Tech reviews

Tech review: Sonos Beam smart soundbar

Meet the Sonos Beam, a smart soundbar that you can control with your voice

Sonos Beam is a stylish smart soundbar that forms part of the Sonos range of multiroom audio speakers.

It’s one of three home cinema audio set-ups alongside PlayBar and the PlayBase. 

There are also four speakers: Sonos Play:1, Sonos Play:3, Sonos Play:5 and the new Alexa-controlled Sonos One.

The company has dominated the multiroom audio market for several years but faces growing challenges from many rivals.

Sonos Beam is a lightweight and slim soundbar that is more affordable than the Playbar without making too many compromises.

Sonos Beam

Its purpose is to become your living room’s only audio device, taking care of both music and movie/TV audio.

The compact frame measures 651mm x 100mm x 68.5mm. I placed mine in front of my 55in 4K Sony Bravia TV.

Inside the Beam are four full-range drivers, a tweeter and three passive radiators which add to the bass power. Sound is propelled around your room with an immersive impact.

Touch controls

Instead of physical buttons, there are touch-sensitive controls on the top of the unit for volume, track skip, play/pause and microphone mute. An LED light indicates the status.

At the rear are ports for HDMI (which connects to the TV), ethernet, power connection and a pairing button.

The purpose of the HDMI connection is to receive audio from the TV, using ARC (audio return channel).

HDMI ARC allows the machine control over your TV, so thanks to the voice support on the Sonos Beam, you can turn on your TV and adjust the volume with voice commands.

Sonos Beam

(But if you don’t want to give up that socket on your TV, a neat optical-to-HDMI adapter is included).

The Beam’s voice control is one of the most appealing features. It is compatible with Alexa and can be used for things like volume, to choose radio stations, playlists or songs, and to pause and play whatever you are listening to.

Five far-field microphones ensure the Beam can hear you wherever you are in your room. It works even if you are watching a movie or listening to music.

It is also compatible with Airplay 2 and Siri. Google Assistant support is on the cards some time in 2019.


The Beam uses Sonos’s acclaimed Trueplay system. This uses your iPhone’s microphone to tailor the sound to your room and usual listening position. Android phones are not supported, sadly.

But impressive as Trueplay is, I found the Beam still sounds great when the feature is not switched on.

It is worth noting that the Beam does not come with a remote.

Instead you use the Sonos app to control volume, link up speakers and so on. But you can link the Beam to your TV remote thanks to the HDMI Arc connection.

The Sonos app supports dozens of audio streams such as Audible, internet radio and all of your favourite music streaming apps Tidal, Deezer, Spotify, Soundcloud and so on.

And it has some nice home cinema presets.

Sonos Beam

Among these are Night Sound which takes out any booming bass, so you can watch without disturbing others.

While Speech Enhancement boosts clarity in speech, especially in loud movie action scenes.

Naturally, the Beam can be part of a network with other Sonos speakers. They can play the same song at the same time, or a different song in every room.

Overall, the Sonos Beam is a great-looking soundbar that delivers superb, three-dimensional, room-filling audio.

Sonos Beam costs €449 from Harvey Norman.


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