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Sonos Beam hands on review

07 June, 2018, 03:23 | Author: Tara Roberts
  • Enlarge Image The speaker features several drivers. No there won't be a translucent version of it.                  Screenshot by David Carnoy  CNET

Most importantly, like the Play:1, Sonos Beam may be entry-level, but it's good.

The Sonos Beam is designed for three-channels, but it can almost make those three channels sound like true surround sound thanks to Trueplay - a software feature that calibrates the sound to the room.

What it lacks in power and up-firing speakers, though, the Beam makes up with some smart software - like Trueplay that helps calibrate the speaker to your unique room - and smart drivers that work together to deliver solid three-channel sound.

As well as announcing the new Sonos Beam the USA company has also revealed AirPlay 2 will be available on its products from July via a free software update. Sonos says support for Google's Assistant will come later but didn't say how much later.

The new smart TV soundbar with five far-field microphones will be priced at $499 in Canada and is made for small to medium size rooms, powered by four full-range woofers, one tweeter and five Class-D digital amplifiers. This allows you to send digital audio to your speaker, but it also allows your speaker to control your TV via another specification called HDMI CEC. The Beam comes enabled with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant out of the box.

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Also, it looks like Sonos is right at (smart) home making other speakers look ridiculous in its ads.

Using Apple's AirPlay2 system, Sonos will connect devices with music apps, its own Sonos app, and other apps to its speakers, including the new Beam. Although you can pair it with the Sonos Sub for even more oomph. "We believe we've created the best, most versatile, smart speaker in the world".

Coming in Sonos's familiar white or black, the Beam is comfortably cheaper than the £700 Playbase coming in at £399, so it sits between the Play 3 and Play 5 cost-wise. For older TVs that may not have an HDMI port, or for people who don't want to use one of their TV's precious HDMI ports on a soundbar, Sonos will also ship with an optical to HDMI adapter with the speaker.

The sound bar also offers support for Apple's recently introduced AirPlay 2 audio streaming protocol and control with Siri. Ask Siri to play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos.

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