Sonos Beam review: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay walk into a sound bar

It’s been two years, but Sonos Beam ($ 299 on Amazon), And its younger brother Sonos One ($ 199 on audio advice), Are the first speakers to offer both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. If you are Google is waiting for integration To buy this speaker, then go ahead, it works!

Although it is more expensive than most sound bars, the compact beam is much more affordable than the company’s larger Playbar or Playbase Speakers. It looks great, it sounds big and it is more flexible than any other sound bar available today.

Despite its new sound, Beam still faces competition from Polk Command Bar ($ 249) – which sounds better, thanks to the wireless sub – and the Bose Soundbar 500 ($ 549) which Google provides both Assistant and Alexa. The Sonos speaker beats both for full home audio playback. This is a great option for those who already have a Sonos at home and want more, or Sonos Newboxes who want a slick sound bar that works with multiple voice and music systems.

Google vs Amazon

Alexa to google

Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury / ClearTips

The beam acts like any other voice-controlled speaker (much less loudly) Amazon Echo or Google Home. You can ask it for time, request tunes by name or do blind work, and a voice command can also change the volume on the beam. The speaker has a five-microphone array designed to take your voice even in noisy home theater environments, and has worked well in my tests.

Beam now comes with the choice of either Amazon’s Alexa Assistant or Google Assistant, although the sad thing is that you can’t choose between them on the fly. In other words, it will not respond to the “Alexa” command first and then the “Hey Google” command immediately after.

When you download the latest Sonos update, it will ask you to choose which voice assistant you want. You will need to make sure that you have Google Home and Amazon Alexa apps, but if you don’t, the process will help you install them.

To change between the two assistants you have to run setup again. This is not an elegant Amazon / Google toggle switch.

Once setup, I found that Google Assistant doesn’t quite work with Amazon Alexa in general use. I experienced an interval of five or more seconds before Google responded to my command.

Secondly, and this is more subjective, Google Assistant on Beam misheard me more than once Google Home Mini. For example, the query “Who is Danny Meyer?” (Convener) “Who is Jeremiah? (Prophet).

In response to your next question, yes, you can have Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant speakers in the same system – even the same room. But there are Caviots.

There was a small problem when starting the radio on Alexa (which Amazon music defaults to): I cannot transfer music to Sonos Google speakers because it does not support Amazon. Sonos can speak for both services through the app, but Amazon and Google are still on uncomfortable terms when it comes to their voice assistants.

While Google supports most features including Assistant Continuous conversation, It will not do the following yet: Calling, Voice Match, Shopping, Interpreter Mode and Settings Routines in Google Home App.

The design

Beam’s wrap-around cloth grille – a material commonly associated with the company’s UltraGrade competition – comes as a surprise on the Sonos product. Nevertheless, the speaker retains the Sonos look with its plastic top and a touch control panel debuting on the One.

Sonos beam

Sara Tew / ClearTips

The bullet-shaped beam is 2–4 inches wide by 2–4 inches high and 3.7 inches deep (45.5 by 651 by 100 mm) smaller than other sound bars. You can get it in either black or white option. Unfortunately, the speaker box does not include a wall bracket, but the company will sell you a beam mount for an additional $ 59.

While most manufacturers include remotes with their sound bars, this is not the case with Sonos. Instead, Beam comes with several alternative methods to control it, starting with the Sonos app for phones and tablets. The comprehensive setup routine lets you use your TV remote as well as the app and your voice with an integrated microphone.

The Sonos app has made many different changes over the years, but the latest version emphasizes music discovery and devices in your home rather than a laundry list of various music services. Given that Sonos is moving towards third party control – such as Connect connect Or AirPlay – it’s a welcome Let’s go. For example, I considered Sonos speakers capable of playing music using Spotify instead of using Sonos speakers.

Sonos beam

Sara Tew / ClearTips

Beamed Sound, TV Control

Sonos has called the 3.0-channel beam “the most advanced sound bar”. Its speakers are designed to bounce (or “beam”) your walls, and include a center channel with two woofers, two more woofers for the left and right channels, and a single tweeter. The unit has two passive bass radiators on the front and one behind it.

The system comes without a wireless subwoofer, although you can add a $ 700 Sonos sub if you want. Sonos sells the two together for $ 1,000 (both separately priced at $ 100) or a “three-room set” that includes a beam and two Sonos Ones for $ 650 ($ 50 off). Two-way can be connected wirelessly with a beam for a rear-channel surround effect while a full “5.1” system (beam, sub and two one) will cost $ 1,350.

Sonos beam

Sara Tew / ClearTips

Combines integrated voice aid with beam HDMI CEC control system, which allows the beam to turn off compatible TVs using your voice. It also lets you use the TV as an HDMI switch. You can plug all your gadgets into your flatscreen and feed the sound bar Dolby Digital 5.1 (though not DTS) sound from your TV Audio Return Channel (ARC)-Akable HDMI port.

Seems right, but what if your TV does not support ARC?

  • Bad News: There is only one audio port on the beam, and it is HDMI. No optical or 3.5mm input.
  • Good News: Sonos bundles an HDMI cable and an HDMI-to-optical cable adapter into the box. So you can connect the optical digital audio output of your TV to the beam.
  • Semi-Bad News: If you use an adapter, the beam cannot control the TV on and off or switching.

Sonos comes with a night mode when you don’t want to disturb the neighbors, except for the convenience of raising the voice. Unlike the Polk Command Bar, Sonos does not offer a music mode – everything is “comprehensive”.

Source link

Related Posts