Last Updated: September 20, 2023, 18:31 IST
Sonos is a popular audio brand that dabbles in the premium segment where you have products ranging in the high Rs 50,000 bracket. Most people call it the audiophile segment, and that is because the people who pay big for quality audio know what they are seeking. Sonos is trying to appeal to that audience with its soundbar and over here we are talking about the Sonos Beam Gen 2 model that has been around in the market for a while, but still captures everyone’s interest not only because of its audio quality but the price tag as well.
Sonos Beam Gen 2 comes for Rs 53,999 which as we said fits into the audiophile mould but here’s the thing, TVs have now become affordable which means you can spend that extra 10 to 20K on a quality soundbar. So, does the Sonos Beam Gen 2 deliver on all the fronts for its price?
Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review: What’s Cool?
Sonos has a signature design touch which doesn’t go over the top and keeps it simple, which tends to work for most. Even with the Beam Gen 2 you realise that the body is compact, deceptively small in size (at least for the price), which makes people wonder what’s all the fuss about Sonos?
It has a solid presence even with its small stature and the broadened body ensures that the brand can pack in all the necessary woofers and tweets to get the audio ticking. You have the Sonos logo at the front over the plastic grille.
The soft touch buttons are at the top of the soundbar while the connectivity ports and power switch are at the back. You place on the counter next to your TV and it feels like a match made in heaven, at least for the aesthetics it offers.
Sonos is a tech brand as well, which gets amplified by its mobile app which lets you pair multiple Sonos speakers and customise the settings for the Beam Gen 2 soundbar as well. The Beam Gen 2 has its own Wi-Fi network which is visible in the settings of your phone.
Pair the soundbar to your phone using NFC and you get all the features rolled out on the screen. We did have some challenges in getting the soundbar paired but the process was generally seamless if you get the hang of Sonos and its ecosystem. But now, let’s about the audio quality.
Soundbar are meant to accentuate the sound output you get from the TV which in most cases have average audio setup. The Beam Gen 2 commands a premium because of its balanced audio notes and the deep bass doesn’t throw vocals out of the picture, literally.
Watching movies on the big screen with the Beam Gen 2 paired up was a delight and I am finding it hard to get back to my usual setup. Some might say it is exaggeration, but Sonos Beam Gen 2 has home theatre-like qualities that it brings to the table and your living room. The fact that Sonos has managed to offer this in a compact package makes it all the more impressive, even though it comes at a cost.
Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review: What’s Not So Cool?
Sonos believes that Bluetooth doesn’t need to be included in its audio products, including the Beam Gen 2 soundbar, which means you need to use the HDMI eARC cable (bundled in the box) and the connector on your TV to make the best use of its high-fidelity music quality.
You also have Wi-Fi connectivity as an option but limiting the features to these two without no possible support for Bluetooth does leave you wanting. It is likely that Sonos feels that music through Bluetooth isn’t exactly lossless audio but then brands like Sony do offer the technology on its premium range and do it with good effect.
You will need a TV with Wi-Fi or eARC point to use the Beam Gen 2 which effectively negates the whole point of being wireless. Sonos is also giving an ethernet point in case you don’t have Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. It is a glaring miss but clearly part of Sonos’ feature set and specialty.
We also feel that for a soundbar that costs a premium, Sonos could give an LCD display unit to get the details of what’s playing on the soundbar. After all, not many would like to keep scrolling through their phone for these details.
Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review: Should You Buy?
Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a solid upgrade on the first-gen model but doesn’t lose its unique appeal thanks to the compact design yet high-quality sound output. You don’t get Bluetooth for pairing devices so you need Wi-Fi or HDMI eARC to make the best of the soundbar which pairs with an app on your phone for better customisations. If you are in the market for a premium soundbar then the Beam Gen 2 is a solid choice but only if you are fine with its limitations for the price tag.