verdict on sound quality and features.Basic specifications:- 1x individually amplified tweeter at the front centre behind the logo- 4x individually amplified full range woofers, two fire sideways to increase soundstage and improve stereo/3.0- 3x passive bass radiators to squeeze as much bass out as possible, two at front and one at the back- 1x ethernet port- 1x HDMI ARC connection- 2.4Ghz WiFi connectivity- Local 5Ghz home theatre speaker connectivity- DD 5.1 (no DTS or Atmos)- For more specs go to Sonos’ product page and scroll to the bottomSound qualityThe Beam sounds really great, and considering how compact it is, I was surprised at how much sound it was creating. It delivers rich, detailed mids and highs at moderate volumes and the bass is ok at best – admittedly but that’s a symptom of its challenging size.The size is so small, that they did compromise on bass capability. And it’s evident at even low volumes when comparing this to the Playbar/base. Detail levels, and everything else is on point but the bass capability is not up to par with Sonos’ other offerings. Does that make this a bad speaker? No. For films, music and sport especially this is a brilliant speaker. There is definitely bass for sure but it’s not as loud or punchy as the others! Going to 100% volume causes the bass to mids/highs ratio to go through the roof. It loses control and the bass sounds almost non-existent.This leads me to recommend the Beam as an addition to a small/medium sized room as large rooms naturally force you to increase volumes and harms soundstage.Speaking of soundstage… The soundstage is huge. I genuinely feel like there are two other speakers to my left and right. It sounds wider than it is, and this is their most compact offering. This is also important, because if you want a more authentic 5.0 or 5.1 experience then this can do a very good job.If you do splash out and get a SUB (which I use the Beam with) then this thing turns into a cinema powerhouse – believe me. It retains that excellent mid and high detail that it shines at, and no longer focuses on bass. I’d say adding a SUB to the speaker makes it rival the playbar/base when they have a SUB too. The only compromise is the width of the sound. So it becomes an interesting proposition if you already own a Playbar/base with a SUB… it actually could be worth the upgrade! You can show relatives the Beam with the SUB and the Beam just opens up more and is absolutely phenomenal.One issue I found with the Beam is that music that plays in stereo can sound empty or from behind the speaker. This is because most of the sound is coming from the left and right side of the Beam, and they’re firing sideways at an angle hindering front of speaker performance by a negligible amount. In most films, all three channels are used and the Beam just sounds outstanding.FeaturesThe Beam has some amazing features that make it stand out to the Playbar/base.Firstly, it has HDMI ARC support. ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and is what will deliver digital TV audio to the speaker. Most modern TV’s have this, and a good way to check is to examine all your HDMI ports on the back and look for the one labelled “ARC”.The Playbar/base have optical which only transfers data in one direction. HDMI ARC has multiple data channels and the speaker can communicate with the TV back and forth while also receiving audio.This is great, because you don’t need a remote to control the Beam. You can use your normal TV remote, and the TV will instruct the Beam to lower/raise the volume. It also communicates with the TV on A/V sync and makes it far easier for new codecs and Dolby audio to be implemented.It also removes a potential concern that is around when considering a Playbar/base, as some TV’s refuse to pass DD 5.1 through an optical connection! HDMI ARC removes that issue.The Beam has 7 far field microphones so you can use smart assistants. They call these far field mics, because it’s supposed to help recognise your voice when music is playing very loudly. Unfortunately, I don’t like using Alexa so I have not used it. I am a Google Assistant guy, excitedly waiting for that to come as an update to the Beam.Currently, the Beam has Amazon Alexa and support for Siri. Siri works differently, as it’s not built into the speaker but the speaker works well with Homekit.And lastly, the Sonos Beam is so versatile. It works on Sonos’ modular idea being that you can start with one speaker and slowly add more to your home overtime.For example, you could buy a Beam today then next month add a SUB then add some rear surrounds then add a Play 1 to the kitchen and then you’ve fallen into Sonos’ evil scheme!But seriously though, the Beam is an outstanding speaker for what it is, and considering the versatility and sound quality it’s well worth the price.
K. Saxon –
I bought this as a way to improve my TV’s sound quality after a friend got one and recommended it. It was immediately obvious that the sound quality had improved dramatically.Set-up was beautifully simple. The HDMI ARC is easy to use: you just plug the Beam into the HMDI marked “ARC” and the TV automatically recognises it and starts using it instead of the internal speakers. True you are “losing” one HDMI port to do this, but the advantage is that the Beam responds to your original TV remote volume controls without any additional steps.Using the Sonos app is very simple and straight forward to get up and running.The sound quality is amazing. In TV operation the speech is much clearer (and has a dedicated speech boost mode if required). The bass is much better even without a sub-woofer speaker. The rest of the audio is a lot clearer and crisper. Much higher fidelity and an immediate improvement. It really does fill the room with audio.In music operation, the player is fast and responsive, and controlled either through Alexa to play Amazon Music or playing music off your phone the experience is simple and the sound is great.Cons: Only a couple. The Alexa integration is great, but you cannot change the wake word. It will only respond to “Alexa”, and lacking a light it will always ding when it hears the wake word.Additionally, the rest of the Alexa system does not see this speaker as part of the multi-room audio options, so you cannot make the system play music on the Beam and Echo at the same time.If you pause what you are playing for a few minutes then resume, the Beam will take a second or two to “wake up”.Overall, I can thoroughly recommend this if you are looking for a way to immediately improve your TV’s sound. I love the fact that you can add more speakers later to create a surround system and I can see myself doing that at some point.