The Sonos Beam is a 3.0 soundbar with a compact design. Out-of-the-box, its sound profile is slightly bright, but it's still quite balanced, making it well suited for listening to most types of audio content. Although it lacks some low-bass, you can improve its bass performance by adding its separate wireless subwoofer, which is sold separately. It can get fairly loud, but there's a bit of compression present at max volume. Its connectivity options are also quite limited, which may disappoint some users. However, this soundbar's side-firing speakers create a wide soundstage that helps immerse you in your audio.
The Sonos Beam is decent for mixed usage. It has a slightly bright sound profile that's still quite well balanced, making it suitable for listening to vocal-centric content like podcasts or TV shows. However, it struggles to produce a deep, thumpy low-bass. Also, its surround channel performance is poor, and it doesn't support height channels. Luckily, the 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 most types of audio content, though 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 like podcasts or audiobooks. However, sibilants like S and T sounds may be perceived as sharp or piercing due to its overemphasized treble range. It can get pretty loud, and its dialogue enhancement feature can improve the clarity of voices in your audio. You can even wirelessly stream content from your mobile devices over Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Beam is good 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 may disappoint fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Thankfully, there's a room correction feature and bass and treble adjustments that you can use to tweak its sound profile, and it can get quite loud.
The Sonos Beam is unremarkable for movies. While it has a fairly neutral sound profile, it lacks low-bass. It also doesn't have height channels or Atmos content support. However, it has a wide soundstage thanks to its side-firing speakers, which 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. As a standalone, it can be comparable to the Sonos Play 5 speaker. The Sonos Beam also competes with full system setups like the Sonos Playbar, the Bose Soundbar 500 full setup, and the Samsung HW-N950.
The Sonos Beam's soundbar has a fairly plain design, mostly made of solid plastic. A mesh-like fabric cover surrounds the whole bar, which can get dirty or tear. On top of the bar, there are three touch-sensitive buttons.
This setup doesn't include a subwoofer. However, you can purchase a separate subwoofer to upgrade your setup.
This setup 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 inch TVs. It's also not very tall, so it doesn'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.
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 under the bar.
The Sonos Beam has a great build quality. Although it has a plasticky build, it still feels very robust and solid. However, its fabric covering is prone to rips and 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 comes with bass and treble adjustments in its companion app. With the bass set to +1 and the treble set to -3, it has a good stereo frequency response. Although it still struggles to produce a thumpy low-bass, its sound profile is more neutral, making it suitable for a variety of audio content.
This soundbar 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, it 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.
This soundbar can get quite loud, which is great for use in large rooms. However, there are some compression artifacts present at max volume, especially in the bass range.
This soundbar's THD performance is good. At a normal listening volume, there isn't much distortion present, resulting in a clear and pure sound. There also isn't a big increase in distortion at max volume.
This soundbar is a 3.0 setup with an excellent center channel performance. It has a dedicated center speaker that helps reproduce dialogue clearly and accurately. Its balanced mid-range also makes dialogue sound present in the mix.
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 a 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 make your audio content feel less immersive. Sound objects like footsteps and voices 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. If you're looking for a 3.0 setup that supports Atmos, check out the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage.
This soundbar has acceptable sound enhancement features. It has a variety of features, including dialogue enhancement for producing clearer speech and a night mode for adjusting the volume level of different content as it changes. It even offers a room correction feature that automatically adjusts the sound profile to the acoustics of the room it's in, although it's currently only available on the iOS app. You can also adjust the bass and treble if you like to tweak your sound, but it lacks a full graphic EQ.
This soundbar 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. If you're looking for a 3.0 setup with more physical inputs, consider the Bose Smart Soundbar 300.
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 may 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, which is 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.
The Sonos Beam has an outstanding latency performance. It has low latency via its ARC and Optical ports, making it suitable for watching videos and movies. That said, some apps and some TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.
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 songs from your mobile device. If you have an iOS device, you can cast using Apple AirPlay. If you have the Sonos app, it connects you to a variety of music sources that can be used to play audio.
Unlike the Vizio M-Series M21d-H8R, the Sonos Beam doesn't have a Full HDMI In port, so it doesn't support 4k passthrough.
This soundbar's interface has two lights. The main light blinks and changes color according to your input source. The second light, found above the microphone icon, turns on when you activate the mic.
The Sonos Beam's touch-sensitive controls are fairly basic, including 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 comes with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. There's also a mic mute button on top of the soundbar if you want it to stop listening to you.
Update 01/19/2021: The Sonos Beam isn't compatible with the Sonos Controller app anymore. Instead, it can be used with the Sonos S2 app. We've updated our review accordingly.
The Sonos Beam is compatible with the Sonos S2 app. You can use the app to control all of the bar's settings. Also, you can link music services like Spotify to the app, and you can set alarms to use it as an alarm clock. The app lets you control other Sonos speakers and set up room configurations with them. However, you can only control the Trueplay Tuning room correction feature using iOS devices at the moment.
The Sonos Beam doesn't have a power-saving or standby mode. However, you can set a sleep timer for your audio content that turns off the sound after a set amount of time, though this doesn't turn off the soundbar itself. Once you have it set up, you can also use the TV remote to control the volume of the bar.
The Sonos Beam comes in one color variant: 'Black'. Some retailers sell a version of this product known as the Sonos Beam Shadow or the Sonos Beam Shadow Edition, and while we haven't tested them, we expect them to be the same product and perform comparably in tests.
If you come across a variant not listed here, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.
The Sonos Beam is among the best small soundbars we've tested. 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. Unfortunately, it lacks Bluetooth connectivity and like many small, standalone soundbars, it has a limited amount of inputs.
The Sonos Arc is more versatile than the Sonos Beam since it supports eARC and Atmos content. The Arc is able to deliver deeper bass, and it has better surround and height performances. That said, the Beam performs better at max volume. It's also shorter and much easier to fit between the legs of a 55 inch TV.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The Sonos has a more balanced sound profile and comes with a room correction feature as well as an auto-volume feature. However, the Bose is smaller, it can support more audio formats via its HDMI ARC port, and it has more wireless playback options.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose TV Speaker. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup with a better surround performance. It comes with more sound enhancement features, it can also get loud enough for a large room, and you can stream music wirelessly to it using Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay. It also has a companion app that can control all the bar's features. However, the Bose is a 2.0 setup that lets you use Bluetooth to play audio from your phone. The Bose also has an auto-off power-saving feature.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The Sonos has a 3.0 configuration with a dedicated center channel, which makes voices even clearer. It's better built, and it gets louder than the Bose. Also, its soundstage is wider, and it has more sound enhancement features. However, only the Bose supports Bluetooth.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Soundbar 500. The Sonos is a more compact soundbar that can get a bit louder, and its stereo frequency response is more accurate. The soundstage of the Sonos is wider, which feels more immersive. The Sonos also has a room correction feature that automatically adjusts the sound profile based on the acoustics of the room it's in. On the other hand, the Bose supports eARC even though it reencodes these formats into Dolby Digital and is also Bluetooth compatible. The Sonos only supports wireless streaming via Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-X8500. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup that's better built, has a discrete center channel that performs better than the Sony's phantom center, and has a better stereo soundstage. You can also stream music to it using Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay. However, even though the Sony's height channel performance is sub-par, it supports Atmos, which is rare for a 2.1 setup. The Sony also has EQ presets, and it has an HDMI Out as well as a Full HDMI In port, which is nice.
When comparing the bars by themselves, the Bose Soundbar 700 is slightly better than the Sonos Beam. The Bose can get slightly louder, without as much compression at max volume. It feels better-made and has a premium feel, with a glass plate covering. The Bose also has more inputs, supports DTS, and can play content wirelessly via Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi. On the other hand, the Sonos is smaller and easier to fit in your home theater setup.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Yahama YAS-109. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup that feels better-built and has a more neutral sound profile. Its center channel performance is better, and it has more sound enhancement features. However, the Yahama has more physical inputs like a Full HDMI In port, and it supports 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.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the JBL Link Bar. The Sonos is 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 JBL supports DTS, can play content via Bluetooth and has Chromecast built-in. It also acts as an Android TV box and a Google Home Speaker.
The Harman/Kardon Enchant 1300 and the Sonos Beam have similar overall performances, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Harman/Kardon offers a better surrounds performance, and it comes with EQ presets for sound customization. It also has three Full HDMI In ports and more wireless playback options. You can also use it for high-quality passthrough. However, some users may prefer the Beam's more compact design, voice assistant support, and more neutral default sound profile. It also comes with an app, unlike the Harman/Kardon.
The Sonos Beam is a slightly better performing soundbar than the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080. The Sonos has a more extended bass, feels better built, and offers more sound enhancement features. On the other hand, the Yamaha has 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 Yamaha YAS-209. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup with a dedicated center speaker, unlike the Yamaha, and it can get much louder. It's also more compact, and you can easily upgrade the setup with a sub and rear speakers. However, the YAS-209 comes with a dedicated wireless subwoofer that helps to produce more bass than the Sonos. It also has a lot more connection inputs, and you can also connect to it via Bluetooth.
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 Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350, even without its separate sub and satellites. The Sonos 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. Also, only the Sony supports Bluetooth.
The Yamaha YAS-207 is a slightly better soundbar 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.
Even without the sub and satellites, the Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48, which has a dedicated subwoofer. The Sonos is smaller and very well-built, along with more neutral sound profile. Also, its soundstage is wider, and it has more sound enhancement features. On the other hand, the Bar 48 can get noticeably louder, and it supports DTS, unlike the Sonos.
The Samsung HW-Q60R is a slightly better soundbar system than the Sonos Beam. Although the Sonos has a wider soundstage, the overall performance of the Samsung is better. It has a better performance with surround content thanks to the built-in Acoustic Beam up-firing speakers. On the other hand, the Sonos has a room correction feature, and it's easy to upgrade with a wireless sub and satellites, though we tested the Sonos as a stand-alone bar.
The Sonos Beam is a significantly better soundbar than the Roku Streambar. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup that's better-balanced and has a better center as well as surrounds performance. It also has more sound enhancement features and can get a lot louder, though with some compression artifacts present. However, the Roku is a 2.0 setup that has a couple more physical inputs. You can also use it to wirelessly stream your favorite audio to the bar using Bluetooth.
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch is a better setup than the Sonos Beam soundbar by itself. Since we only tested the Sonos with the bar alone, it's somewhat 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 Sonos'. The Sonos soundbar also features a 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 fairly well-balanced, neutral sound profiles, 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 Vizio, which also has a regular audio jack for better mobile device support and can play files from a USB key.
The 3.0 channel Sonos Beam is a much better soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The Sonos is even more compact, and 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage is a slightly better soundbar than the Sonos Beam. The Bang & Olufsen can produce more bass, it supports Dolby Atmos, and it has a graphic EQ with presets. It also offers more connectivity options and supports more audio formats. However, the Sonos has a more neutral sound profile, and it has a room correction feature. Some users may especially prefer its small size, which can be upgraded later down the line with a separate subwoofer or satellites.
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 Samsung HW-Q90R is a better overall setup compared to the Sonos Beam. The Samsung is a 7.1.4 setup that 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 that helps reproduce dialogue accurately.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Vizio M-Series M21d-H8R. The Sonos is better-built, and it has a more balanced sound profile. It also has a better soundstage performance, and it gets louder with less compression when you play it at max volume. However, the Vizio comes with some EQ presets, unlike the Sonos, and it has a Full HDMI In port that supports 4k passthrough.
The Sonos Beam is a better overall performing soundbar than the Sony HT-X9000F. The Sonos is smaller, its sound profile is better balanced, and it has a better soundstage. It also has an outstanding discrete center channel, as well as a room correction feature. However, it lacks low-bass. The Sony, on the other hand, can support Atmos content by downmixing it, it has a Full HDMI In port, and it can stream audio via Bluetooth. It can also pass through high-quality signals so if you have it connected between your PC and TV, text on the screen will be crisp and clear.
The Samsung HW-Q70R is a better soundbar than the Sonos Beam. The Samsung has a more balanced sound profile, mainly due to its dedicated subwoofer, and it has up-firing speakers that support Dolby Atmos content. Also, the Samsung has more connectivity options, but the Sonos has more customization options to tweak the sound to your liking.
The Sonos Beam is a much better soundbar than the Sony HT-CT800. The Sonos has a more balanced sound profile, and its soundstage is noticeably larger. It's also a 3.0 setup, meaning it has a dedicated center channel for clearer reproduction of voices and dialogue. On the other hand, the CT800 has a dedicated subwoofer, although you can buy a separate sub for the Sonos. The Sony also has many Full HDMI In ports and supports Bluetooth.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. The Sonos is 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, only the Sony is Bluetooth compatible. It's also better built and noticeably smaller, making it easier to fit in your setup.
Even with the bar by itself, the Sonos Beam is a better option than the Samsung N450. Without a sub, the Sonos 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 Sonos 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 Sonos via Wi-Fi.