Beam me up, shorty! While we are huge fans of the Apple HomePod, we think Sonos is decent too. It produces excellent speakers with high-quality sounds at pocket-friendly prices.
The company has now announced its most affordable soundbar for the living room. It’s called Beam, a successor of sorts to the Playbar and Playbase with a smaller price tag and a compact form factor. At just 25.6 inches long, the Beam is not your average soundbar. It comes with a built-in smart assistant, Amazon’s Alexa.
But, the company does not want to lock your options in. This is why it will provide support for Siri via iPhone under AirPlay 2, somewhere in July.
So, what’s different about Sonos Beam?
“All the tech giants are building smart speakers. But they’re not doing it so you can listen to all the music you want,” argued Chris Kallai, Sonos’ VP of Hardware Product Management, when introducing the Sonos Beam. “They’re all going after the same room, the kitchen. We’re focusing on the living room.”
With this new speaker, Sonos aims to combine “Alexa, Apple Music, and a compact soundbar” together.
With their new smart soundbar, Sonos is not branding its own sound. Instead, they want to provide a ‘unfettered’ sound like “light showing through a window in your home.”
In this YouTube video from Sonos, you can clearly understand what the company is aiming for.
The Sonos is an exceptional device. It has been built with a purpose: to provide the best audio experience in living rooms. In order to achieve this, Sonos has gone to great lengths. The Beam has a centered tweeter with square-shaped woofer motors and custom-designed transducer. This results in a sound that is theater-like and immersive. Then, there are five far-field microphones for voice commands and audio correction.
Overall, the Sonos Beam is a minimally designed product. (It seems they are very inspired by Apple.) On the top, you will find the usual play, pause, mute, and volume up-down buttons. However, at the back, there is only one connectivity port: HDMI-ARC. This means audio will be channel directly to the soundbar from the television instead of its internal speakers.
Alternatively, Sonos will provide an adapter that connects the device to a TV’s optical audio port and converts that audio to HDMI.
The Sonos Beam smart soundbar is available for pre-order on its official website and it will start shipping from July 17. It is around the same time when Sonos is expected to provide support for AirPlay 2.
Last Tuesday, Apple announced listed AirPlay 2 will be able to support three Sonos speakers including $199 Sonos One. This announcement was made shortly after the release of iOS 11.4, the software update for iPhone that came with AirPlay 2.