The argument for a soundbar vs. home theatre system has been settled at least a couple of years ago. Purists might disagree but the sheer convenience of soundbars has seen them elbow out conventional home theatre systems in many modern homes especially compact apartments where space is always a premium. Soundbars certainly can’t match the surround sound skills of a home theatre system but many premium soundbars have upped their game especially for consumers hooked on to OTT platforms like Netflix. Sonos’ Beam makes a play in this segment, this pitch is mainly centred around its sound credentials.
The Beam is surprisingly compact for a heavy duty soundbar. It’s under 3 kg, easy to cart around the house. There’s no battery back-up, you will need to connect to a power source at all times. This long, capsule-shaped soundbar is just above two feet long and slim enough to fit into your den or living room. We dig the minimalist design (we checked out the black colour option). There are just a couple of physical buttons on top of the soundbar – volume controls, play/pause and a mute microphone. There’s a pairing (or what Sonos likes to call a ‘join’ button) button on the rear along with slots for an HDMI cable, AC power port and an Ethernet port.
Set up is quite effortless. It’s easiest to download the Sonos companion App and then set it up using a Wi-Fi connection. There’s also an HDMI port that allows you to connect with your TV with an HDMI Arc port. The Sonos App is quite intuitive, you can add the music streaming option of your choice via the app. I paired it with an iPhone 12 Pro Max and added Apple Music as my default option. I could access my playlists directly from the Sonos App as long as I was connected on the same Wi-Fi network. Your music doesn’t stop when you receive a voice call on your phone.
While the Wi-Fi connection offers a wider range than Bluetooth, the lack of Bluetooth connectivity is a tad inconvenient especially when you just want to play a track that’s stored on your phone as a media file. I also encountered the occasional disconnection between the soundbar and the phone’s Wi-Fi connection. It’s not just Music streaming services, the Sonos Beam also allows you to connect with digital assistants like Amazon Alexa, if you’d like to use voice based commands. There’s no remote with the unit but you’re good with your TV remote or your smartphone.
This device is knitted with Four full-range woofers that ensure you’ll hear the faithful playback of mid-range vocal frequencies plus deep, rich bass. There’s also a tweeter for crisp and clear dialogue. This is an area where the Sonos Beam really delivers, I was able to pick up sounds and dialogues better than many other soundbars that I’ve checked out recently. The bass gets a boost from three passive radiators. But if you need some serious thump, you might still need to add that extra sub-woofer. The app also offers the convenience to adjust bass and treble controls; you can customise your sound by individual room or groups of rooms.
The Sonos Beam has enough to fill even a large living room for an impromptu house party. It’s easily one of the best soundbars under Rs 50,000 and a great accessory for your flat screen TV or projector.
The Sonos Beam costs Rs 43,999 and comes in black and white colour options