Sonos Beam (Gen 1) review: Finally! A soundbar that looks as good as it sounds

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The Beam is a brilliant to-go soundbar for those with smaller rooms, thanks to its compact size. Measuring just 25.63-inches (651 mm) across, the Sonos Beam will look brilliant under all televisions.

That’s not the case with the likes of the Sonos Arc and Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3, which are designed to create a surround sound-like experience from a single speaker and, as a result, measure almost twice the length of the Beam. For those who own a larger telly, this might be an option …but for everyone else, Sonos Beam is the best choice.

Alexa and Google Assistant are both included in the first-generation Sonos Beam too, so you’ll be able to request songs, playlists, albums, podcasts, audiobooks and live radio stations with your voice. With both chatty AI assistants included out-of-the-box, Beam (Gen 1) will work with any brand of video doorbells, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats, and other smart home gadgets.

And of course, if you already own other Sonos speakers (or any audio equipment with Apple AirPlay 2) you will be able to use the Beam (Gen 1) to synchronise playback of songs across multiple speakers or in multiple rooms. The brilliant Sonos app (available on both iOS and Android) brings together dozens of music streaming platforms, audiobooks, and radio stations.

Connecting to a telly is simple, thanks to the inclusion of both Optical and HDMI Arc. The latter provides a much better experience, allowing you to control volume instantly without any laborious pairing processes. However, since there’s no passthrough HDMI port on the Sonos Beam (Gen 1) ..something that isn’t fixed with its successor, you’ll lose a port at the back of your telly for the privilege of the boosted sound.

While the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is future-proofed with its Dolby Atmos support and more durable design, there’s still a lot to love about the first-generation Sonos Beam. It boasts great sound with plenty of bass (especially for such a compact speaker), a sleek minimalist look in black or white, and an incredibly reasonable price.



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