If you’re looking to stay in the under-$500 range and still enjoy an immersive and dynamic listening experience, then the Sonos Beam could be the perfect pick for your TV.
About $300 cheaper than Sonos’ bigger soundbar offerings -- the Playbase and Playbar -- the Beam still packs an impactful punch, without sacrificing clarity in dialogue, which will certainly give you wall-to-wall sound in medium-size living rooms.
What really jumps out at you is the relatively small size (25.6 inches wide by 2.7 inches high and 3.9 inches deep) of the Beam, and it boasts a low profile that will never interfere with the TV-viewing experience. Embedded within the smaller body, the slick-looking device comes with five powerful drivers, while the Playbar and Playbase have nine and 10, respectively.
Be aware that there is no subwoofer, so for those who want to add more thump to their listening experience, know that the sound system can be quickly upgraded by purchasing the Sonos One and/or the Sub, which is simple to sync up with the Beam via the user-friendly app.
Moreover, don’t forget about the fact that the Beam is Sonos’ first speaker to offer both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and communicating with them is a breeze with the five microphones inside the speaker. There’s also an HDMI port (missing in both Playbase and Playbar) and the support for Apple AirPlay 2 should thrill iPhone users.
Sure, the Beam will give you that cinematic audio experience for movies, but what Sonos has always been known for is its inimitable capability in streaming music. Thus, with this particular product, you’re really getting two different uses with one purchase.
Sonos indeed sets the industry standard for its ever-growing streaming library. The Beam can support Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and nearly everything in between. Not only are you getting great value in this soundbar, but you’re also going to have unbridled access to the best music and content available.
Sonos fans always rave about the company’s excellent and easy-to-use app, and they rightfully should. A major part of Sonos’ meteoric rise in popularity has to do with the seemingly uncomplicated setup process. The app, available on both Android and iOS, will take your hand and gently walk you through the entire setup procedure.
If you’re willing to part with a reasonable $400, you will be getting a solid soundbar that’s fantastic for both movies and music. Of course, you could always shell out a bit more, but there is no reason to if the Beam itself can meet all of your audio needs.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV.