SONOS has always been a premium, but not anymore. It all changes this July when the newly-announced SONOS Beam Smart Soundbar hits the stores. Billed as “the world’s most versatile smart speaker for both TV and Music,” SONOS Beam promised to deliver rich sound experience for movies, TV shows, music and whatnot, while supporting over 80 music services, multiple voice assistants, as well as Apple AirPlay 2.
SONOS Beam is scalable in that it can be expanded with add-ons for those who desire to up the oomph of the system. You can choose to add a couple of SONOS Ones to create a surround sound setup, throw in a SUB for to up the low frequency thumping, or simply inducting it into your existing SONOS multi-room setups.
Measuring 25.6 inches (651 mm) long, 3.94 inches (100 mm) deep and just 2.7 inches (68.5 mm) tall, it is designed “to fit on credenzas or under wall mounted TVs.” SONOS said its latest compact soundbar won’t hang off furniture, block the TV or overwhelm the space, but I beg to differ. At 68.5 mm, it will block most TVs that is not wall-mounted. So, it is not exactly low profile as it said it is. At least, not as much as most modern TV with stand would have loved.
On the audio reproduction front, it touts four full-range woofers and a lone tweeter, three passive radiators, five “perfectly tuned” Class-D digital amplifiers and adjustable bass and treble controls. Additional, it has got speech enhancement, night sound for late night TV watching, capacitive touch controls, five far-field microphone array, AirPlay support, Ethernet port, wireless 802.11b/g, optical audio input, and HDMI ARC.
You may have noticed, Bluetooth is not listed. Well, it does have Bluetooth LE, but it is only used during the setup process between the soundbar and your mobile device. This BLE does not, I repeat, does not support audio streaming. Streaming and any subsequent updates will be via your home WiFi. Just thought you should know.
Also, you may have noticed, it has only one HDMI port and that’s the HDMI ARC. This means you can’t hook up more devices to it and also, if your TV does not support HDMI-ARC, then your only reprieve is the optical input. Cons aside, if you do have HDMI-ARC, then the good news is, you can turn on the TV with the soundbar and that also brings us to the Amazon Alexa, which the Beam supports. So, you ask Alexa to fire up TV – if the Beam is hooked up to the HDMI-ARC port.
SONOS Beam Smart Soundbar is available for pre-order starting today, priced at $399. It will ship globally starting July 17, 2018. During then, a free software update will enable support for Apple AirPlay 2. Quite a deal, but it will block my Xiaomi TV which I obviously do not fancy.
All images courtesy of SONOS.