The Sonos Beam is a decent 3.0 soundbar with a compact design. Its fairly neutral sound has a touch of brightness but is still well-suited for most genres of audio. Although it lacks in sub-bass, you can improve its performance by adding its separate wireless subwoofer, which is sold separately. On the downside, there's a bit of noticeable compression at max volume and it has limited connectivity options that some may find disappointing. However, this soundbar's side-firing speakers create a wide soundstage that can help immerse you in your audio. On the upside, it can get loud enough for most types of audio content.
The Sonos Beam is decent for mixed usage. It has a fairly neutral sound that's good for most music genres and great for vocal-centric content like podcasts or TV shows. However, it struggles to produce deep, thumpy bass, its surround channel performance is poor, and it doesn't support height channels either. Luckily, its side-firing speakers help to create a wide soundstage that can give you a more immersive listening experience. It can also get loud enough for all audio content, but there's some compression at max volume.
The Sonos Beam is great for dialogue and TV shows. It has a fairly neutral sound profile that's well suited for vocal-centric content such as podcasts or audiobooks. It can also get pretty loud and its dialogue enhancement feature can improve the clarity of voices in your audio, giving you an even better experience. You can even wirelessly stream content from your mobile devices over Wi-Fi too.
The Sonos Beam is decent for music. This soundbar's fairly neutral sound profile is slightly bright but should be suitable for most genres of music. However, if you don't have it set up with its separate subwoofer, the soundbar struggles to produce a deep thump and rumble which can affect genres like EDM and hip-hop. Still, it has a great stereo soundstage and it can get pretty loud. However, at max volume, there's some noticeable compression in the bass range.
The Sonos Beam is unremarkable for movies. While it has a fairly neutral sound profile, it lacks bass. It also doesn't have height channels or Atmos content support. However, it has a wide soundstage thanks to its side-firing speakers that can give you a more immersive movie experience. This soundbar can get loud but it has some compression artifacts in the bass range if you push it to its max volume.
The Sonos Beam is a high-end and customizable soundbar setup from 2018. It's more compact than the older Sonos Playbar and it's one of the smallest soundbars we've tested so far. As a standalone, it can be comparable to the Sonos Play 5 speaker. The Sonos Beam also competes with full system setups such as the Sonos Playbar, the Bose Soundbar 500 full setup, and the Samsung HW-N950.
The Sonos Beam's soundbar has a plain but solid plastic design. A mesh-like fabric cover surrounds the whole bar and it can get dirty or tear. On the top, there are three touch-sensitive buttons.
This setup doesn't include a subwoofer. However, you can purchase a separate subwoofer to upgrade your setup.
The Sonos Beam doesn't have any satellites but you can upgrade your setup with additional satellites.
The Sonos Beam is fairly compact and should fit between the legs of most 55" TVs. It's also not very tall, so it shouldn't obstruct your view of the TV unless your TV is flush to the table, like the Sony A9G OLED, or if it has a low stand.
This setup doesn't include a subwoofer.
There are no satellites in this setup.
The back of the bar has one opening for the power cable and the inputs. If you want to wall-mount it, you have to buy special wall-mounting brackets. The proprietary wall-mounting holes are found at the underside.
The Sonos Beam has a great build quality. Although it has a plasticky feel, it still feels very robust and solid. However, its fabric covering is prone to rips or getting dirty.
The Sonos Beam's stereo frequency response is decent. Its sound profile is fairly well-balanced, producing a neutral sound with a touch of brightness. However, as a standalone bar, it has some trouble producing deep thump and rumbles when it's not being used with its separate subwoofer.
Note: This soundbar was tested with the bar only, but we plan to test it with a full setup (sub and satellites) in the future.
The Sonos Beam has a great soundstage. Its side-firing speakers work together with its center channel speaker to produce a soundstage that feels almost as wide as home theater speaker towers. However, you can't disable this setup and while this soundstage widening effect works well, sound is slightly diffused, which feels like the sound is coming from a general area rather than a specific location. If you're looking for a soundbar with a wider soundstage, check out the Bose Soundbar 700.
If you like to crank up the volume, the Sonos Beam can get fairly loud, which is great for large rooms. However, if you're listening at max volume, you may notice thumping and compression artifacts, most notably in the bass range.
This soundbar's total harmonic distortion performance is good. At a normal listening volume, the amount of distortion falls within good limits, resulting in a clear and pure sound. There isn't too much distortion increase at max volume, which is good.
The Sonos Beam is a 3.0 setup with excellent center channel performance. It has a dedicated center speaker that produces clear and accurate audio reproduction, particularly important for dialogue in your favorite podcasts or TV shows.
Update 06/30/2020: Since you can use Sonos One speakers as satellite speakers, but we didn't test this particular setup for now, we changed the 'Rears' test result to 'No' instead of 'N/A'. The score slightly changed, but not by much.
This 3.0 setup has poor surrounds performance. As a standalone bar, it downmixes everything into a stereo signal while using the left and right speakers to produce its surround sound. It struggles to produce an accurate and clear representation of surround objects which can reduce the immersiveness of your audio as objects feel like they're coming from the front of the soundbar rather than around you. Luckily, as the L/R drivers are on the side of the bar, it can make the surround experience slightly better. You can also upgrade this soundbar with separate satellites to improve its surrounds performance. If you listen to mostly surround and Atmos content, check out the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch.
The Sonos Beam doesn’t support height channels and Atmos.
The Sonos Beam has outstanding sound enhancement features. It boasts a variety of features including dialogue enhancement for clear speech and a night mode for adjusting the volume level of different content as it changes. It even offers a room correction feature that adapts sound to your specific room, although it's only available right now on the iOS app. You can also adjust the bass and treble if you like to tweak your sound, but it lacks a proper EQ.
The Sonos Beam has a limited amount of physical inputs. It has an ethernet port and an HDMI ARC in port. While limiting, you can use the HDMI ARC in port with external devices that have an Optical Out by using the HDMI to Optical adapter that's included in the box.
The Sonos Beam supports surround sound via its HDMI ARC port. Unfortunately, it only supports Dolby Digital content, which is often found on Blu-rays and streaming platforms. This bar can't play back object-based sound formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, which can be disappointing for movie lovers.
As the Sonos Beam doesn't have a Full HDMI in port, it can't relay an external device's video signals to your TV while you're playing back the sound.
This soundbar can playback Dolby Digital surround sound common in Blu-ray discs and streaming media. It uses its Optical out connection via its included HDMI to Optical adapter. DTS isn't supported and although it isn't common on its own, it can be a fallback for higher quality DTS-HD MA content also found on Blu-rays.
While the Sonos Beam lacks Bluetooth connectivity, it can still connect to external devices using Wi-Fi. There are also some apps like Spotify that have direct support built-in so you can easily cast your favorite tunes from your mobile device. If you have iOS devices, you can additionally cast using Apple AirPlay, and if you have the Sonos app, it connects you to a variety of music sources that can be used to play audio.
There's no Full HDMI In so the Sonos Beam can't do a passthrough of any video signal.
As a standalone setup, the Sonos Beam doesn't have a subwoofer.
The interface has two lights. The main light blinks and changes color depending according to your input source while the second one is found above the microphone icon and turns on when you activate the mic.
The touch-sensitive controls are basic and include play/pause, volume up/down, track skipping, and enabling/disabling the microphone.
The Sonos Beam doesn't have a remote. Instead, you can use your TV's IR remote to control the bar's volume if you program it through the 'Remote Control Setup' feature on its app.
The Sonos Beam has a companion app called Sonos Controller and using it helps to get the most out of this soundbar. It can act like a remote as well as link audio streaming services like Spotify together so you can search several services at once for your favorite tunes. It even allows you to control the entire network of your Sonos speakers and set up additional features like alarms. Unfortunately, while you can set up room correction using the app, this feature is only currently available on iOS.
The Sonos Beam doesn't have a power-saving or standby mode. However, you can set a sleep timer for your audio content, which turns off sound after a set amount of time but doesn't turn off the soundbar. Once you have it set up, you can also use the TV remote to control the volume of the bar.
The Sonos Beam is among the best small soundbars we've tested so far. Its small, compact size packs a decent performance that can be easily upgraded down the line, thanks to its separate subwoofer and satellites. It also has a great soundstage thanks to its side-firing speakers. On the downside, it lacks Bluetooth connectivity and like many small, standalone soundbars, it has a limited amount of inputs. If you're still looking around for more soundbars, check out our recommendations for the best soundbars, and the best Dolby Atmos soundbars.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The Beam has a 3.0 configuration with a dedicated center channel, which makes voices even clearer. The Beam gets louder and is also noticeably better built. Its soundstage is bigger and it has quite a lot of sound enhancement features, which the Solo 5 completely lacks. On the other hand, the Bose Solo 5 supports Bluetooth, while the Sonos believe in better performance over Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Soundbar 500. The Beam can get a bit louder, and its stereo frequency response is more accurate. The soundstage of the Beam is also wider, which feels more immersive. The Beam also has a room correction feature for it to perform accurately regardless of your room. On the other hand, the Bose 500 supports eARC and is also Bluetooth compatible. The Sonos Beam only supports wireless streaming via Wi-Fi. The Beam is smaller and more compact, which is nice if you have limited space.
When comparing the bars by themselves, the Bose Soundbar 700 is slightly better than the Sonos Beam. It performs slightly better at max volume without as much compression as the Beam. It has a better overall design with a nice glass panel and feels better-made. On the other hand, the Sonos is smaller and is easier to fit in your home theater setup. The Bose 700 has more inputs, supports DTS, and can play content wirelessly via Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Beam is a slightly better performing soundbar than the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080. The Sonos has a more bass-heavy sound profile, feels better built, and it offers more sound enhancement features than the Yamaha. On the other hand, the Yamaha offers more connectivity options including a full HDMI In port as well as DTS support. The Yamaha also has Bluetooth playback while the Sonos can only connect via Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the JBL Link Bar. It's easily upgradable, and its 3.0 configuration means it has a dedicated center speaker, which makes dialogue and voices even clearer. It also has way more features like room correction and a night mode. On the other hand, the Link Bar supports DTS and can play content via Bluetooth and has Chromecast built-in. It also acts an Android TV box and a Google Home Speaker.
The Samsung HW-Q60R is a better soundbar system than the Sonos Beam with the bar by itself. It's easy to upgrade with a wireless sub and satellites, but we tested the Beam as a stand-alone bar. The soundstage of the Beam is still noticeably better and wider, but the overall performance of the Q60R is ever so slightly better. It has a slightly better performance with surround content thanks to the built-in Acoustic Beam up-firing speakers. On the other hand, the Beam has a room correction feature, which is great.
The Yamaha YAS-207 is a bit better than the Sonos Beam. The Yamaha comes with a dedicated subwoofer and has better bass extension to produce a thumpy bass. It also has more input selection and supports Bluetooth, but the Sonos' center channel performs significantly better for dialogue-heavy content, and has more sound enhancement features than the Yamaha.
The Sony HT-Z9F is a better performing soundbar than the Sonos Beam. The Sony is more versatile, even though it struggles to reproduce a rumbly bass and it can support Atmos content as well as all common audio formats through an ARC or full HDMI In connection. However, the Sonos is great if you're short on space and looking for a standalone soundbar with a fairly neutral sound. The Sonos can also be upgraded later down the line.
The Samsung HW-Q70R is significantly better than the Sonos Beam. The Samsung has a much better frequency response, mainly due to its dedicated subwoofer, and it has up-firing speakers to support Dolby Atmos content. Also, the Samsung has more connectivity options, but the Sonos has more customization options to tune the sound to your taste.
The Samsung HW-Q80R is a better setup than the Sonos Beam. As the Samsung is a 5.1.2 setup, the Sonos is suitable if you prefer to have only one soundbar that can do it all. The Sonos offers several sound enhancement features that the Samsung doesn't have such as room correction. However, the Sonos doesn't support height channels or Atmos. It also has a lack of connectivity options compared to the many offered by the Samsung.
The Yamaha YAS-209 is a bit better than the Sonos Beam if you only get the bar by itself. The YAS-209 comes with a dedicated wireless subwoofer that helps to produce more bass than the Beam. It also has a lot more connection inputs and you can also connect to it via Bluetooth. On the other hand, the Beam is more compact and you can easily upgrade your setup with a sub and rear speakers.
The Samsung HW-Q90R is a better overall setup compared to the Sonos Beam. Its 7.1.4 setup has great audio reproduction as well as multiple connection options. However, the Sonos is simple in its setup and is a great standalone soundbar with a center channel perfect for dialogue.
The Sonos Playbar is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350, even without its separate sub and satellites. It has a noticeably more neutral sound and a wider soundstage. It also has a dedicated center channel, which makes voices and dialog clearer and easier to understand. However, it doesn't have any HDMI ports. If you prefer the simplicity of Bluetooth, the S350 supports it while Sonos believes in better audio quality over Wi-Fi.
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch is a better setup than the Sonos Beam soundbar by itself. Since we only tested the Beam with the bar alone, it's a bit hard to compare a 9.2 system with a 3.0 system. Nevertheless, the Nakamichi gets louder with stereo content, although its soundstage isn't as wide as the Beam's. The Sonos soundbar also features a real room correction feature that uses a microphone to make adjustments to the audio reproduction.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Vizio SB3220n-F6. While both bars have a very well-balanced, neutral sound profile, the Sonos packs a bit more thump and rumble. It also has a dedicated center channel, which helps voices sound clearer, and an even wider soundstage. It doesn't support Bluetooth, though, unlike the Sonos, which also has a regular audio jack for better mobile device support and can play files from a USB key.
Even without a Sonos sub and satellites, the Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48 that has a dedicated subwoofer. The Beam is very well-built, is smaller and performs better. Its soundstage is wide and it also has many sound enhancement features. On the other hand, the Bar 48 can get noticeably louder and supports DTS, which the Beam doesn't do.
The Sonos Beam is a much better soundbar than the Sony HT-CT800. It has a more balanced sound and its soundstage is noticeably larger thanks to the speakers' disposition. It's also a 3.0 setup, meaning it has a dedicated center channel for clearer voices and dialog. On the other hand, the CT800 has a subwoofer, although you can buy a separate one for the Beam, and it has many Full HDMI In ports, on top of supporting Bluetooth.
The Sonos Beam is a slightly better overall performing soundbar than the Samsung HW-S60T. The Sonos is slightly more compact, its sound profile is a bit better balanced, and it has a better center channel as well as surround performance. The Sonos also offers a wide range of sound enhancement features such as room correction and auto-volume mode. However, unlike the Samsung, it lacks an EQ, which shouldn't be too much of a problem, thanks to its fairly neutral sound out-of-the-box. The Samsung, on the other side, supports Bluetooth connectivity, and it can play DTS content using its HDMI ARC or Optical In port.
Even with the bar by itself, the Sonos Beam is a better option than the Samsung N450. Without a sub, the Beam has a similar bass performance to that of the N450, on top of having a more neutral sound overall. It is also a 3.0 bar, meaning you have a dedicated center channel for clear voices and dialog. The Beam also has more features and room correction, which is great. It can also be easily upgraded with a separate sub and satellites. On the other hand, it doesn't have a lot of inputs and you can't stream content via Bluetooth to the Beam; only via Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. It's a 3.0 system with a center channel, which makes dialog clearer and easier to understand. It also has a more accurate overall audio reproduction and has many sound enhancement features, including room correction. It has a great soundstage for an immersive feel as well. On the other hand, if you like the simplicity of Bluetooth, the Beam doesn't support it, while the S100F does. However, the Beam is noticeably smaller and easier to fit in your setup and is noticeably better-built.
The 3.0 channel Sonos Beam is a much better soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth bar. Not only is the Sonos even more compact, but it has a significantly better-balanced sound profile, a wider soundstage, and more sound enhancement features, including room correction. Neither soundbar has full HDMI-in, though, and both only support Dolby Digital surround content.