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Sonos Soundbar Beam Review – The New Gen 2

Sonos Soundbar Beam Review

sonos soundbar beam review

Boasting several new features, some visible and some internal, I felt it was necessary to create a Sonos soundbar beam review to help you identify what’s new and exciting with this product. As with most of their products, Sonos has produced a second generation of their original 2018 Beam soundbar.

The new Sonos Beam releases in September 2021 and is ready for purchase after October 5th, almost 3 years after the original 2018 Beam soundbar release. This second generation soundbar may look the same but don’t let that fool you, Sonos has upgraded a lot of its sound capabilities and design to support you in an even better listening experience. Granted, you’ll have to be ready to spend a pretty penny. If you’re willing, Sonos is a hard brand not to up sell, as most their speakers are top quality compared with their competitors.

In my Sonos soundbar beam review I’l speak to what remained the same between the two bars, what Sonos enhanced with their second generation version, and some comments on whether you may need an upgrade!

I hope my Sonos soundbar beam review helps you understand the new second generation a bit better.

What Is Similar Between The Two Bars?

Honestly, the differences from their generation one to their generation two isn’t as extreme as you may think. Obviously 3 years is a long time for technology, and there’s usually quiet an upgrade to devices after several years.

Both the gen 1 and gen 2 still maintain the same speaker setup. This consists of five digital amplifiers, one tweeter, four elliptical midwoofers, and three passive radiators.

Their colors options remain the same, either black or white and both sound bars measure up the same at 651 x 100 x 69 mm, weighing just under 3 kg.

The interactive touch controls along the top also has not changed, although the sequence that they are displayed in is slightly different.

Both devices still accommodate either the Google Smart Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and support Airplay 2.

What Has Enhanced The Gen 2?

So, what’s the difference?

Speed!

Sonos has upgraded the HDMI ARC to a HDMI eARC, meaning the device has more speed and bandwidth to work with. The result of this is your audio format enhances and you get even clearer sounds.

The second generation Beam supports a 40% faster processor and 2 additional software arrays to facilitate audio playback more effectively.

Dolby Atmos

You’ve heard it more and more in a lot of soundbars, and it’s becoming a norm in most high-end speakers. Dolby Atmos is the biggest and most up-to-date upgrade seen between the 1st gen and 2nd gen Beam.sonos soundbar beam review

Dolby Atmos maps sound in space for a 3D effect while watching TV or a movie. When you’re experiencing planes flying above you, or shooting coming from the sides of you, this is the Dolby Atmos working away. Boasting a 5 speaker array instead of the 1st gen 3 speaker array allows 2 speakers to dedicate energy towards surround and height, and 3 other speakers distinguishing time and frequency-based psychacoustics. These two differences allow you to hear at ear level, as well as overhead. Like in the picture, Dolby Atmos supports sound from all around the room, and uses the room dimensions to achieve this.

You can imagine how this would enhance any listening experience.

Material

Physically, the biggest difference between the two is the material.

The new Beam uses perforated plastic instead of the fabric used on the classic Beam. As the years go on, the plastic will last better and the fabric can be hard to clean if something splashes on it.

Price Difference

Unfortunately with upgrade to a second generation, as well as an increase in your Dolby sound experience, you will see just over $100 difference between the two. Although this isn’t a huge difference, it can be a lot if you’re happy with your Beam now.

My Verdict

My official verdict is… if you’re happy with your Beam now, just keep it. If you’re planning on purchasing another Beam already for a different room, then get the Generation 2. Put the generation 1 in a room you don’t watch your movies and favorite television shows because you’ll want the enhanced Dolby Atmos experience and sound quality.

I do like the change in material, as I have too often had to wipe or clean things off my sound bar with the fabric design and it’s painful.

Dolby Atmos is the biggest difference, and would be the only reason for someone to change out a perfectly good 1st generation bar.

I hope my Sonos soundbar Beam review has helped you understand the new difference!

Until next time,

-B

6 Comments

  • Aly

    My home still uses our first generation of SONOS Soundsystem, and we absolutely love the speakers and system even after years of use! That said, I can’t help but follow SONOS to see what they are building next and how they improve upon things that were already so well-built to begin with. Do you know if I purchased this new soundbar, would it integrate with my older SONOS products or would I need to have 2 systems for older speakers and new speakers?

    • Brooke

      Hey Aly!

      I appreciate your comment! Sonos is by far my favorite speaker brand out there, and although it costs a pretty penny, I haven’t regretted a single Sonos product I’ve invested in.

      Here’s the great thing about Sonos Aly, if you upgrade one piece of tech, you don’t need to upgrade your whole system. The Sonos products all connect together regardless of generation, and they do it fairly seamlessly. 

      I plan in the next few years to slowly start to upgrade a few of my Sonos products, and I am so glad I don’t have to worry about doing it al at once!

      Talk soon,

      B

  • nelsonpriest

    Pretty detailed review, I like it. Personally I’m looking forward to the release of the second gen sonos soundbar beam. I used the first gen for a couple of months but unfortunately something happened to it but from then I didn’t buy another one. Now that you’ve put a review about the second one  I can’t help but be thrilled. Thanks for re-kindling the fire inside me.

    • Brooke

      Good Morning!

      Oh man! I hope you contacted Sonos to see if they can replace it! These are way too expensive to have breaking on you. I am so sorry that happened.

      Even though the only biggest difference will be the Dolby Atmos, I think the sound coming from such a small soundbar will be incredible and I trust anyone that invests won’t regret it!

      Thanks for the comment! Talk soon 🙂

      -B

  • Cogito

    Thank you for very interesting article. I was just looking for soundbar to my home cinema, but to be fair its not easy to choose with so many options on market, But looking on your review Beam product is interesting option. It has Dolby Atmos, I like the design and price is really reasonable. Looking forward to test it in practice.

    • Brooke

      Hello!

      Yeah the new Beam is pretty cool. Although the only upgrade within the Gen 2 is the Doby Atmos, this seems to be a win for a lot of people out there.

      Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

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