As predicted, Sonos has announced a new smart soundbar, called the Sonos Beam, the company‚Äôs (incredibly compact) attempt to take over your living room.
Sonos said it thinks the living room has been largely ignored in the quest to fill our homes with smart speakers, which is why the Beam comes with integrated voice control. That means Alexa out the door, and Google Assistant when it arrives on the Sonos platform later this year.
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Ok, let‚Äôs talk specs. The Beam has a single tweeter in the middle and three passive radiators, as well as four full-range woofers. There‚Äôs also a five-mic array for voice control, which will hopefully make it easy for Alexa to hear us from a distance and over whatever blockbuster is blasting through the speakers.
The Beam will not only offer AirPlay 2 support, making it a good home for audio from services like YouTube and Netflix in addition to your iPhone-controlled music, but will also come with Sonos' Trueplay sound tuning. There's also speech enhancement to make dialogue sound crystal clear and night mode, which will even out loud and quiet sounds in whatever you're listening to.
With Alexa built in, the Beam will also make it easier to control a Fire TV device, should you have one connected to your TV. You'll be connecting the Beam to your TV's HDMI-Arc port, which will allow your smart TV's apps to shoot sound to the Beam. This will also let you use your original remote on the Beam, as it doesn't come with its own.
Sonos will keep the Playbase and Playbar around, too, but the Beam is both significantly cheaper and smaller, plus it comes with that sweet Alexa support. As mentioned, it's pretty diddy. Sonos says it measures 60% smaller and 28% shorter than the Playbase, but promises it'll pack a sonic punch.
The other big pull is Sonos' support for the gamut of streaming services. CEO Patrick Spence said Sonos is committed to being "fiercely open" in regards to assistants and music platforms.
The Beam will cost $399 and be available in white and black models on 17 July.