Review: Sonos Beam Gen 2 – Improved Sound While Staying Compact

Sound-bars are an incredible invention throughout this generation and Sonos has been a front runner for years. So where does a 3 ft, second generation Sonos BEAM fit into your life? What kind of entertainment setup will benefit from what this sound-bar has to offer? Let’s dive in and find out the type of sound we can expect from this small, solid powerhouse!

First Impressions

When looking at this small and compact 3 foot speaker, you tend to ask yourself, can this really produce the sound quality we’ve come to expect from Sonos? There is no remote in the box, so everything about the setup procedure is through the official Sonos app for both IOS and Android. Setup is actually very intuitive and easy. The visual instructions on the app show where to place the back of your phone on the Beam to quickly connect without needing to add any numbers, QR codes or texts. Just swipe your phone over the visual section shown in the app, and the Beam connects like magic. After you’re connected through the app, you’ll be finished with the basic setup and can start listening. The next step is not crucial, but if you want the best overall experience with the Sonos Beam, you’ll want to follow the advanced instructions. This includes walking around the room with your phone held up allowing the app to configure the current location. This extra step doesn’t take long at all and makes for a much better overall experience.

Visually, the SONOS Beam Gen 2 has the same design as the original model that came out in 2018. You can purchase the SONOS Beam Gen 2 in either white or black. It has a premium, plastic build that looks very stylish and matches any home or office decor. The speaker grill wraps around the edge of the bar, which conceals the speakers inside, keeping the entire sound-bar looking crisp and clean. Users can connect the Beam to their TV through the HDMI Arc connection or they can use the included HDMI to optical adapter to connect to any device with an optical output.

Stand Alone Expectations

It’s amazing how far technology has come with sound. Virtual surround sound may not give the same user experience of having two or three extra speakers in one room, however it does an outstanding job at replicating the same sound sensations. The Sonos BEAM Gen 2 sound-bar uses its front firing and side firing drivers to make it seem like sound is bouncing all around you. This is done by the way Sonos engineered the speakers and the enhanced technology found inside it. It has the standard 5.0 setup which means it has a left, right and center channel, as well as left and right surrounds. The magic that creates the environmental surround sound is found inside the official app. It’s called Trueplay. Trueplay uses the configuration of the room (which was saved previously during the advanced setup) to map out the acoustics and drive the best sounds to your prime listening area. The one unfortunate drawback as of the time of this review, is that this feature is only available for IOS users. For now, Android devices cannot use the Trueplay functionality until Sonos makes it available for them. HERE is the official download link for the Sonos S2 app.

Bass is something that people either love or hate. Personally, I love bass and the thundering sounds that roll in from movies or video games. If this is something you enjoy as well, you’ll want to plan on purchasing the dedicated Sub woofer from Sonos to enhance your experience. The Sonos BEAM Gen 2 does create some bass, but its small compact design only allows for a limited amount of bass to be produced. Adding the dedicated Sub Woofer definitely enhances the overall experience.

The Sonos BEAM also supports eARC audio format. This is also known as “extended audio return channel” to play sounds coming from your TV back to the sound-bar. So users can expect to have support for higher bandwidth audio, such as Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. In addition, Sonos added support for DTS content in a recent update. This specific Sonos sound-bar does not have HDMI passthrough functionality, so users cannot connect a device to the sound-bar and then pass it through to their TV, which some may not be happy about.

Better Than Expected

The second generation model of the Sonos BEAM is a great little sound-bar that work very well. The question we need to ask ourselves is, will the Sonos BEAM Gen 2 sound-bar be right for my setup? It is a 3 ft, compact design that produces great sound and supports many different formats. It does not come with a dedicated remote, but the app is frequently updated and has built in support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant if you want to control the BEAM with your voice. Users can easily control the BEAMS volume with their regular TV remote, the app, or the built-in touch controls on top of the sound-bar itself. It has touch sense buttons to raise and lower the volume, as well as a play and pause button. There is also a mute button for the microphone. Because of the small form factor of the BEAM Gen 2, users cannot compare this to the larger Sonos models that have bigger speakers and more sound technology inside. This is perfect for someone who is wanting a high quality sound-bar that produces great overall sound, but doesn’t have the room for a huge setup. This could also be the best choice for someone looking to keep a minimalistic configuration for their surround sound needs. The nice thing about this product from Sonos is the ability to purchase other surrounding speakers and the sub woofer at a later time. This allows each user to experience the BEAM alone in their current setup and make that decision if it needs a boost. The Sonos BEAM Gen 2 can be purchased from the official Sonos website HERE and also you can find deals on Amazon for $499.

About Author
Bruce is a seasoned tech reviewer with a passion for exploring the latest gadgets and innovations. With years of experience testing and reviewing technology products, Bruce has become a trusted voice in the tech industry.