SONOS BEAM GEN 2 Review Soundbar upgrade with Dolby Atmos

 The Sonos Beam is one of the more compact soundbars on the market and it was already able to convince us in its earlier version. With the Sonos Beam Gen 2 there is now a new version that brings one thing above all: Dolby Atmos support, paired with a few minor general overhauls. Is the Sonos Beam still at the forefront for its at least $499 or is it slowly starting to weaken?

It doesn't always have to be a giant soundbar. In the meantime, even more compact models have found their place under the telly and can certainly convince with a crisp sound. The Sonos Beam has been in this category for a long time and has now received an upgrade with the Gen 2 that should please both gamers and movie buffs, because Dolby Atmos is spreading more and more in both genres. But more on that later, let's start with the optics.

The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is available in black or white as usual. Hardly anything has changed in terms of the basic dimensions. With 69 x 651 x 100 mm and a weight of 2.8 kg, the soundbar is designed to be quite space-saving. Wall mounting is of course possible. Sonos offers appropriate solutions for this in its own store, which, however, have to be purchased separately and cost additional money. Otherwise it is noticeable that the former fabric cover has given way to perforated metal.

SONOS BEAM GEN 2 Review Soundbar upgrade with Dolby Atmos

Little has changed in the connection options. As usual, there is an HDMI port, which has now been upgraded to eARC so that Atmos soundtracks can be transmitted. Attention: your TV must of course also support eARC, which is more the case with the newer models from this and last year.

There is again no loop-through option with an HDMI output, the soundbar must be connected directly to the telly. After all, this eliminates the need to pay attention to image resolutions, HDR and refresh rates. Optionally, connection via optical cable using the adapter provided is possible, but then without 3D sound. Speaking of which, included: in addition to the adapter, there is also an HDMI cable, which is not a matter of course.

Otherwise, WiFi is available in the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz range along with a LAN 10/100 port, BlueTooth is not offered and no other physical audio sources are available. That doesn't sound like much and it might not be enough for everyone, but it fully corresponds to the concept as a TV soundbar with wireless connectivity, also as the center of a smart home system. Smartphones and tablets as streaming devices can be operated without any problems, as can domestic media servers that are integrated into the home network.

As usual, the setup is quick and easy via the app. The free Sonos app for iOS or Android recognizes the soundbar quickly and easily, and it also guides you through the remaining steps. You should only have your WiFi password to hand. With the iOS app you still have a small bonus, because you can also use Trueplay tuning to adapt your beam to the spatial conditions. You will be chased across the booth with your smartphone and the app uses test tones to determine the optimal settings for your soundbar. It is definitely worth it.


The Sonos app also offers you the option of integrating other Sonos speakers and, above all, setting up a number of streaming services, with classic representatives such as Spotify, Tidal or Amazon Music being included in the package, of course. Apart from that, you can also use Apple AirPlay 2 on iOS devices and voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant is also supported thanks to the microphones integrated in the soundbar. There is also a small equalizer and settings such as night mode or voice highlighting.

There are also touch control panels directly on the top of the soundbar for media control and for switching off the Raumfeld microphones for speech recognition. Otherwise, thanks to the eARC channel, it can also be operated using the remote control of your telly. This is all super simple and can be done quickly after a very short time to get used to it - you basically can't go wrong.

At first glance, the interior of the soundbar shows only a few changes. A centrally positioned tweeter and four mid-range speakers are each powered by a class D amplifier. Two of the midrange speakers radiate sideways to create a broad sound. The 220W package is supplemented by three passive spotlights for the low tones. However, the processor is new. If all of this is still not enough for you, you can easily add wireless rear speakers or a subwoofer. These expansion options are extremely practical, even in the event of a possible move, for example to an apartment with larger rooms.

The beam has been given more power so that the surround sound tracks are processed properly. The new quad-core with 1.4 GHz is said to be around 40 percent more powerful than its predecessor. The number of supported audio formats has grown considerably with the power-up: Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos (Dolby Digital Plus), Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos (True HD), Multichannel PCM and Dolby Multichannel PCM are not exactly a little.


In operation, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 impresses as usual with its clear and balanced sound, which can cover everything from music to films to video games extremely satisfactorily. As expected, the bass doesn't exactly blow your ears back, but given the size of the soundbar, it still sounds surprisingly powerful and dynamic. We also really like the wide sound and the good stereo effect when listening to music thanks to the mid-range speakers radiating from the side. The intelligibility of speech in films and dialog-heavy games is simply a poem.

The surprise is even greater when using Dolby Atmos. Despite the purely horizontal radiation, the rather small soundbar creates a surprisingly three-dimensional sound image that even allows a decent amount of directional perception. The more powerful processor, in conjunction with the well-aligned speakers, does a pretty good job of generating a sound that is remarkably good for a soundbar.

However, anyone who believes that the Sonos Beam Gen 2 can fill half a sports hall with sound is of course wrong. The Beam is ideal for small to medium-sized rooms, up to a size of 20 m². In addition, it then becomes a little thin and the intrinsically good surround sound and the bass are increasingly lost. For larger rooms, rear speakers and a subwoofer would be recommended, or the Sonos Arc, the larger soundbar alternative.


Strong soundbar for smaller rooms

It is no surprise that Sonos is once again delivering a powerful soundbar after its already very good predecessor. Admittedly, so much has not changed (and why should I), but the astonishingly well implemented Dolby Atmos support is a more than welcome addition, especially since more and more TV sets support this feature. The operation and setup is as simple as usual, the sound is just as broad, full and balanced as usual. There is absolutely nothing to complain about in terms of workmanship.

$499  is no big deal for a soundbar of this size, but anyone who has to fill a small to medium-sized room with sound cannot avoid considering the Sonos Beam Gen 2. Possibly even in order to expand it further in the future, which is no problem with the smart Sonos system. However, if you already have a Beam in the living room, you don't necessarily have to access it. Apart from Dolby Atmos, eARC and a stronger CPU, the innovations are kept within a manageable range.


  • wide and balanced sound
  • surprisingly good Dolby Atmos implementation
  • simple setup
  • eARC support
  • successful app
  • easy handling
  • high quality


  • only one audio input with no passthrough option
  • no BlueTooth

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