Sound bars are a popular addition to any decent home entertainment setup, and Sonos have made a well-deserved name for themselves in that space with their products.
Their latest product is the Sonos Beam Gen 2 – the updated version of the Sonos Beam soundbar – and measures 651mm wide by 100mm deep and 69mm high. It’s available in either white or black – much like the two next-gen consoles you’re likely to be pairing it with, incidentally – and can either sit on the TV unit or be screwed into a wall, depending how you want to set it up.
Despite is small(ish) size, the sound quality from the Beam Gen 2 is excellent – it’s clear, it’s sharp, and it’s loud (if you turn the volume up), and its design manages to be understated and stylish at the same time, so it doesn’t look out of place wherever it is located; I have a black TV and reviewed the white Beam Gen 2 and didn’t find the contrast noticeable at all.
The Beam integrated flawlessly with my Samsung TV, connecting via an HDMI 2.1 eARC port, and once it was set up I could even control it using the TV’s remote (so adjusting volume up or down on the TV remote controlled the soundbar volume).
There are touch controls on the unit itself and they work, but most people aren’t going to want to be getting off the couch or out of the comfy chair to use them – which is why the Sonos app and TV remote integration is doubly welcome.
From a gaming perspective it really is very impressive, able to clearly reproduce sounds over a range of levels and still provide effective quasi-surround sound via Dolby Atmos. From Far Cry 6 to Deathloop to Ghost of Tsushima to Yakuza: Like A Dragon, everything sounded superb through the Beam Gen 2 – the sound was great, the dialogue was clear, there wasn’t any distortion, and the unit provided a soundscape much larger than its size belied.
The same results came from watching streaming TV, and even as a “listening to Spotify while reading a book in the lounge” experience it was really good too –While the Sonos Beam Gen 2 doesn’t have ultra-deep bass, I found it was more than adequate for a great gaming and viewing experience in my lounge and had no complaints about what it offered in that department.
The bass and treble levels can be adjusted via the app and to further add to the usefulness, the Beam Gen 2 can also be integrated with Amazon Alexa or Google Home as a smart speaker via Wi-Fi too – a role it performs very well, especially since it supports voice activation and command too. for those with Apple devices, the Beam Gen 2 is also AirPlay compatible as well, and it can be hard-wired into a router via an Ethernet cable if you’d prefer that over a wireless connection.
There is an option to add a subwoofer and remote speakers for a true surround sound experience, but I honestly thought the base unit itself did an excellent job and most surround-sound gaming is done with a headset anyway, so didn’t feel my gaming experience was compromised by using the base unit alone.
One area where the multi-speaker setup might be appealing would be for a multi-speaker setup in different rooms of the house – for example, playing music in the lounge and dining room during a party.
The Sonos Beam Gen 2 might not quite be big enough for a serious cinephile looking for something to recreate a full theatre experience at home, but for an enthusiast gamer or someone with a small-medium lounge, it’s going to fit the bill extremely nicely indeed.
There’s just one caveat: There’s no dedicated “Off” button on the unit itself, short of unplugging it from the power cord. Most of the time it’s not an issue at all, since it integrates well with smart TVs, but it might be an issue on older TVs if trying to use headphones as well.
The Sonos Beam Gen 2 delivers great sound in a stylish, uncluttered package and while it’s not cheap (RRP: AUD$699), it packs a lot of punch and comes well recommended as a result.