Sonos Beam Gen 2 within the check: Sounds higher than ever, however has an costly catch
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It’s no surprise the Sonos Beam was such a resounding success. First launched in 2019, this TV boosting speaker not only sounds sublime, but is also housed in a compact design that makes it ideal for smaller rooms or for those who don’t want to rock a gigantic soundbar under their TV. Now Sonos hopes to build on this success with the introduction of an improved and more expensive beam. This replacement costs £ 50 more than the original, so is it worth the higher price?
Sonos Beam Gen 2 review
Express.co.uk has tested the Beam Gen 2 and here are our thoughts.
The first thing we need to mention is the new packaging as Sonos is clearly looking to improve its eco certification. Everything in the box is fully recyclable, leaving out all the usual plastic wrap and zip ties that so often end up in the trash. It’s an important change that has been implemented very cleverly – the unboxing experience is almost as exciting as the speaker itself.
Once the beam is connected, things are super easy to set up. All you have to do is hold your phone to the top of the device and Sonos will do the rest using NFC technology. The entire process takes less than five minutes. If you already own a Sonos speaker, the Beam even connects to the same Wi-Fi network used by your existing Sonos kit, so you don’t have to poke around in the settings menu.
The Beam has simple controls on the top of the speaker
Another thing that makes the Beam so nice and easy is the easy connection to the TV via the HDMI ARC connector. This jack is found on most modern televisions and provides an instant connection with sound which is then broadcast as soon as things are plugged in.
We connected our Beam to a relatively modern television, whereby the TV remote control also works immediately with the loudspeaker without having to change any settings. Of course, setup is important, but what really matters is how things sound.
The original beam was really good, but thanks to the Dolby Atmos technology that is now in the new model, things have been made even better.
This update means that the beam can bring a 3D effect to living rooms. When a plane takes off during a movie, the sound follows its flight path and appears as if the plane is zooming over your head.
To create this atmospheric sound, Sonos has also improved the processor in the Beam and added HDMI eARC compatibility for high definition sound. The main advantage of eARC technology is that it can process larger files faster. This allows for much higher quality audio to be sent straight from a television to the soundbar.
The Gen 2 model dispenses with the fabric for a polycarbonate finish
It’s a nice update and the new Beam sounds great, but there wasn’t really anything wrong with the original and we certainly wouldn’t recommend an upgrade for owners of this device. To get the most of it, you should also check that your TV is eARC compliant, as some older modes are unlikely to have this updated port.
If you’ve toyed with the idea of buying a soundbar then you will definitely be impressed with how good this latest compact speaker sounds.
Another plus point of the new Beam is that it is compatible with Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos Music. In this way, music fans can enjoy their favorite tracks even more intensely when they listen to songs through services such as Amazon Music. So that’s what’s going on in the beam, but what about changes to the design?
At first glance, it looks a lot like its predecessor, but there’s a subtle change that aims to keep it looking box-fresh longer.
That’s because the old fabric surface has been abandoned and switched to a polycarbonate grill instead. This not only makes the speaker more robust, but also easier to wipe and keep clean.
Sonos Beam Gen 2 review
Sonos now also delivers the device with a color-matching cable. So if you buy the white model, the power cord is also white … which was not the case with the first generation.
Of course, along with these new features, you also get all of the features that were found in the original model, including Night Sound – which makes it quieter when it gets late – and voice enhancement so you don’t miss a word of the action.
The Beam also has clever Trueplay technology that adapts the sound to the unique acoustics of the room. Alexa and Google Assistant are also integrated so that you can add the Sonos Beam to any existing smart home setup. These chatty AI assistants can order takeaway, control your smart lights, check the weather, and set reminders.
Beam also has support for Apple’s AirPlay 2, which allows you to stream lossless audio files from an iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
Like all of Sonos’ latest smart speakers, all things are controlled from the S2 app, available for iOS, Android, macOS and Windows that will benefit from all of the shiny new tricks the teams at Sonos have to offer.
The new Sonos Beam gets a slightly updated design
This is what the inside of the beam looks like
The Sonos app lets you stream lossless tracks to speakers throughout your home, or play a different album or radio station on each one.
Sonos supports every music service you can think of … plus a few you’ve never heard of. An iTunes library, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, TuneIn radio stations, Sonos radio and much more can be combined into a single playlist of songs.
Well, we can’t finish this review without talking about the elephant in the room and that is the price. Unfortunately, Sonos felt the need to add £ 50 to things, which means you will now have to spend £ 449 to own one.
It’s not a huge leap, but this speaker now feels very expensive. Things are made worse by the fact that you can still buy the original model at a discount at some stores like Richer Sounds, and it sells for just £ 349 – that’s £ 100 less!
Sonos Beam Gen 2 review
Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review: Final Verdict
The original Sonos Beam was great and this new model makes things even better. The sound has been improved, the new polycarbonate grill is easier to clean … all while maintaining the brilliant compact design that makes it so easy to disappear under the TV.
We have no complaints about the Beam Gen 2, although the price is a sticking point. Not only is it £ 50 more expensive than before, but the original can now be selected for £ 100 less.
If you want the best beam in town, buy the 2nd generation. Don’t forget, however, that the original, which is almost identical to this second generation update, can save you quite a bit of money.