I love sound bars.

It may sound weird, but I’ve always had a problem with spaces to set up speakers so having a compact sound bar that does the audio heavy lifting (instead of just using the generic TV speakers) is awesome.

Over the years, I’ve had a ton of different sound bars, from a whole boatload of brands. I’ve Sony soundbars, JBL ones, Phillips models but none satisfied me with their performance right out of the box.

The Sonos Beam is the exception.

What is the Sonos Beam?

The Sonos Beam is one of Sonos’ premium soundbars. It’s a smooth, compact black box that’s just 68.5 x 651 x 100 mm and weighs 2.8KG. Inside, the Beam packs in four full-range woofers, a tweeter and a five far-field microphone array. It’s usable standalone, or can be paired with a number of other Sonos products to enhance your audio experience. All this for a relatively modest asking price of $699.

The Sonos Beam is a solidly built black slab that looks sleek no matter where you put it. The buttons are all intelligently placed on top of the machine, with all the connectors array in a small alcove in the back of the soundbar. Accessing them is no issue at all, even if you’re fumbling from the front.

Billed by Sonos as The Smart Soundbar for Your TV, I can’t say I disagree, after my weeks of usage with the machine. Connecting to your TV is simple; its done through either HDMI or optical cable. You just choose one, plug in a LAN cable, hook up the power and you’re done! It’s easy, with zero fuss or muss.

Once connected and online, you can control the unit in a couple of ways; through your TV remote, through your smartphone via the Sonos app or by physically pressing the smart buttons on top of the soundbar itself. All are equally responsive, though I found myself using the TV remote the most since that’s what I naturally reach out for when I want to lower the volume.

The Sonos app works fine and offers a ton of customization options but I found that I rarely wanted to use it other than to tweak the settings. For basic volume adjustment, it simply was longer than just lowering the button via remote.

The Beam soundbar is a solid piece of equipment. It’s hefty, and really feel like a premium piece of tech. Thanks to the weight and size, it’s also relatively sturdy but SONOS has taken it a step further and added in rubber feat to make sure it doesn’t move around at all.

They’re not obtrusive enough to raise the soundbar up and I honestly think the Beam is already stable enough without them, but if you need extra assurance that the soundbar is going nowhere, now you have them.

The performance.

I’ve watched a ton of different shows on this bad boy and not once did I say to myself, ‘Damn it, I need a better soundbar.’

I’ve watched all Alien movies (including the Alien vs Predator and Prometheus series), I’ve watch every single Star Wars movie on it, I’ve watched the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Extended Editions on it…that’s NOT including the boatload of Netflix shows (I love me some Blacklist and Overlord) AND Youtube.

Yeah, so when I said I’ve watched a ton of different shows on the Sonos Beam, I really meant it.

One thing that really stands out for me was the deep booming bass that soundbar had despite there being no sub-woofer present. All of my previous soundbars had their own respective sub-woofers so it was really surprising that the Sonos Beam delivered quality bass without an external unit.

It’s not as great as having a standalone sub-woofer (sadly) but it’s certainly more than adequate to add ‘oomph’ to whatever audio you’re listening to. If space is a constraint (as it is with me), you’ll definitely want to consider getting a Sonos Beam of your own.

Speech was also crystal clear throughout my testing. Whether it’s James Spader’s silky smooth tone or James Earl Jones’ booming voice, it’s all audible, all the time. I didn’t have to keep fiddling with the settings to make sure they can be heard at a reasonable volume at all.

The only thing that saddens me from all the time I’ve spent with the Sonos Beam is that it doesn’t have Dolby Atmos. Despite its impressive array of speakers, there are no up-firing ones that Atmos requires. It’s a minor slight but it’s still a missed opportunity nonetheless.

Surround sound of course is pretty non-existent since the Beam is a facing you dead on. It’s missed in some movies but if great forward firing sound is all you need, the Beam is definitely what you’re looking for.

The bottom line.

For a $699 soundbar, the Sonos Beam is definitely worth the premium price. It’s a bit pricey for just a soundbar, but the value it brings and its audio capabilities gives it tremendous value.

On top of that, it’s also a major part of the Sonos audio ecosystem, so you can easily add in more speakers or sub-woofers to your audio setup and pair it with the Sonos Beam with zero issues.

The lack of Atmos support is a bit of a disappointment, but it’s one that’s easily overlooked by what you’re already getting for the price you’re paying.

All round, the Sonos Beam is a solid choice no matter where you’re placing it. It works equally well as the centerpiece in the living room, or as a solo soundbar in the bedroom.

TLDR:

Awesome soundbar with a ton of features, with almost no drawback.

The Good.
– Great sound.
– Easy setup.
– App is easy to use.
– Solidly built.

The Bad.
– No Dolby Atmos.
– Might be a bit pricey for some.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.