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Sonos Beam: sound bar, AirPlay 2 and Alexa in one device



Sonos Beam: sound bar, AirPlay 2 and Alexa in one device

Sonos has carved its own path in the complicated world of wireless speakers with high-quality, carefully designed products. In addition, it has also been able to adapt to the technological innovations that are setting trendsand has been one of the first brands to adopt AirPlay 2 and to integrate Amazon Alexa into its speakers.

As a final result of this successful policy of offering the best of the best to its users, we have a speaker that you can hardly resist taking home, because it is a really round product. The Sonos Beam speaker is a sound bar with which you can listen to your favorite movies and series with spectacular sound, but with it is also compatible with AirPlay 2 (and this implies Multiroom and control by Siri), and that integrates Amazon Alexa, making it a smart speaker for the living room. We have tested it and we tell you.

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Design and specifications

It is a small soundbar, much smaller than the other model that Sonos has (PlayBar) with only 650x100x68.5mm in size and weighing 2.8Kg. Just about any soundbar you’re looking for on the market will be bigger than this Beam, which is for me a plus for the Sonos bar. In addition, unlike conventional bars, it is not accompanied by any additional subwoofer.

Its design is, as Sonos always does, simply beautiful. So easy, so simple and so effective. You can choose between black and white, there are no screens, LEDs, physical buttons or anything like that. Touch controls at the top of the bar to control volume, playback and turn the microphone on or off of voice control, and that in my case I have barely touched to check that they worked, because you don’t need them at all.

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On the back we find the connections, and here everything is still as brief as in the rest of the sections. The link button, an Ethernet connector in case you don’t want to use the WiFi connection that it integrates, and an HDMI ARC connector to connect it to the television. This is a section that is controversial for some, who consider that the optical connection is always the best, but the reality is that if you want to enjoy the most advanced Hi-Res Audio you will need HDMI ARC. If your television does not have this type of connection (it would be very strange nowadays) you can always use the adapter that is included for optical audio.

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As for the audio itself, this Sonos Beam has four full-range woofers, a tweeter, and three passive radiators that help the bass, since as we have said there is no additional subwoofer that is included in the box. All these components are specially designed for this sound bar, there are no “recycled” from other brand speakers, and this results in a truly amazing sound if you look at the size of the bar and its price.

Clear and amazing sound

As televisions have become thinner, the quality of the sound they offer us has also become less. Today, If you want to enjoy movies and series in your living room, it is practically mandatory to add a sound system. quality to your TV, and Sonos Beam more than delivers. The quality of its accessories, its construction and a software that perfectly complements the iOS application make its sound surprise you.

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For this it is essential that you configure the TruePlay option correctly, something you do through your iPhone moving around the room while the bar emits sounds of different frequencies. You will get the sound to be very similar to an authentic «Surround», much higher than what other bars with similar prices offer you. The application also offers you the possibility to improve the dialogues, or to reduce the loud sounds at night, so that you don’t disturb the children or the neighbors. Of course, everything is handled from the application for iOS.

And we can not forget that it is a speaker to listen to music, and for this the Sonos application integrates the main music services, including Spotify and Apple Music, to enjoy our favorite albums, playlists and artists from an application, let’s use the music service we use, or even if we use various. If as a sound bar for television it passes with a note, as speakers for music I would say that it is surpassed. After having tried two paired Sonos Ones, a Play:3 and a Play:5, I would say that the sound is very similar to what we can get with the Sonos One pair or with the Play:3.

AirPlay 2 speaker

The Sonos Beam could simply be a sound bar, and for that price it could even compete with other models on the market that are similar in price and features. But it doesn’t stop here, it would be a shame to waste all the speaker’s technology and software, and that’s why Sonos wants us to use it as an AirPlay 2 speaker too. That means that any audio content that we play on our iOS or macOS device can be sent to the Sonos Beam speaker in the same way that we do with other brand speakers.

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AirPlay 2 includes, in addition to the possibility of sending audio from our device, other very interesting features: compatibility with Siri and MultiRoom. The first means that from our iPhone or iPad we can invoke Siri and play music on the speaker, using only our voice. Shortcuts also allows us to add different applications to Apple Music. It’s not like having a HomePod, but it’s as close as we can get without having the Apple speaker. MultiRoom allows us to control the playback of several speakers at the same time, listening to the same content in all of them, or different in each of them. It’s something that Sonos includes with its app on its speakers, but AirPlay 2 extends it to all compatible speakers, no matter what brand they are.

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Intelligence with Amazon Alexa

We continue to add features, and leave one of the most interesting for many for last: the Sonos Beam is a smart speaker thanks to Amazon Alexa. You will be able to activate the Amazon virtual assistant in your Beam, and that will open up a world of possibilities, since thanks to the microphones that the speaker incorporates you can take advantage of the smart features of any Amazon Echo without having to buy a different speaker. Listen to the news of the day, music (Apple Music will be integrated soon), your favorite podcasts, cooking recipes, radio stations, the weather, upcoming appointments on your calendar…

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If at any time you do not want Alexa to be aware of what you are saying, you can touch the button dedicated to the assistant on the top of the speaker, and the LED turns off indiIt will appear that the «Smart» functions are deactivated and the loudspeaker is not listening. You will be able to control compatible home automation accessories, such as Philips or LIFX, and soon Koogeek with your voice, turning lights on and off, changing their intensity and color through vocal instructions and without the need to have your iPhone nearby. On just a few examples of what this Sonos Beam with Alexa has to offer. And Google Assistant is coming soon too.

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Editor’s opinion

With the rise of smart speakers, many users want to use them as home theater systems by placing two units on both sides of the television, despite the fact that most of these speakers are not prepared for it either by connections or equalization of the sound. Sonos Beam comes to solve that problem for us and it also does it in the most complete way possible. A single Sonos Beam will serve you to listen to music in your living room through Apple Music, Spotify or any other service compatible with the Sonos app or through AirPlay 2. You will have the functions of a smart speaker that Amazon Alexa offers you, and it will also be a bar of quality sound to enjoy multimedia content on your TV. A Today it is difficult to find a more complete speaker, much less at this price. This Sonos Beam speaker is available on Amazon for €409 in black (link) and for €423 in white (link)

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