Devices / Insider / News

Smart Speaker – Sonos Beam

Get ready for more engaging and versatile sound playing as Sonos announced on Wedneday that a brand new smart speaker – called the Beam or Sonos Beam – will be coming to the market and to your homes. This amazing soundbar is similar to the company’s Sonus One speaker’s smart functionality, but with an added feature of being supported by over 80 music services and having full-blown partnerships with both Amazon Alexa and Apple. Talk about a really smart speaker!

Sonos is an American consumer electronics company founded by John MacFarlane, Tom Cullen, Craig Shelburne and Trung Mai on 2002. They are based in Santa Barbara, California and are best known for developing and manufacturing their one of a kind smart speakers.

It’s been almost five years since Sonos released their first original Playbar, so it’s about time to for them to release a brand new, updated device we can use. The popular audio developer and manufacturer declared the Beam at an event in San Francisco, California. They will begin shipping on July 17 at $399 with pre orders for the Beam beginning on the Sonos website starting on Wednesday. The Sonos Beam can be controlled via Siri on your iOS devices and has five far-field microphones to double as an Amazon Echo. Even though the Beam is like a follow up to the currently existing Sonos Playbar and Playbase soundbars, the company said it’s different because it costs less, and measure smaller than the original Sonos soundbars. The Beam measures 25.6 inches long, in comparison to the Playbase’s 28.3 inches and the Playbar’s 35.4 inches. It can easily fit under any television set available that larger than 30 inches. In that small package, the device has four woofers and one tweeter.

In usage, the Sonos Beam sounds a less loud than the Sonos Playbar and Playbase. Although the sound and audio quality is pretty much the same, it still does not have the hefty base that the two original speakers can give out.

The design aesthetic of the Beam has the sort of minimalist take which is evident in the devices Sonos manufactures. The apparent design features of the Beam are rounded edges, some external markings, and a fabric coating that runs around the device’s length. Customers can choose between a black or white finish and the company also said that the Sonos Beam will be mountable to a wall. There are touch controls at the top of the device that can adjust the volume, pause, mute internal microphones, and change tracks, – controls like the setup of the Sonos One. Here are the complete specs of the Sonos Beam;

  • Five Class-D Digital Amplifiers tuned perfectly to match the acoustic architecture and speaker drivers.
  • Bass and Treble Controls that is adjustable for customization of sound by individual room or groups of room.
  • Three passive radiators help move air all around the Sonos Beam. It also adds a warm sound to the bass.
  • One tweeter for creating a clear and audible dialogue.
  • Four full range woofers ensuring the playback fidelity of vocal frequencies.
  • An HDMI ARC for connecting your TV’s HDMI ARC input.
  • Top panel features for controlling volume (up and down), play, pause, previous and nex track. An LED also indicates the device’s status, mute status, and voice feedback.

 

The Sonos Beam is AirPlay compatible that works with Apple devices, iOS 11.4 and higher. It can also connect to the home Wi-Fi network with any router capable of broadcast for wireless streaming. Moreover, the Sonos Beam has a built in speaker specifically used for talking to the television controlling it by using the HDMI Arc. The HDMI Arc is a technology that comes in the standard TV sets now that allows the speaker to not only take sound from the TV but also talk back to it. It also has instructions in turning the TV on and adjusting volume by using the same technology. However, the HDMI port is the only port the Sonos Beam has. And knowing that not all television sets support that kind of technology yet, the company added in an adapter into the box to ensure that it will work with other optical ports as well.

Although the Sonos Beam is made for television sets specifically, it is still focused on giving the best listening experience for audio which the company strives to do. The sound is just as clear and crisp when listening to audios and when watching videos.

Amazon Alexa on Sonos Beam

One highlight of the device is its partnership with Amazon Alexa. This digital assistance makes the Sonos Beam capable of doing all the smart speaker functions like answering general knowledge questions, and starting up music streaming. The company also said that the device is also able to control video streaming devices which are Alexa-enabled, using voice commands to hop from one certain application, much like the Amazon Fire TV. Another thing promised by the company is the support of Google Assistant alongside with Alexa, but the company wasn’t really keen on giving specific on when that might arrive. When asked about the Google Assitant, the company only said that they are “deep into working” on it and can be expected to happen some time in 2018.

 

AirPlay 2 Support

Another feature of the Sonos Beam is the AirPlay support which allows users to send an audio from an iPhone to the Beam. It will also allow them to control and connect the device to Siri and and use it to play tracks on Apple music as well. Overall, the Sonos Beam seems more focused on the quality of the audio more than the device’s smart features. We are expecting it to lack the power similar to the Playbar because of its smaller size and stature, but it’s not the right time to say this given that we have not used the device yet. Guess we just have to wait and see!

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