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Sonos - Beam Soundbar with Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant built-in - Black-Front_Standard

Customer rating

Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars with 1424 reviews

96%
would recommend to a friend

Expert rating

Rating 4 out of 5 stars with 2 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Smart Sound

    Posted
    emiliosic
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    The Beam is the newest Soundbar from Sonos. It's smaller than the original Soundbar, simpler to connect and adds Alexa voice integration and Apple Airplay 2. Like other Sonos speakers, sound is rich and clear. Through the controller app, there's a room specific calibration, eq, night mode and voice enhancement settings. It does, as expected, produce a much richer sound than the TV speakers. It has four woofers and one tweeter. As a member of the Sonos system, the soundbar can optionally be paired with a Sonos subwoofer and a pair of Sonos speakers (Play:1 or Sonos One) as surround speakers. In this set up all the speakers work together in a group like a single system. Airplay 2 allows to use the whole Sonos system in addition to grouping Apple TVs (4 or newer) to play music from any app on iOS or macOS. Connecting it requires a power cable and HDMI 'ARC' from a TV: Most newer TVs have a single HDMI connector that's designated 'ARC' (Audio Return Channel), so whatever audio comes with the video on the TV is transmitted back through this port. Additionally the speaker can turn on or off the TV and the TV can control the volume via the CEC signal that’s transmitted via the same HDMI cable. The drawback is that this uses one of the few HDMI inputs on the TV. The 2017 model TV we're using the Beam with has 4 HDMI ports, but only two of these are 4K, ad one of these two is the ARC port (HDMI 2 in our case). So there is only one HDMI 4K port left that's where we have an AppleTV. Sonos Beam also has an alternative connection adapter that takes an optical audio input, found in most TVs (TOSLINK) and connects to the HDMI input on the speaker. The soundbar won't be able to turn the TV on or off (via Alexa) with this system. The Beam also has an infrared receiver that learns the volume commands from the TV remote. Because of this excellent integration, it doesn't have a separate remote control. It just works with either the TV's remote of the AppleTV remote in our case (The AppleTV uses the HDMI CEC connection to get the volume controls across). Setting up the Beam requires a phone or tablet: Download the app, start it, and then press the pairing button on the Beam, and within seconds it connected, asked for WiFi connection and was set up. It didn't require the phone to pair with a temporary WiFi network like other speakers do. It's very simple to do. In my experience simpler than setting up the Echo or other speakers. The soundbar doesn't have a Bluetooth connection like other speakers do, but the Sonos system is fantastic. It connects to every single music provider I could think of, including Apple Music (Not just Airplay 2 but native integration), Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, Internet radio, Plex, etc. Also, if using iOS, Airplay 2 is a better choice than Bluetooth. Then there is Alexa integration. While it's not the same as an Echo device (It's an 'Alexa enabled device'), it does pretty much anything an Echo does but doesn't currently support communications, drop ins or announcements, also doesn't join Echo music groups, although I can tell an Echo speaker to play music on the Sonos. Also, and this is different than other Echo speakers: When it wakes up with the Alexa keyword and is listening to a command it plays a chime. This is to announce that it's listening, but Echo devices don't do this and I initially found it very distracting, although after a week got used to it. Note that while voice with Alexa can control a Sonos playlist, if asking Alexa to play something it works like Echo devices, as it plays from the music sources configured in the Alexa App. There are four touch-sensitive buttons (not physical buttons, they're part of the surface, touch sensitive): Volume up/down, play/pause and mic button. There is a small white light for the mic button and a small light for the play button that changes color/intensity depending on what it's doing. It's quite faint and not distracting. The soundbar itself is quite compact, and while it's primarily designed to be sitting on a TV stand, it can also be wall-mounted, but the wall mount is extra. I'm disappointed that the wall mount didn't come with it because it doesn't use standard mounts. Sonos sells a custom wall mount for the Beam and a 3rd party mount to use as an under-cabinet speaker. The mount was quite expensive although I'm impressed how well it's made. It's a thick metal piece. The mounting holes fit like a glove, it has a felt backing so it doesn't mar the wall and is very simple to install either between beams or with anchors.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Get this speaker!

    Posted
    Josh76
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Where do I begin? I have had this speaker for 5 days now and I am amazed by the sound, design and functionality. I am new to Sonos in the last few weeks; I have Play Ones throughout the house, so I was definitely interested in the Beam for my office TV. Like all Sonos speakers, the Beam is packaged nicely and easy to get up and running. Simply plug in for power and run the included HDMI cable to your tv's "ARC" HDMI connection. I'm no techie, but it seems as if ARC gives you some two-way options as opposed to just sending audio and video. It allows a simpler connection to the tv, no need to program a remote and it also can turn the TV on when directed to. I love that. I have had Amazon branded Alexa devices throughout my home and have added smart lighting, switches and TV controls to complement my Alexa setup. The only issue was sound quality which is what led me to Sonos. The "Ones" blew me away and I was excited to try the Beam and replace an Alexa device in my office. The Beam has the same Alexa controls on the top center of the speaker that are on the One. Setting up Alexa through the Sonos and Alexa app is simple but these do not play as friendly as say an Echo. You cannot rename devices or customize alerts, etc, in the Alexa app. I am confident that these are options that will be added in the future, but I am ok with losing those options if it means superior audio. I will say that having Sonos Alexa devices throughout the home is a little more confusing than the Amazon branded devices as they do not pick up on the closest speaker like Echo's do. At times, when saying Alexa, multiple speakers are ready to listen and sometimes the closest one is not the one listening. I have the Beam in my office hooked up to a TV that runs off of an Amazon Fire TV. This is a nice combo as i can turn on the TV with my voice and have some control of content and TV volume. Again, I find that Echo devices play better with the Fire TV as well, but I'm sure that will be fixed. Any knocks on Alexa functionality is forgotten when you turn on your tv and hear the amazing sound coming from the Beam. I have Polk Omni sound bars in 2 other rooms and the Beam blows them away, but not on bass. Each sound is heard clearly and sounds beautiful, not just at high volumes. There are great options to hear voices better and a night mode so I do not disturb the neighbors late at night and still have great sound. There is plenty of bass for me in my office from the Beam, but if I had this in my larger living room, I would definitely want to add the Sonos subwoofer. In a smaller room, this is not needed, this speaker rocks! One of my knocks of the Polk sound bars are that they do not sound great playing music. This is not the case with the Beam. It sounds as good as the Sonos One Stereo pair setup in my living room, if not better. To me, this is one of the features that separates the Beam from other sound bars, the music sounds incredible. Switching back and forth between TV and music is easy to do with the TV and the Sonos App. I also tried a setup with 2 "ones" as rear speakers and it created an incredible surround sound experience. In this setup I would definitely recommend a sub, more bass was needed, but it still sounded fantastic. Conveniently enough, Airplay 2 is now supported by Sonos and I find it more reliable than choosing music through the Sonos app, but maybe I just have to get used it. The app seems to get confused by audio playing from different sources and it is something I need to get adjusted to. It is much better than the Play-Fi app, but it needs some improvement. More Alexa customizations and creating groups that can be saved would be nice. The speaker is elegant, blends in well and the sound is mind blowing, great job Sonos. The Beam is a bargain at $399 and I plan on adding another one in my bedroom.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    An awesome sound bar, that does more!

    Posted
    RAK9008
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Unboxing/Set-Up: Minimal packaging, not many parts, the unit it self has a decent weight, and it comes with a power cord, HDMI cable, and Optical Output to HDMI converter if you don’t have room for the HDMI cable, and want to use the Optical Audio Out. The power cord has no ugly brick to it, so one less thing to worry about. I have mine set up with the HDMI to Optical Audio Out, and connected to my home network via Ethernet cable (Not included but I have a lot of them, so it wasn’t an issue) Configuring the Sonos Beam was not difficult at all. Download the App, and it walks you through configuration. One thing I did note, the Bluetooth connection for my iPhone didn’t want to pick it up, which is fine, the unit does not use Bluetooth for streaming at all, just initial set up. So, create your account, follow the guide. One thing to note is the tuning, which I found rather amusing. The Sonos app used my iPhone’s mics to tune the bar to the room. This apparently does not work on Android, so if you have a friend with an iPhone, use theirs if it’s that important. Not sure if Sonos is working on integrating the tuning on the Android platform. Once all that is done, it’s ready to go! Use of the app is a bit... odd for me. I airplay my music from my phone or Apple TV. I only use it to change settings and to control Alexa, which is a learning curve on its own, coming from a Siri user, and then Alexa can play from apps like Pandora/iHeartRadio, which is cool. It’s also nice to be able to ask it questions and have it respond. The mics are good about picking up your voice, even when it’s cranking music. Appearance/Controls: My TV stand is black tempered glass, and the Sonos beam blends in with it, almost to the point I forget it is there, until I see it’s single LED indicator light. There are five total buttons. In the back, the Link button, which is used in the set-up process and four touch-capacitive buttons. Volume Up/Down, Play and Mic Mute. To skip tracks on the bar, you swipe left or right. There is no input selection as that is all done through the app (Though, so far it switches automatically when I turn on my TV, after streaming from my phone). It does have an IR sensor, so my TV remote can control the volume level. Sound: In my opinion, I am very happy with the sound, its well balanced and projects rather well for a sound bar. My mom’s sound bar is dwarfed by this thing. Highs and Lows are produced nicely, and you’d never guess there is no subwoofer with how much bass it cranks. From music to video games, sound is produced phenomenally, and I certainly am driven to expand it with more Sonos products later. I honestly love listening to my music with this thing and playing video games with it is just fun to hear all the sounds.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Full feature smart speaker in a compact soundbar

    Posted
    PeboQuattro
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    First off the speaker sounds fantastic, providing impressive range and presence for its diminutive size (2.75” tall, 25.5” wide, & 4” deep). Setup was simple and straightforward. The Beam interfaces with your TV using ARC via an HDMI cable., making the setup fairly simply if your TV supports it. Otherwise, Sonos provides an adapter to convert it to optical audio (toslink). I opted to connect the Beam via ethernet, but it can be connected to your network wirelessly via a dated 802.11 b/g or to a speaker mesh (SonosNet). Adding Alexa (Google Assistant wasn’t available at time of writing) required bouncing between services in order to allow access and add the device, which is straightforward for most. Alexa worked on the Beam as well as any other echo device I have used. Setting timers, asking questions, and playing music all performed as expected. I don’t use Alexa often so I appreciate that Sonos put the an LED on the same circuit as the physical microphone, providing a visual indicator of when it is on. The microphone must also be enabled or disabled by physically touching the controls on the Beam, another privacy detail Sonos considered. Airplay 2 worked well, playing music on the Beam from my iPhone or HomePod when requested. I actually find the Beam sounds better then my single HomePod, providing a much richer sound that fills the room. Even out of the box I was surprised by bass response from 4 small woofers and clarity from a single tweeter. After optimizing the soundbar for my living room (17’x17’) using TruePlay in the Sonos app, the spatial audio improved further. Filling the space with immersive sound, the Beam is surprisingly effective considering it’s footprint. The Beam can even be expanded into a full 5.1 system by adding two rears and a sub. As mentioned the bass is great, but not quite as good as a soundbar and dedicated sub combined. Unfortunately, the Sonos sub offered costs more then the Beam itself! I would like to see Sonos offer a slightly cheaper sub, but that isn’t an issue with the Beam. I’m also not a fan of the fabric grill on the Beam as opposed to the perforated hard surface on the Sonos One. If you are in the niche market shopping for a smart speaker and soundbar to use in the same room, Sonos has you covered. However, I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a discrete soundbar with great sound that can also integrate with practically any music service or platform.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Wow! Great sound! Don't let the size fool you!

    Posted
    btb2k
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    Very impressed with this soundbar after getting it, setting it up and using it for music, TV, and movies. Setup is quite simple but you'll want to make sure that if you're setting it up with your TV that it has the HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) or an optical audio output as there are no other inputs on the bar. While there are minimal connections it's important to note also that most newer TV's support the HDMI ARC and/or have an optical out for audio and it's well worth it as it's super easy to setup with very minimal cables. Inside the box, you'll find the soundbar, a user guide, HDMI cable and an adapter cable for an optical output. Setup is easy! Connect it to your TV (again - on the HDMI ARC port) or via the optical out with the included adapter. After that, power it up along with your TV, then install the Sonos app on your phone or tablet. Once that's done, setting up a Sonos account only takes minimal information and then it guides you through configuring and setting up the sound bar. What is really cool is the audio tuning that it does to adapt the sound to match the room and setup you have - very cool! A tip though.. make sure there's no background noise and that you take the case off your phone or tablet and follow the instructions closely or you may end up going through it a couple of times like I did. Once that's done, it's ready to go and configured so you can change inputs on your TV to whatever your video source is and the audio will play to the speaker instead of the TV (note that you may have to set your TV to play audio to external speakers). You can setup Alexa and it seems Siri and Google Assistant are coming too which will enable you to use your assistant. Another AWESOME feature is that it supports Airplay so you can push audio to it from your iPad/iPhone, and even from Android as well. Now for the best part, the sound quality! Wow, I was very impressed and definitely did not expect the sound quality that it has. It's volume is loud and more importantly sounds rich/full/balanced which is amazing considering it's size! It sounded every bit as good as my old soundbar/subwoofer, and doesn't have a subwoofer! You can of course easily pair up other Sonos speakers to make it truly a surround system and even add in a subwoofer too which i do want to look at adding. The best part is Sonos makes it easy to add speakers and setup multi-room audio so this will be on my list to do. About the only thing I can say so far that I found Sonos could have improved on was including a way to wall mount it (which, yes, you can purchase it separately but was disappointed as to why it was not included so you can). Second would be the lack of connection options for people with older TV's but of course this would complicate setup and add wires so there are drawbacks to that. Outside of that, I am very pleased with this sound bar and would VERY MUCH recommend it to anyone looking for a good upgrade - especially if you're looking for multi-room audio. All in all, a very solid system!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Good sound, everything else ... not great

    Posted
    DanTheMan

    I was pretty excited to try this device, but ultimately was left very disappointed. First off, I had never owned or used any previous Sonos product. We have a few Amazon Echos that see a significant amount of use for listening to music, setting timers, checking weather - basic stuff mostly. And we needed a soundbar for the living room TV. Reviews from around the web seemed very positive, so I thought this would be the product to replace the Echo in the family room and provide that soundbar for the TV. I knew that if I liked it I could add a Sonos subwoofer and 2 surround Play speakers at a later time. Had it for over three weeks, but ended up returning it. Main reason was the crappy Amazon Alexa performance. Compared to an actual Amazon device (the Echo it was replacing for instance), the response time from this guy was noticeably slower. To the point that it was just painful to try to interact with. Furthermore, the microphone response for Alexa activities was really pitiful. I would say it only caught the activation word about 25-30% of the time. Compare that to >90% for the Echo that was in the family room before this Sonos speaker arrived. Furthermore, it fits into the Alexa framework as smart home device instead of an Alexa speaker. What that meant was that it could not be added into a group with the other Alexa devices in the house (for getting mult-room audio for example). It also could not be used with Alexa's drop-in feature, and so on. I expected it to behave a lot more like a first party Alexa device, and was just completely let down on that front. It could turn on and off my TV using the voice commands, but that proved to be of very limited appeal. It didn't seem like it could do any other useful TV controls (and the TV is a 2017 LG OLED, so it's pretty new and unlikely to be the culprit). Related to the Alexa performance - you have to use the Sonos app and sign up with Sonos account to get this thing to work. But making it work with Alexa as a smart home speaker means going back and forth between the two apps. Go look up the directions on troubleshooting Alexa issues on the Sonos speakers - it's bananas. There is clearly some integration issues and complexities associated with both Amazon and Sonos pushing their own ecosystems and devices. I had thought that with the Sonos I would be in a neutral zone of supporting many services (like our Roku devices do for video), and that was partly true. I was able to get the Sonos to interact with my Plex server to play local music content. But frankly, no one else in the household was going to use this - they just wanted to say "Alexa... play some music." So when Alexa capabilties sucked, it ruined a lot of the appeal. The good? Sound quality was good. It might even have been great, but it was mainly used as a TV soundbar, and I'm not an audiophile. Suffice it to say, I wasn't blown away by the sound quality. It could get loud without distorting, that was nice. The dialog enhancement was very good to improve TV viewing. But ultimately the diminutive size made it behave in most ways as simply a center channel speaker in your traditional 5.1 speaker setup. You didn't really get any left/right separation. Bass was rather limited by the size as well. Maybe if you had a small apartment this could fill the space with impressive sound (like those old Bose wave radio commercials would claim), but it didn't work that well in the living room space I put it in (14' x 20' with 9' celings). Speaking of 5.1, this thing would only support decoding of dolby digital sound. For a device in this price range in this day and age, that was just pathetic. Design and looks were nice but I don't buy speakers for how they look, I buy them for how they perform and how much value they offer. This one is overpriced and underbaked. I'm pretty confused how people are reviewing this thing so highly. Maybe they had already gone all in on the Sonos ecosystem. But if you are coming to this device for the Alexa integration, just stay away.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Sleek and Minimalistic. Nearly Perfect!

    Posted
    MRWilson
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    I have used multiple sound bars in the past 2-3 years as I disliked the visual appearance and overall complexity of using a full 5.1 or 7.1 setup for multiple years and finally with the Sonos Beam I feel as though we are almost at a perfect spot for sound bars. Firstly, the appearance of this device is wonderful as it is so sleek and minimalistic that it fits perfectly into nearly any space without taking up a massive amount of room or looking overly bulky. You can tell that attention to detail was made throughout the product as one thing I do appreciate is that the top is concave so that you are not seeing the power lights out of the corner of your eye while trying to watch something. This attention to detail is also evident in the power cable and included HDMI cord as there is no big brick for the power cable and both cords are very thin and give a sleek appeal that is perfect for concealing in an entertainment setup. The simplicity and minimalistic aspects with devices nowadays is something I have really begun to appreciate to which the Sonos Beam fits both those nearly perfectly. Setting the Sonos Beam up is similar to that of other Sonos products as you simply set it up through the app on your phone and with using 2 additional Sonos Ones as rear speakers connecting them together was extremely fluid (especially compared to running speaker wire throughout a room/wall and to a receiver). It took less than 10 minutes to set everything up through the app to which the majority of the time was spent waiting for wifi and everything to connect to each other. Then with using the app and having Alexa built in there is no need for a remote which is great because having multiple remotes can become annoying once devices and streaming products are added to a setup. Also with just having one HDMI cord and the power cable running from the sound bar cuts down on the clutter of wires tremendously. Then the sound of the device to which is the obvious main purpose of buying the Sonos Beam was definitely solid for only $400. Obviously larger sound bars may have more bass and speakers with the size increase, but for the price this sound bar definitely competes with those in the $500-$600 range and with the additional Sonos speakers setup as rear speakers it definitely competes with a full wired setup plus you obviously are getting the addition of Alexa versus a higher priced sound bar or traditional setup. With Alexa though this is my only con of the Sonos Beam or else it would be a completely perfect device that I would recommend to everyone. I unfortunately am someone more entrenched in the Google Assistant ecosystem (whole other discussion) and as of yet Sonos still does not have this available for any of its products though supposedly it is on the horizon. The other difficulty I did have was at times Alexa did not hear me while I had a movie or music playing and I did have to raise my voice in order to trigger an action, but this is something that at this price point and with all the other various positive aspects is nitpicking, but it was nearly the only negative I experienced. Overall though, I am extremely satisfied with the Sonos Beam and when/if Sonos ever does roll out Google Assistant compatibility this would definitely be a top notch product as the appearance, simplicity, and sound are exceptional!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    MUST READ if you own an ASUS RT-XXXX router

    Posted
    JMan
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Please be advised that according to the Sonos support tech I spoke with, there is a known compatibility issue between their devices and ASUS RT-XXXX series routers. I also saw scores of postings online from people who had issues with a Sonos device and ASUS RT-XXXX routers. If you have an RT router and are considering the Beam or any other Sonos device, I would first check for known compatibilities. This in itself isn’t a guarantee, because I was told a certain setting was the culprit but disabling it did nothing to fix the compatibility issue between my router and the Beam. I’ll share more further in my review. I was so excited to use this new Sonos, I immediately gave my existing soundbar to my daughter. The existing system (different brand) had a subwoofer and sounded pretty good but I figured the premium sound of this Sonos would be a worthy replacement, even without a sub for now. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was that there were very minimal instructions. It was no biggie because installation is literally three steps: plug in power, connect included HDMI cable to soundbar and television and install the app. The remainder of the setup is performed through the app which provides step by step instructions. I installed the iOS version of the app and created my mandatory Sonos account. You can’t do anything without the app and an account, so don’t even think of skipping it as an option. You cannot enable the Beam to even simply work with the television without the app. My excitement diminished pretty quickly when the Beam wouldn’t connect to my Wi-Fi. I tried numerous times and methods to connect to Wi-Fi. I even moved to within five feet of the router but still, nothing. knew something was wrong when I finally relented and connected the Beam via ethernet as instructed by the app. Even that didn’t work. Eventually, the Beam stopped responding altogether and just stood there flashing like a useless brick. Since I was stuck with no apparent way to proceed, I called Sonos support. The call took about forty minutes between the hold time and actual troubleshooting but the techs were very nice. The techs advised me that there is a compatibility issue with Asus RT-XXXX routers. A quick search of the web confirmed tons of people with compatibility issues between Sonos products and ASUS routers. At first, they thought it was the usual culprit, a setting named “airtime fairness” being enabled in the router. However, I disabled the setting and still could not connect via wifi or ethernet. I removed the ASUS and the tech walked me through how to reset the Beam. You have to unplug the Beam, hold down the button in the back, plug it in and continue holding the button until the light on top flashes alternately between amber and green. I finally got the Beam connected to my ISP’s cheesy router instead of my very pricey and very fast ASUS router. I still haven’t decided if getting the Beam to work is worth the sacrifice in Wi-Fi speed. For now, I’ll keep it connected but it may end up the odd device out if I get tired of this pokey slow ISP router. Sound quality is decent but not what I would specify as spectacular, especially for such a pricey soundbar. The highs and mids sound good and clear but the bass is simply adequate. It’s okay for casual viewing or listening but if you’re a bass head, you will definitely want to splurge for the pricey optional subwoofer. This is especially true if you want to listen primarily to music through the Beam. Best way I can describe the sound is that it sounds like one of those overpriced curved bedside radios. The sound while viewing movies and TV shows is good but a little on the quiet side. I have to adjust the volume up significantly to get comparable loudness to the soundbar it replaced. Whereas the previous soundbar would fill the room (and adjacent rooms) with loud teeth-rattling sound and booming bass during movies, this sounds more like a basic soundbar than a home theater. Granted, the previous soundbar had a sub-woofer but even with the sub, it costs less than half the price of this Beam, so I expected it would compensate a little better than it does. The Sonos app is okay but a bit weak. The setup and interface with the Alexa app was easy but the app offers nothing really special beyond basic Bluetooth speaker functions. I don't need an app to stream music to a Bluetooth speaker. I have several far more capable and better sounding Bluetooth speakers that I stream to just fine. The fact that the Sonos app works with certain services isn't necessarily a plus to me. There also aren’t really any truly helpful sound tools beyond a basic EQ. The sound settings category was the first thing I headed to after my initial disappointment with the volume. There’s a loudness button but even when enabled, the volume is still too low for my tastes. My overall impression of the Beam is still pending. If I were forced to make a definitive judgement right here and now, I’d say I’m currently in the “it’s not so hot” camp. The compatibility issues with my router and the setup headaches that resulted were bad enough, but factor in the weak app and the somewhat disappointing sound quality and loudness and it didn’t exactly make the best first impression. One thing I wish they’d change is the inability to use this without Wi-Fi. Look, I get it, it’s all about connected smart home devices these days. However, there is nothing “smart” about a device that gets bricked by lack of Wi-Fi”. At the very least, Sonos should allow for a right out of box option to simply connect and use with the TV without a mandatory app pairing and Wi-Fi setup, if nothing else. But on the flip side, it does show potential and fares far better with music than movies. A sub would make it more suited to my tastes but not everyone is a bass head and it sounds really good for pop, rock, most jazz and other genres that don't require a ton of bass to sound good. This is why it's so hard to make a definitive judgement. However, if a friend did ask, I wouldn't try to dissuade them. I would absolutely recommend they try it but I'd also share my personal experience so they get another perspective. I know some people who would love the Beam, warts and all. It's nowhere near bad enough for me to say "absolutely not" if a friend were considering it. As long as they aren't dependent on an RT-XXXX router.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Easy to use great Soundbar

    Posted
    MrPHD
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    I had a Samsung soundbar that I purchased along with my Samsung TV, I thought it was pretty good, and have been happy with it for years. One of the issues I had was that it wasn’t so easy to connect anything via Bluetooth to it. It has the capability, but not so user friendly, and forget about having guests connect to it. Then the Sonos Beam came along! I could not believe how amazing music streamed from my phone(Airplay) and Blu-Ray (PS4) movies sound on it. It was so good that I'm actually slightly upset I’ve been listening to everything wrong the past few years. For reference, my Samsung soundbar tops out at volume 30, which is pretty loud. On the Sonos Beam, the equivalent is about 50, and the Sonos goes way past 75, which is ridiculously loud and I have no need to go louder for the room it is in. The setup was a little trickier than it needed to be, partially because in redoing the setup, my TV’s ARC was somehow disabled after being plugged into the Sonos. Of course, I had no idea it became a TV problem, so trying to factory reset the Sonos proved to be a bit of a challenge, and ultimately unnecessary. This most likely was specific to my setup, but I did find it odd that after working fine on the Sonos Beam, and fine again back on my Samsung soundbar (for sound comparison), that plugging in the HDMI ARC back into the Sonos somehow froze the ARC (requiring a TV factory reset). I only bring this up in case, like me, you’ve set everything else up correctly but there is still no sound. Speaking of HDMI ARC, your TV will require one to use this. Most new TV's do, but some older TV's do not. However, if your TV has an optical out, you can use the included optical to HDMI converter included with the Sonos Beam. My Sonos Beam sits on the entertainment center now (as opposed to my mounted original soundbar), and I’m good with it there, especially since I now have easy access to the buttons on top (whereas my original was blocked by the TV). Connecting to the Sonos Beam is simple: you just need to be on the same network and download the Sonos app. Multiple people can connect to it and adjust the volume, even with the ability to stop whatever song is playing, and play their own songs from their phones. Speaking of the Sonos App – I will say that it needs to improve. You can play your playlists through the app, but then you cannot control the volume if you have your phone locked and just want to raise/lower volume. I’ve also found that the Sonos App also randomly decides to move onto the next song, even if the playing song has not finished! It’s almost as if there is a time limit per song, but this seems to only happen after a few hours of music stream - it is not immediate. I’ve gone around this by simply using AirPlay to connect and using my Iphone’s native player (or Pandora). This also solves the issue of not having to unlock your phone to adjust the volume within the Sonos App. Calibration: you can calibrate the Sonos by using the app and waving it up and down the room, which it a little tedious and it will warn you if you are moving too fast or not going high or low enough. You look rather silly doing it – if someone walked in on you while performing the calibration – they would say you look like a priest blessing the living room. The calibration is well worth it, everything sounds great after it. As for as Alexa goes, I did not set it up, as I was really just looking for a better soundbar, which the Sonos Beam is. Alexa is also the biggest downside (for me) – as the device is always powered on so it can listen to everything you say, waiting for you to say “Alexa.” I’ve found myself unplugging the power cord when I leave or go to sleep.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    A great Soundbar marred by an inconsistent App

    Posted
    cjviscito
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

    I really wanted to like the Sonos Beam - I really did. The physical item itself is sleek, compact and doesn't disappoint with room-filling, thumping sound. My main hang-up is with the inconsistent and frankly menu-heavy, horrible user experience of their mandatory companion App. From a connectivity stance, the Beam sports a single HDMI-ARC connection. Unlike other soundbars that also include HDMI pass through with this option, the Beam wants to dominate the HDMI-ARC port on the TV. This is problematic for people like me that have several items plugging into the TV with a single audio line going out. I tried to get this working in my media room with our 65" 4K OLED TV, but it wouldn't work right with the Logitech Harmony that I had - because the Beam requires infrared remote control signals and my TV uses Bluetooth with the remote. So I moved it to our bedroom - one of the saving graces is that the Beam comes with an HDMI-to-Optical connector, so I was able to plug in the supplied HDMI cable and connect it to the Optical Audio Out port on the back of my bedroom TV. The setup was particularly painful because the Sonos App is not a good user experience. Out of the box, the Beam needed an update which was an immediate buzzkill. It was made worse because the Sonos App kept loosing connectivity in my house - which is odd, because we have a mesh WiFi system and can stream 4K content with no problem. Once I finally got the Beam set up, it took some trial and error to get it to respond to the TV remote control. I still haven't been able to successfully complete the Tuning option. For whatever reason, the Beam and iOS App keep dropping connectivity. fSomething to be aware of, the Sonos App doesn't support iOS betas, public or developer. Luckily, I had my old iPhone 6 that I was able to use to finish getting some of the kinks worked out. I would recommend the Sonos Beam for anyone who's already invested in the Sonos ecosystem, needs a basic setup, or simply wants to stream music. This thing sounds beautiful once it's up and running. The main problem is getting the thing up and running. Hopefully, it's because it's a new product, so they'll work out the bugs on the Sonos side soon. If you have a complicated setup, or anything pretty customized, then I'd suggest looking for another option that allows HDMI-ARC passthrough and has more options for the $400 price point.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Smart Home, Smart Sound. A sound system that gets

    Posted
    JerryZ
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Smart Home, Smart Sound. A sound system that gets better with time. The SONOS sound bar was easy to set up and use. The ARC connector from my TV via a HDMI cable lets the SONOS built in ALEXA app control both via voice. Basic functions as a standard sound bar (speaker and amp.) Just connect to your TV via HDMI cable, your network either via WiFi or hardwired cat5e or better cable, plug into AC and done. Last, run the simple set up APP and in 10-minutes or less great audio throughout the room. Here is what I learned by delving deeper: The system actually learns to sound better. Using your smart phone, the speaker can be used to emit varying sound that are picked up by you smartphone as you wander through the room. It then self tunes the system for even better sound quality. An optical adapter cable is included if your TV lacks an ARC port. I hooked up my bedroom TV via this and it performed flawlessly. So now instead of a radio clock I let ALEXA lull me to sleep with music and wake me up like an alarm clock. Its like having another echo DOT but with concert hall sound!. Use the app to connect to your favorite music library, apps and more. Even have your audio books read in a super clear natural sounding voice. I'm truly loving this. And if I want the app knows to stay quiet when others are sleeping in another room. 5-stars for this alone! I should mention the equalized is in the app. They thought of everything. ( If they didn't they can fix it via software.)

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Excellent Basic Soundbar/BT Speaker...with Alexa

    Posted
    TechBuyer
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The Sonos Beam is an excellent BASIC soundbar that handles HDMI Audio and Video input from an external source over HDMI (PC, TV, AV Receiver) along with a wide array of wireless connectivity options over Bluetooth or AirPlay, with the added kicker of Built-in Alexa. The advantage over normal soundbars is the addition of Alexa, meaning one less Echo or Show/Spot device in any particular room with the ability to also link and control other SONOS branded speakers throughout your house to build out your audio ecosystem. As a TV soundbar, the connection over HDMI-ARC is flawless, you send your inputs in through HDMI to your TV and use the ARC channel to connect to the SONOS Beam and you get audio no matter what source you use for HDMI. If your TV doesn't have ARC or you need all your inputs, you can use a SPDIF/Optical (from your TV) to HDMI connector (to SONOS) but you lose some auto-ON and smart features. Now on to the bad. I don't think the Alexa built-in is as good as a normal Amazon Echo device. Not sure why that is, since Alexa is "cloud-based" to process your voice commands, but not only is the SONOS not as adept in deciphering my voice commands, but it also doesn't have the same functionality. For example, if I ask the SONOS Alexa to shuffle Hamilton Soundtrack, it will only play the FIRST song and then it stops. And, it is always the same first track. Do I have to build a playlist for it to play more songs? I don't know. Now, asking Alexa to play 80's songs works fine, advancing songs works as well, but it is definitely interesting why it doesn't work the same as other Echo devices. In any case, for a small room and basic set-up I think it is an excellent value proposition and the sound is better than an Echo device, but a bit muffled compared to other dedicated soundbars. For the price, I think it is a good value proposition for anyone who wants both music, TV/PC sound and Alexa in a smaller room. Definitely not something I would use for my main entertainment/viewing room.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Clarity and Easy to Setup

    Posted
    Dajuice1460

    I had the Klipsch R-10B soundbar set up with my LG65UH8500. The bass was good and clarity too. When the Beam was announced I was immediately interested. I had a play1 in the “famcave” that I used for music and one in each of my other 2 floors. I really missed the surround sound set up I had had over 5 years ago. I splurged and got the sonos Sub, another play1, 2 play 1 stands, and ordered the Beam to create the 5.1 Setup I had missed.I also got the beam mount for under my TV. Which I recommend too. It keeps the beam an inch or so from wall to help with sound quality. Setup was easy. Did the TrueTune and it made a nice adjustment for the room. The sound was so clear and balanced. (I did adjust the bass, sub level, and surround level further). I watched a few movies and shows and although it was surround sound something was missing... Ahh I needed to change the audio to 5.1 in the settings of my XFinity X1! After fixing that, I was hearing the plane fly from left to right, front to back, etc. I tried without the Sub on and it still sounds very good with the play1s as surround. The sub makes a big difference in my opinion. (It better for $700). I tried it standalone and it was impressive on its own. No issues with lipsync or anything. I am not to big on Alexa, but it is cool to say “Alexa turn TV on in (say room the Beam is listed under- ie basement). Same with turning off. Make sure you say location. You can however change the way its listed in Alexa app to shorten or name its different. Music playback is great, I changed the setting for surrounds to Full vs Ambient. I cannot wait for Football Season. A large investment for the whole 5.1 setup, but well worth it! Sonos is great because you can add on as you go. Essentially future proof. The wife approves because of the better balance of sound and dialogue clarity. Other nice feature is you can group other rooms to playback TV audio as well. So you can hear the show/news/game playing in a completely different room where you have another Sonos. TV remote was easy to sync with Sonos app setup, now you have a remote to change volume on the sonos along with your phone, voice, and buttons on speakers... Love it. Buy it.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Size/Powerful Sound

    Posted
    fudo
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I've been slowly buying a Sonos product per room in the house. When the Beam came out, it caught my attention with its sleek size, powerful sound, and ability to connect HDMI ARC. With the HDMI ARC connection, you are able to give the TV commands like "Turn off, Turn on, Volume up, Volume Down." Not only did Sonos create a simple solution with voice commands, your own remote controls the very audio of the Sonos Beam, I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired of remotes in the living room. Now let's get down to price point, SONOS is known to have sounds bars that can get into the $700 dollar range, which I think is still worth it. For the size of my house and living room, the beam is more than enough, especially paired with SONOS 1's in the back. Anyone who is a hardcore moviegoer would enjoy the stereo surround with multiple Sonos speakers combined with the Beam. If you enjoy comedy, documentaries and other shows/movies that are heavy on dialogue, the beam has a great speech enhancement that helps balance tones so that you aren't overloaded with bass and treble when dialogue is over. Let's get down to music, for my podcast junkies and people who just want to turn off the TV and relax or put on some tunes for the home gym, the ability to play the beam with other SONOS speakers is great. I love being able to throw on some music and have the house filled with balanced premium sound. I've been really happy with the Beam so far, can't wait to see what other updates will be coming out for Alexa devices, and this really helped give my entertainment center a more minimalist approach with its size factor. What I mean by this is, I don't have so much stuff crammed together, things breathe better, fewer wires, just simple. For people trying to build a real theatre in a separate room, with a projector, this probably isn't for you. If you live in an apartment, loft or small/medium home, this is more than enough to get you started with the Sonos ecosystem of products.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Multi-function sounder with clear sound

    Posted
    djtatami
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    The Sonos Beam is a great addition to the office/den area and while it's a little pricey, it's a neat product which performs 3-functions in one, enhancing the entertainment experience. It's a TV Soundbar, it plays streaming audio speaker (eliminating the need for a Stereo system) and it's a Smart Speaker (eliminating the need for a separate Amazon Echo). The elimination of wires and additional components and the "clean" setup alone makes it worth the price. If you have a other Sonos speakers/components, it fits in beautifully, allowing and the multi-room sound which fills a small to medium sized-space. Another plus is that you can stream the TV Sound to your other Sonos speakers which is quite useful if you're watching a close game and need to leave the room for a few minutes to run a chore, but want to follow the action. I would rate as 5 stars for it's usefulness, but there are a few considerations...first, it's a bit pricey ($400) and while it can get loud and clear, ideally, you need a subwoofer for a better listening experience and the SONOS SUB is quite expensive addition. Second, the Amazon Alexa integration is only partial and while it picks up the voice fine for simple home automation (like turning on/off lights, or starting a stream of music), it doesn't support full Alexa Skillset yet. For example, I have DISH TV and can use a regular Echo to voice-control the channel change, but the BEAM can not do it. Finally, as a dedicated listening speaker, the stereo spread (while it exists) is quite narrow...so while it works great for background listening or when pairing into multi-room playing, for dedicated listening, it's not optimal. Also, I can see the other criticism is if you have a large living room setup, it's probably not powerful enough by itself...but for a secondary room (den, master, guest room...it's quite ideal)

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Clear Sound. Need Sonos Sub.

    Posted
    Samrio
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    This is easily one of the best sounding sound-bars I've ever owned. The audio is super clear, and the Alexa integration works better than my Echo Plus! It's able to clearly hear me say "Alexa" and turns the volume down enough for it to hear your command clearly. The real downside to this, is the need to purchase the Sonos Sub to get all there is to offer from Sonos Beam. While the bass response without it is clear, it's not ever going to beat out the Bass of a Soundbar that comes with one. In the event that you have an existing Sonos sound system setup in your home (such as the Sonos Play 1) you can pair it all together and experience surround sound. The Sonos app makes the setup easy, and once you've got everything paired up, it really fills the room! Overall, this a great Soundbar for every day TV viewing, gaming, and is probably one of the better ones for music. It delivers the rich sound you'd expect from Sonos, and the Airplay integration makes it easy to beam sound from your iOS device or Apple TV. Although, you'll likely want the audio to come from ARC or the Optical port of the TV, as it's a bit louder that way. The included optical to HDMI adapter is also a huge win! Especially if you need the ARC port for another device, and have an optical (TOSLINK) port on your TV. I've noticed some audio clipping (cut out) from my Sony TV (900f), but this is likely more a Sony issue than the sound bar (it did the same thing with another soundbar I replaced this one with). I'm super happy with the Sonos Beam soundbar, and I'm hopeful I can afford the $699 SUB soon to complete the system! If you have Sonos in your home, this is any easy decision, buy it. Otherwise, be prepared to invest in the Sonos system and complete your sound with the SUB.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Little Soundbar for Small Spaces

    Posted
    SunshineState
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    I’m very pleased with my Sonos Beam soundbar. I’m using it in my bedroom, and it seems adequate for this space. I really love the addition of Alexa, which I use to operate a thermostat, Nest x Yale lock, Philips Hue bulbs, etc. It could use a little more bass, and frankly the fabric cover for the speaker face is sort of cheap, but it looks good enough. It is not the sound quality of my Sonos Play 5, but I still like the fact that I can listen to my favorite tunes and use the Sonos app as a controller for the Beam as well. As a little word of caution- the Achilles heel of WiFi speakers like Sonos is that there are technical problems which you can and will encounter. Sonos has great tech support, but it is not unusual to wait 30-45 mins on hold to speak with a tech. Furthermore, their techs are usually very highly educated regarding this technology, and I’ve found them to often assume you have their level of understanding. It can be a real challenge to get past some of the technical issues that arise, and they are helpful, but you had better have at least more than a basic understanding of what they are talking about, or you will become quickly lost. Lastly, and this is the biggest issue- you are obviously at the mercy of your ISP. If the internet is down, you are not going to be the listening to music. Despite all of this, I’m good with Sonos. I think most of their products are way overpriced, but in this case, not so much. I would definitely recommend this speaker to those who want a decent, compact, soundbar with voice assistant connectivity and enough knowledge to patience to deal with occasional lengthy tech support sessions, which fortunately, are not that often.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Looking and Great Sound

    Posted
    DMNFL
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    I have been looking to replace an old soundbar and when I heard about the Beam, I couldn't wait. I love the products that Sonos puts out. They're easy to use and easy to use together. They really make everything simple. This soundbar looks great, but funny enough it almost disappears into my entertainment center. It's compact vs. my old one, probably 60% of the size both across and tall. But that's a big bonus to me. The sound: awesome. I love that you can control it from your TV remote. One way that they bring simplicity. It gets very loud and fills the entire room. Our family room is next to the kitchen with no walls or barriers. During set up, it makes you walk around the room waving your phone, which feels stupid, but the results of that optimization were awesome. Standing or sitting anywhere in the family room or Kitchen, the sound is the same. There are no dead or low spots. I don't know how they do it, but I love it. Speaking of set up, it was easy. Download the app and it walks you through, including connecting to Alexa and other Sonos speakers you have. The Alexa addition is nice. I can control my Fire TV, which really works as a great shortcut if you know what you want. "Alexa, find Chopped on Hulu." Or, "Alexa, search for Hotel Transylvania." You can also turn it up and down, but I like using the app or the TV remote for that better. The one Alexa complaint that I would have, and I believe that this might be more Amazon's fault, is that you cannot connect this with any other Echos that you have. I would love to my Alexa devices to play "Everywhere" (the creative name that I have for my Echo group) and include non-Alexa devices. Honestly, with the sound of the Sonos speakers and this soundbar, I'll be adding more of them rather than other Echos. Highly recommended, especially if replacing an older, simple soundbar like I was or if you have other Sonos devices already.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Nice new option but Alexa detracts

    Posted
    David

    I can't recommend this unless you have a specific size limitation and need the TV use-case. If you are just wanting music I'd go with 1's or a 5. If you need TV and can handle the larger size, the playbar would be the better bet. We have a lot of Sonos... nearly every room including two 5.1 setups and Connect zones for patio and in ceiling speakers. So I was pretty excited to see a smaller option than the Playbar. Overall a nice product but sound wise I think I'd prefer a pair of 1's or a 5. I'd say it's a wash. But with all the focus around Alexa now with Sonos I have to say it actually hurts the value of the speaker b/c the integration is problematic. Yes, Alexa works well on the speaker itself. And overall it's nifty to be able to call out music to specific rooms. The problem comes in when you have multiple rooms using Sonos and multiple users. For example... if you have the Beam in your office and are listening to music while someone in another room of your house asks an Echo Dot "alexa, what's the weather?" your Beam will mute audio playback while it answers in the other room. If you are listening to your Play5's in the kitchen and you have kids in their room asking Alexa a million questions, your audio playback mutes every time. Alexa and Sonos have the implementation concept called Ducking which trims the volume so Alexa can hear what you're saying/asking - totally makes sense in the room where your asking the question. Problem is, it's not room aware so if your Sonos and Alexa systems are integrated, playback across all rooms is interrupted with any Alexa query in any other room. It's annoying as all get out. Been a problem for 8 or more months and no acknowledgement from Sonos other than to say "thanks for feature requests." Personally we're going to decouple Alexa completely from Sonos b/c usage by family members around the house make Sonos non-usable.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Big sound small package!

    Posted
    Chris
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I’ve waited to review this for an a month. I was originally considering the PlayBar but just couldn’t justify the cost. Don’t get me wrong the PlayBar sounds better, but not $200 better IMO. Also my TV (65” Sony X900f) is in our basement which is about 18’x15’ and the Beam sits perfectly below the TV still allowing IR access for the remote. In that space the Beam is more than enough. I love that I can stream music from all my apps (Deezer, ITunes, and Amazon Music). I was not so impressed with the Sonos app to do this so I most often stream through one of those apps to the Beam. Now you should know that 5.1 is not available in all Blu Ray disk through this Soundbar because it does not convert DTS audio to Dolby 5.1. Also, I have Youtube TV and it does not stream content in 5.1 either, but that is. YouTube TV issue not a Sonos Beam issue. All other sources/content (Netflix, PS4, Amazon Video) I have connected to the Beam do output 5.1 Dolby. If you love bass with your music and blockbuster movies you’re going to want to add the SUB. I purchased a Open Box SUB from my local BB for over $100 less! I think this is great investment and I’m considering adding two Ones for full 5.1 surround. I would give it 4.5 stars if that was an option, taking off that half star for the lack of DTS support.

    I would recommend this to a friend