Sonos Beam review
- Excellent audio for both music and dialogue
- Google Assistant and Alexa support
- Turn your tv on and off with your voice
- Compact formfactor
- Can be easily expanded into a surround sound system
- Regular software updates
- Available in white or black
- Initial setup is cumbersome
The Sonos Beam isn’t a new product, yet despite the fact that it has been over a year since its release, it’s still simply the best compact soundbar out the market. Read on to find out why.
We’re fans of the Sonos Playbar and Playbase, but both are quite large, with the Playbase being especially huge by typical soundbar standards. The Sonos Beam addresses the growing need for a compact yet powerful and smart soundbar that can easily fit into most spaces. But don’t let the Sonos Beam’s small footprint fool you – because it’s powerful enough to fill up a typically sized living room. Furthermore, you can easily extend it into a more robust home theater sound system if you connect it with other Sonos speakers.
You’ll need to connect the Sonos Beam to your TV via HDMI arc or an optical adapter. The initial set up is a bit cumbersome and somewhat complex, but totally worth it for the end result. That said, you’ll need to connect the Beam to your local Wifi, set up your Sonos account, connect your voice assistants, set up your default music service, run True Play tuning which tunes the Beam for the space it’s located in… like we said, there are a lot of steps involved.
But when the entire process is over you’ll be able to use your TV remote to control the audio on the Beam. This even worked with our Roku smart TV remote, but only after some trial and error. To that effect, it took some troubleshooting to get the Sonos Beam to work properly with a TCL Roku smart TV, ultimately it was the Sonos community forums which helped us figure out how to make the two work together. But that is one of the benefits of buying into the Sonos ecosystem – that they have a large active community to help you with troubleshooting.
Extra special features
Both Alexa and Google Assistant are supported on the beam. Not only are both these popular voice assistants supported, but you can also use either of them to turn your TV on and off. Have you ever been lying in bed but you forgot to turn the TV off in the living room? Thanks to the Sonos Beam, you can tell Google or Alexa to turn off the living room TV! We can’t begin to tell you what a luxury-like feature that is to have, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Even without its smart features, the Sonos Beam’s sonics are impressive enough to make it stand on its own. To that effect, music, TV shows and movies all sound stellar and incredibly balanced when playing through the Beam. Music sounds balanced and rich. Movies and TV sound dynamic with tons of detail.
In particular, we’re most impressed with Beam’s dialogue performance. Dialogue is an area where most soundbars and home theater systems struggle, but the Speech enhancement feature on the Sonos Beam really helps dialogue come through clearly. It certainly offers the best performing Dialogue we’ve come across on a compact soundbar.
Night Sound is another welcome feature which helps make dialogue more clear, while reducing the intensity of loud sounds. This is a super useful feature to have if you want to watch TV at night but you don’t want to wake up your neighbors or roommates in the next room.
There are a ton of compact soundbars now available on the market, but most struggle with dialogue. If you’re looking for a more affordable soundbar that offers excellent dialogue, we recommend the Zvox Accuvoice AV203, but it’s not nearly as compact, nor does it offer smart assistant features like the Sonos Beam.
The Sonos Beam is one of the most stand out speakers we’ve tested to date. To that effect, it offers audio that is rich and balanced, for both music and video content. The fact that it also offers voice assistant integration, and that it’s so compact, helps make it even more stellar. But it’s its dialogue that has impressed us the most.
Sure, there are more affordable compact soundbars out there, but none of them close to the Sonos Beam when it comes to its audio prowess and features. To that effect, even if you don’t own other Sonos products, and have no intention of building out a surround sound system, the quality of the Beam’s dialogue makes the Beam worth its price tag alone
The Sonos Beam retails for $399 and it’s available in a choice of black or white.