Sonos Beam combines smart speaker and soundbar

Sonos Beam combines smart speaker and soundbar

In fact, the company was practically the inventor of multiroom, and while many have jumped on the bandwagon, it's one of the only brands that has stayed the course, updating old speakers to support new technologies as time has worn on.

On Wednesday, Sonos executives said the market has been flooded with smart speakers at throwaway price points. It's also a key feature introduced in May to Apple's own HomePod speaker.

The Beam includes four custom-built elliptical full-range woofers, a single tweeter, and three passive radiators, which apparently gives it "deep, warm bass" and "superior mid-range performance" if you want to take Sonos' word for it. And like the Sonos One, its pretty agnostic when it comes to services. Additionally, Sonos intends to add support for additional voice assistants as they become available, which means the Google Assistant should eventually come to Beam - whenever Sonos decides to add that support.

Sonos says the Beam will support Alexa in the UK, US, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and soon in France.

Sonos have finally announced a soundbar that does have a HDMI, the Sonos Beam. That means you don't really have the choose a team - supporting the big players in voice control means that Sonos can essentially appeal to all customers.

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That makes it an obvious follow-up to the likes of the Sonos Playbar and the Sonos Playbase which were the company's previous living room efforts. It makes a great-sounding speaker much smarter. Launched back in late May, AirPlay 2 saw Apple expand its streaming system from its own hardware, allowing third-party speakers to be linked in multi-room configurations and remotely controlled, en-masse, from an iOS or macOS device. The company pioneered multiroom sound but systems like Airplay 2 as well as voice assistants are existential threats.

It's best to think of the Sonos Beam as a beginner's soundbar - one that has some of the luxuries you'd expect in higher-class models but may not be as powerful as the 5.1 or 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbars we've seen from Sony, Samsung and LG.

Coming in Sonos's familiar white or black, the Beam is comfortably cheaper than the £700 Playbase coming in at £399, so it sits between the Play 3 and Play 5 cost-wise.

What's neat is that even when using the speaker this way, you can still use Alexa to control it, such as playing, pausing and changing volume. The smart sound bar is now available for pre-order for an MSRP of $399.

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