The Beam soundbar is one of Sonos’ first real attempts to conquer the broader speaker market in the age of smart speakers. Today, the device is going on sale, just over a month after first being announced. It’s available for $399.
We reviewed the Beam a couple weeks ago, and by all accounts, it’s a good-sounding speaker. What’s unique about it, at least among Sonos products, is that it’s not outlandishly expensive and is also an all-in-one package, not necessarily begging you to buy one (or four) more speakers. It’s meant to offer an easy, high-quality sound upgrade for people who haven’t already bought into higher-end sound gear. And it does that while also bringing them into Sonos ecosystem.
The Beam also connects with Alexa, and Sonos claims it’ll eventually work with Google Assistant as well.
Sonos’ speaker line has a ton of potential for reaching a wider audience, but it’s in a tough position. The company is reliant on tech giants to bring smart features into its speakers. And if it can’t get them to connect, then the very consumers who are likely to be interested in wirelessly controlled smart speakers may end up going with first-party options, like Apple’s HomePod.
In the past, Sonos has been slow to release new products, but it seems like that’s changing under Patrick Spence, who stepped in as CEO in early 2017. The soundbar appears to be a strong first start, but it’ll need more than that and the $200 Sonos One speaker to fit every room people might want to put them in.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.