Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Sonos Beam hands on review

Sonos introduces ‘Beam’ sound bar with AirPlay 2, Siri and Alexa control Sonos Beam is a smart soundbar with HDMI and AirPlay 2
Katie Ramirez | 07 June, 2018, 03:26

And, with a single supported speaker, AirPlay content can be streamed to other Sonos speakers in the system.

"In a smart speaker category increasingly filled with tech clutter, poor audio quality and ulterior motives, Beam is the best example yet of what makes Sonos different", said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence.

The Sonos Beam is a smart sound bar and it comes with Amazon's Alexa built in, which allows users to control the device using their voice.

This FCC filing sketch was the first we saw of Sonos' latest simultaneous assault on the music, home cinema and smart AI markets. Sonos previously announced that the Sonos One, Play:5 and Playbase would be the only exisiting speakers to receive support for AirPlay 2, meaning customers who purchased the original Playbar would miss out. It can even amplify quiet dialogue automatically.

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.

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By aiming to support everything that comes along, Sonos is banking on the Beam being a device that appeals to those who are hesitant about buying into voice control. It integrates with Apple's digital-assistant Siri on the Apple devices themselves, rather than on the speaker like Alexa as well as Google Assistant in the future. So, don't expect it to match up to a Play:5 or Playbase for audio performance but you can complement it with a Sonos Sub for more bass, or some Sonos Ones for surround sound.

The Beam - $399 when it goes on sale later this year - will support Siri, via your Apple device, and Amazon's Alexa is built-in.

Sonos Beam connects to your TV using an HDMI cable, and thanks to a technology called "Audio Return Channel" that was added to the HDMI standard in 2009, the Beam instantly picks up all the audio coming from your TV and outputs without any special setup required on your end.

The Sonos Beam isn't a replacement for the company's soundbar, as previously rumoured, it's something altogether new.

The Sonos Beam is available for pre-order today and ships July 17. And to demonstrate how they'll all work together, Sonos's VP of software, Antoine Leblond, gave a pretty cool demo by asking Siri to play a song and then asking Alexa what song was playing...and it worked.

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