Sonos Beam Soundbar - First Look

July 20, 2018

Launched in June, the Sonos Beam voice-assistant powered soundbar marks an interesting and more affordable alternative to its older flagship sibling, the Playbar. 

As Sonos currently gears up for its impending IPO, it was only appropriate that the California-based outfit made it a point to drum up the interest with the launch of its latest audio offering, the Sonos Beam. Let's take a look at a comparison before examining the Beam in detail.

Type - Smart Soundbar
Price - USD 399 / SGD 699

Sonos Beam vs Soundbar vs Playbase
With the Beam, there now exist three Sonos products that directly connect to your TV for audio output. Two (Beam, Playbar) function as soundbars while the Playbase is a soundbase.

Read - 
Sonos Soundbase Launch in Singapore 
Setting Up Sonos One in Singapore

What's the Deal with the Sonos Beam?

1. Alexa in a Soundbar
The Sonos Beam is powered by the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, a new addition to its soundbar range and its second product (after the Sonos One) to offer Alexa. While Alexa is offered only in selected countries (namely US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, NZ), there are ways to use Alexa in Singapore and we've successfully tested this. Do look out for the expected Google Assistant integration in Sonos Beam and Sonos One by the end of 2018.

2. HDMI Port
While this may seem a no brainer function in most soundbars in the market, the HDMI (ARC) port on the Sonos Beam is surprising, considering Sonos' other TV-centric speakers only offer an optical-input. Given the almost universal HDMI port comes fitted with all new LED/LCD TVs, this almost comes as a sigh of relief.

3. Affordability
From the Playbar's lofty price (SGD 1,299) to the Beam's surprising more acceptable SGD 699, this soundbar is obviously geared at providing a more mainstream offering to consumers.

4. Control
You have a flurry of choices in controlling the Sonos Beam: 
a) Voice Commands
b) Sonos App
c) Capacitative touch controls 

5. Airplay 2 Support
If you want to cast music from your iOS / macOS device, no issues there as the Beam offers Airplay 2 support. Actually since the Beam is a Wi-Fi device, there's no issues connecting with your Android device using Spotify Connect. 

6. What Else? 
The Beam can be wall-mounted under your TV or plonked on your TV console. At 651 x 100 x 68.5mm and weighing 2.8kg, this is considerable smaller and lighter than its older sibling, the Playbar. There are 5 amplifiers to power the soundbar and capacitative touch controls to control playback (if you don't want to use Alexa) and a microphone mute in case you get paranoid if you somehow reckon Alexa hears too much. 

Sonos expands its product portfolio with a more accessible product that aims to appease the more mainstream crowd. Alexa adds a dimension of convenience that will aid users while emphasising Sonos' embracing of voice assistants.

Price & Availability
Two colors (Black, White) have been launched in mid-June 2018 at the following prices (USD 399 / SGD 699). They are offered by TC Acoustic for the Singapore market, with sales starting 17 July 2018. 

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  1. The Sonos PlayBar and PlayBase are some of the best single-speaker home theater products, but they're expensive.

    1. Not wrong. On the flipside, they offer an integrated audio ecosystem when connected to their other products like the Sonos One. Guess it really depends what each individual wants

  2. Just got the white Sonos Beam soundbar from an online distributor here in Singapore. I love the all white design of the beam as it complements my minimalist room interior. Not to mention the unparalleled audio experience from the speaker. Definitely a great buy!

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