If you're looking for an immersive, cinema experience at an ultra-affordable price, the Sonos Beam could be the bargain for you. This What Hi-Fi? 2020 Award winner has now been surpassed by the Beam 2, but it's still a great buy thanks to its "exceptionally good" sound and the ability to double up as multi-room speaker.
We reviewed the Sonos Beam at £399 ($399, AU$599) but thanks to the seasonal sales and the arrival of its predecessor, you should be able to find a cheaper deal below.
The five-star Sonos Beam is smaller and cheaper than Sonos' Playbar and Playbase TV speakers, yet offers the same array of streaming and multi-room features, plus the crucial upgrades of voice control and HDMI ARC.
The speaker itself is small, light and will fit in front of most TVs. There are sleek touch controls on the top, as well as support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, plus some Apple Siri commands using an iPhone or iPad.
More importantly, sound quality is superb. Inside, four full-range drivers, one tweeter, three passive radiators and five class-D amplifiers team up to produce a sound that is rich in width, depth and three-dimensionality.
It's also worth noting that the Beam plays nice with other Sonos products, meaning you can easily expand your purchase into a multi-room audio system with the addition of, say, a few Sonos One SL wireless speakers.
The Beam can play music from the likes of Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play and Deezer, as well as your smartphone or network-connected hard drives. And thanks to Sonos' S2 app, there's support for 24-bit, high-res audio.
Sonos has also launched its first Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar, the Sonos Arc (£799, $799, AU$1399). Do you need to need to spend another £400+ on the extremely impressive Arc? No. The Sound of the Beam smashes expectations and should meet most people's needs perfectly. Of course, if your budget allows, we'd also suggest considering the new Beam 2.
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