Ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to set timers, check the news, control your smart home devices, and more. However, for a smart Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar, with Alexa and Google Assistant on board, and the enter suite of Sonos streaming abilities, the Arc is actually very reasonable if you do fancy splashing out more on your home entertainment. Its impossible over an optical hookup, so keep this in mind for your connection options. If you love the look and features of the Beam Gen 2 but arent so interested in Atmos, you can still find the original kicking around (but its being replaced by this one, so act fast). Rain on the ground during the cemetery scene, seeming to emanate from somewhere in my TV stand below the dialogue. This is likely to be a commonly encountered problem until HDMI eARC is ubiquitous on TVs, and it would have been nice if Sonos added at least one input here. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. While it won't blow you away if you've experienced a Dolby Cinema, the Atmos presentation here is truly solid. The LED light will also turn off so you know your voice assistant. Similarly in Avengers: Endgame, the climatic ending is felt in full force to a degree that goes past a regular old soundbar or TV speakers. Find a spot for the Beam, give it power and connect the included HDMI cable to your TV. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. Email us and we'll compare notes. Crystal Clear Dialogue You can also control volume directly from the app, and sync up your whole Sonos ecosystem to play sound throughout the house. The roar of Wicks 1969 Boss 429 screamed from one side of the room to the other, growing closer or further away as it tracked across the asphalt. A HDMI ARC connection can do, but the TV must support Dolby Atmos itself so that's worth remembering. The Sonos app provides a greater degree of control over the Beam, while also housing a litany of options for streaming music. Its a pretty sturdy build all around thats derived from polycarbonate materials. Enter the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) (available at Best Buy for $449.99), which takes everything we loved about the originalexcellent sound, compact design, and Sonos finely tuned softwareand adds virtual Dolby Atmos, the current gold standard for home surround sound. All rights reserved. If you simply need something to improve the audio performance of your TV viewing, while also presenting all the cool music streaming features of a Sonos system, the Ray could be more than ample for you. While the Beam is connected to your TV via HDMI, its also a connected smart soundbar. Stream music, radio, audiobooks, and podcasts from all your favorite services with detailed stereo sound that fills the room. England and Wales company registration number 5237480. While it cant match the abilities of the better-equipped Sonos Arc, which adds physical upfiring and side-firing drivers, the Beam Gen 2 still provides impressive virtualized Atmos performance from its pint-sized frame. Sonos' app allows for easy control of music streaming, as well as the bar itselfbut you can also bypass the app via Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2 for expediency. Touch capacitive buttons on top of the Beam allow you to quickly trigger voice assistants, change volume, or skip through a playlist. Finally, voice assistant fans will be happy to know that the latest Beam retains its own built-in far-field microphone, allowing you to call up either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant (yet another decision made in the Sonos app).

Enjoy panoramic sound for shows, movies, and games when the TV is on, and stream music, radio, and more when it's off. Youll plug it in on the back for power, connect it to a TV via the HDMI eARC port and an Ethernet port for a hardwired connection. We are yet to hear it, but given Sonos' track record, it's likely to offer a decent upgrade to the audio most TVs - especially smaller ones - are capable of. Its not a complete redesign or even a radical change; Sonos is still delivering pretty remarkable sound from a pint-size soundbar that can now place that audio in different ways around you. While the upgrade isn't as convincing as Sonos' pricier Arc, the latest Beam is a definite win for anyone seeking compact cinematic might. Everything connects quickly and easily over WiFi. Even if you miss, youll land amongst the stars? Thats sort of what comes to mind when reflecting on the Beams Dolby Atmos performance. Its nifty. There are no up-firing speakers, which makes the task a bit more difficult. Gaining access to the Sonos app and its ecosystem means a lot more than accessing Sonos Radio or waving your phone around the room. (More on that later.). Thats a big ask for a standalone bar with no upfiring speakers, but using some digital trickery and well-tuned drivers, the Beam adds some welcome new dimensionality to its soundstage. The result is more immersion when watching content. With Hesitate by the Jonas Brothers, you can hear the transition between mid to high vocals along with a deep bass line in the back with various instruments on top. The Beam Gen 2 delivers robust sound, with ample bass for its size, clear dialogue, and a natural but appreciable amount of reverb that gives sound effects, music, and dialogue a rich, organic quality. But if youre looking for a connected soundbar that doesnt bore you with wires, demanding setups or painful interactions to get it working, the Beam is a terrific option. 2022 Reviewed, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network LLC. 2003 - 2022 Pocket-lint Limited PO Box 4770, Ascot, SL5 The Beam (Gen 2) does try its best to recreate virtually and it does a good job, while the Ray isn't likely to be able to compete here, nor would you expect it to at its price point. We compare the Arc, Beam (Gen 2) and the Sonos Ray to help you decide. Beam (Gen 2) Compact Smart Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos Control is easy with the Sonos app, your remote, your voice, and Apple AirPlay 2. I could almost imagine their legs out of frame. The Sonos Arc meanwhile, is 899 / $899. You know the old saying, Shoot for the moon. One thing missing here is a spare HDMI port. The Roam still stands as the only Sonos product with physical and tactile controls. It is a smaller, more compact and cheaper soundbar but offers support for virtual Dolby Atmos. But when it comes to a great mix of compact design, cinematic immersion, and loads of flexible features, the Beam Gen 2 is the new gold standard. Its also a great way to broadcast sound to a HomePod, HomePod Mini and Sonos speakers at the same time. Its now in line with the build quality of the larger and longer Arc soundbar. Its not outpacing the Sonos Arc, though. 5DP. A Warner Bros. Breeze through setup with only two cables, step-by-step guidance from the Sonos app, and smart Trueplay tuning This means that how you can source Dolby Atmos is limited to what your TV can do. Trueplay tuning technology adapts the sound for the unique acoustics of the room so your content always sounds just the way it should. customise Beam generation two focuses on more immersive sound and features Dolby Atmos. Follow the on-screen prompts and youll be quickly underway. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance. Well, its pretty tiny and dwarfed by 65-inch and larger TVs especially with a Sony A90J that sits flat on a surface. A big part of that is the "height channels" which add another dimension to the cinematic soundstage. The app is also your control center for downloading updates for the bar, adding voice assistants, or running Trueplay, which uses a mobile device to tune the bar to your room (though the latter only works on iOS devices). Get the best deals and the best advice dropped right in your inbox. A faster processor enables support for Dolby Atmos and creates two new audio paths for a virtual sound experience. Open the app and bring your phone close to the Beam when prompted. It's not that surprising that the Beamusing phase array shifting and psychoacoustics to emulate Atmos as it doesstruggles with this difficult but integral part of the Atmos equation. I still think the addition of Dolby Atmos is a boon for the Beam Gen 2, but it would be truly marvelous if it managed to emulate the upfiring experience with more aplomb. Recommendations are independently chosen by Revieweds editors. Enjoy vibrant bass, crystal clear dialogue, and a panoramic soundstage With HDMI-CEC, its easy enough to simply use your TV remote for power and volume, but since youve got to download the Sonos app to set up the Beam anyway, youll find the finest degree of control therein. And wed recommend not getting it solely for the Dolby Atmos feature you can get more mileage from the likes of a cheaper soundbar plus two rears and sub setup. *Requires iOS device. sonos While there are many better reasons to buy the Beam, it doesnt hurt that its just beautiful to look at. See how a store is chosen for you. Heres just how quickly you can set up the Sonos Beam its much faster than calling tech support, and wed hedge quicker than making a sandwich.

Essentially the Beam now has five speaker arrays against the three found in the original. * Big motion blockbusters like Star Wars and Avengers get this special mix, and the whole point is to put you in the middle of the action. After that, youre officially good to go and the Beam is a part of your broader Sonos ecosystem if you have other products. In this case, we have reviewed both the Sonos Arc and Sonos Beam (Gen 2) in full and we continue to use them day-to-day in our home, with the former in the living room and the latter in the bedroom. Advanced audio processing ensures balanced sound from wall to wall at any volume level. Considering its size and price point, the new Beam does a surprisingly adept job rendering immersive Dolby Atmos sound. The Sonos logo is built into the front grille and fades quickly into the black background. If you're looking for a connected soundbar that doesn't bore you with wires, demanding setups or painful interactions to get it working, the Beam is a terrific option. My main takeaway from this smorgasbord of content was that the Beam can handle whatever you throw at it. While I heartily enjoyed the expansive sound created by the Beam Gen 2's Atmos virtualization, I couldn't help but notice a distinct lack of height-based audio through much of the content I watched. The change with sound, though, is from a new processor and software tricks. CNN Sans & 2016 Cable News Network. That provides a better soundscape than most TVs are capable and the virtual Dolby Atmos experience is in fact very good. When two characters were walking and talking, with their waists level with the bottom of the TV screen, their footfalls seemed to emanate from my floor. Learn more. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented. The Sonos app also makes it exceedingly easy to sync up with other Sonos speakers you may already own, like the Sonos One smart speaker. Target does not represent or warrant that this information is accurate or complete. Oscar-winning sound engineers helped fine-tune the soundbar to make sure you hear every word and can always follow the story. Speaker buyer's guides, Sonos speaker buyer's guides, Sonos Ray is the cheapest option at 279 / $279 / 299, Sonos Arc: 1141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm, 6.25kg, HDMI eARC (optical adapter included), Sonos Beam (Gen 2): 651 x 68.5 x 100mm, 2.8kg, HDMI eARC(optical adapter included), Sonos Ray: 559 x 95 x 71mm, 1.95kg, Optical, Sonos Arc: 8 woofers, 3 tweeters - with Dolby Atmos, Sonos Beam (Gen 2): 4 woofers, 1 tweeter - with virtual Dolby Atmos, Sonos Ray: 2 mid-woofers, 2 tweeters, split wave guide, bass reflex system - no Dolby Atmos, Sonos Arc: HDMI CEC and auto sync, Alexa and Google Assistant on-board, Apple AirPlay 2, Sonos Beam: HDMI CEC with optional sync, Alexa and Google Assistant on-board, Apple AirPlay 2, Sonos Ray: IR control, Trueplay, Apple AirPlay 2.

Either way, all those components will live in the app, and Sonos makes it easy to corral your streaming services together. Of course, if this is your first Sonos product, you may have an expensive road ahead of you. Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed price at the time of publication. If you want bigger bass and a more reliable overhead Atmos experience in this price range, it's worth looking at the Vizio M512a-H6 which brings dual upfiring drivers, a subwoofer, and surrounds for similar pricingbut lacks Wi-Fi connection. In an episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+, youll hear and see the Razorcrest zoom past you.

Keanus ex-assassin vehicle was the most striking. We received a white Sonos Beam Gen 2 review sample on loan from Sonos, ahead of the products official launch on October 5th. For $449, it'll sound a hell of a lot better than your TV, act as a connected speaker and deliver a rich, powerful punch of sound. Sonos has claimed that Android microphones are too inconsistent to use its Trueplay acoustic adjustment, but that feels like it could be a simple warning in the app rather than outright banishment. It makes the Beam feel a bit more rugged and modern. Writing by Britta O'Boyle and Rik Henderson.