Something to look forward to: Sonos has proven audio quality for home users and is updating its lineup to include a new soundbar. Amazon Alexa will be supported out of the box, but other voice assistants will be added over time with the ability to switch between assistants at will.
Sonos created a niche for itself in high-end home theater sound but has been steadily working its way into smart speakers. The Sonos Beam is the next addition to its lineup of home theater speakers.
Beam is designed to provide quality audio with rich detail for your TV and when listening to music. The experience is meant to be simple and straight forward. Control of the smart speaker can be done through a native Sonos app or through third-party streaming apps such as Spotify, Pandora, Audible, and Tidal. In total, over 80 different music streaming services are supported by the Beam.
For Apple users, AirPlay 2 support is arriving in July via a free software update. Sonos One, Playbase, and second generation Play:5 speakers will also be receiving AirPlay 2.
For the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, Amazon Alexa is enabled as the default voice assistant. France will also soon be included for Alexa support. One of the more interesting features is that other voice assistants will be added in the future.
Although Sonos has not named which additional assistants will be added, it would be a complete faux pas to exclude Google Assistant. Knowing how Apple operates, it is extremely unlikely for Siri to even be considered for a non-iOS device, especially given that the HomePod is a competing product.
The Beam itself measures in at 25.6 inches long and is easily mounted underneath a TV or can be placed on a credenza. Five far-field microphones listen for any echo in the room and attempt to cancel the unwanted reflections.
Ethernet, power, and HDMI-ARC ports are found on the Beam. Should your existing TV not have an HDMI-ARC input, an optical audio adapter is included.
Arriving at $399 and shipping on July 17, the Sonos Beam could make a nice addition for owners of existing Sonos gear since Beam integrates seamlessly into multi-room configurations. The Sonos Beam is available for pre-order now.