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Friday, October 22, 2021

Sonos Beam Review: The soundbar for the purists

At the special festive price of Rs 37,399, the Sonos Beam is on the steeper side. But the audio quality is so good that you will not regret buying it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Rs. 37,399
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi |
Updated: October 13, 2021 1:53:03 pm
Sonos Beam, Sonos revoew, soundbar, soundbar review, speaker, Sonos Beam review, Sonos Beam, Sonos Beam price, Sonos Beam audio quality,The latest Sonos soundbar is priced at Rs 37,399 in India. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/ Express image)

Despite its cult following across the world, Sonos is a brand that has not been very popular in India. That could change soon with the kind of focus the company has been showing in the India market of late. And this festival season it is lining up new products with aggressive pricing.

The Sonos Beam soundbar will be among the devices the company uses to endear itself to the Indian audience. The Sonos Beam certainly has the design to stand out, being the most compact TV soundbar I have ever seen. While it is not as long as most soundbars it is a bit on the taller side and you will need to be careful with the placement or you could end up blocking the remote control of the TV.

The Sonos Beam certainly has the design to stand out. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/ Express image)

The Sonos Beam also has a very minimalist design with just a play/pause button flanked by volume controls. The Beam has been designed as a product that you don’t need to switch off or operate physically once set up.

Behind the beam are ports for power, HDMI (Arc) and Ethernet. There is also a button which you have to use in case you want to reset the connections.

On top of the soundbar, there is a mic sign to indicate that you can control the device with voice if needed — using the Sonos app you can set it up with either Alexa or Google Assistant, though both services don’t seem to be available in India at the moment.

The Sonos app takes care of all your needs. It sets up the new device to the Wi-Fi, then plugs all your music accounts like Apple Music and Spotify to the speaker, also helps you decide the quality of compression if needed. There is a lot more you can do, but that will be a bit complicated for regular users. For the TV, I just had to use the Arc connect using an HDMI cable to link the devices.

One thing to note is that the Sonos as a company is not very keen on Wi-Fi. There are a few reasons for this, but for music lovers the Bluetooth connectivity can be irritating as it will come with all the sounds on the phone. Wi-Fi on the other hand just beams the music and you can do that literally from anywhere as long as you are on the same network.

The Sonos Beam also has a very minimalist design with just a play/pause button flanked by volume controls. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/ Express image)

So to play music — since I could not set up the voice commands — I was streaming music from Apple Music via the Sonos app, or just using AirPlay direct from the Apple Music app. On the Sonos app, I linked my Spotify and Audible too. And this is the better option because nothing interrupts the music.

Now let’s come to the music, the best part of this device. Sonos has always had a very different and unique audio profile that has endeared it to millions of users. The Sonos Beam carries forward this legacy with a clear, natural high-fidelity audio signature that’s very enjoyable.

There is no profusion of bass here. The vocals cut through the room in an almost ethereal whiff. The Beam is like the perfect speaker for a Jagjit Singh or to get my weekly fix of Rabindra Sangeet. Even when a more contemporary Prateek Kuhad is playing the beam is a pleasure for the ears, and your mind. But then the Beam is versatile and the switch from Shubha Mudgal’s Itne Kareeb to Doja Cat’s Woman is seamless. For the Beam everything is just another song, because it does the basics so well. Nothing intimidates this small bar of music.

You will need to be careful with the placement of the soundbar or you could end up blocking the remote control of the TV. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/ Express image)

As the TV soundbar, the Beam can be room-filling. And the fact that it has a very clear audio profile means you hear every dialogue so well and don’t really need the subtitles to get the better of the 5W speaker on your telly.

At the special festive price of Rs 37,399, the Sonos Beam is on the steeper side. But the audio quality is so good that you will not regret it one bit if you love your music as much as me. In fact, I’m already making plans to buy this one. The Beam serves music just the way I like it, pure, punchy and precise.

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