Small but mighty
The Sonos Beam is a great option for those who want to upgrade their home entertainment system in small- to medium-sized rooms. It packs powerful woofers and tweeters in the compact bar. The only caveat is the fact that you must have a TV with HDMI-ARC to connect it to (or use the optical audio adapter but lose the ability to turn the TV on or off with Beam alone using voice), and Siri controls are limited.
- Compact size makes it perfect for small- to medium-sized rooms.
- Automatically pairs with your TV and remote through HDMI-ARC connection.
- Speech Enhancement feature
- Uses Amazon Alexa and Siri (through AirPlay 2) for voice commands.
- Siri voice commands limited to audio and playback controls
Apple's HomePod boasts superior and rich high fidelity sound quality compared to the competition. It's also super smart with Siri integration for controlling Apple Music directly, as well as other simple tasks and HomeKit. The biggest issue, though, is the fact that it doesn't work with any TV — you need an Apple TV, since it only streams audio through AirPlay.
- Works with Apple Music and Siri
- High fidelity audio quality
- Siri voice commands allow you to do simple, everyday tasks.
- Control your HomeKit devices with Siri.
- Small, compact size with rich, nuanced audio
- Doesn't connect to your TV directly
- You need an Apple TV if you want to use it for home theater purposes.
Overall, the Sonos Beam is more versatile, and while it's expensive, more people will get use out of it. Apple's HomePod is more for music listeners because of the high fidelity audio quality, but it's a good home theater speaker system only if you're totally invested in the Apple ecosystem with Apple TV.
If you're looking for a speaker that will work with your existing TV without any extra equipment, then the Sonos Beam is one of the best options you can buy.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Sonos Beam||Apple HomePod|
|Works with existing TV||Yes||No|
|Requires additional equipment||No||Yes|
|Siri through AirPlay 2||Yes||Yes|
|Full Siri integration||No||Yes|
|Support for third-party streaming services||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Apple TV||Yes (through HDMI and HDMI-ARC)||Yes (through AirPlay 2)|
|Surround sound||Yes (multiple speakers required)||Yes (multiple HomePods required)|
While both are great, we definitely recommend a Sonos Beam over HomePod. That's because there is so much more versatility and flexibility with the Beam as compared to the HomePod.
With Sonos Beam, you can create a complete home theater sound system since it plugs directly into your TV's HDMI-ARC port, and that's all with one device. Additionally, multiple Sonos speakers can be grouped together to create a multi-room experience or you can go for surround sound. The sound quality may not be as rich as HomePod, but it's still powerful. It also works with multiple video streaming devices, comes with Alexa and Siri integration, and Speech Enhancement means you'll never be asking, "what did they just say?" again. It makes dialogue crisper, so even if the sound isn't as strong as the HomePod, it has features that make the listening experience worth it.
However, if you care more about listening to Apple Music and using Siri commands for a hands-free approach to simplifying life and HomeKit control, then the HomePod is the way to go. If you have an Apple TV, it's especially worth it, since the HomePod will only stream music through AirPlay. Plus, the high fidelity audio makes it worth the super high price tag if that's an important factor for you.
Compact soundbar that packs a loud punch
Sonos Beam is an excellent option if you're looking for an upgrade for your home entertainment system. It plugs directly into your existing TV through HDMI-ARC, utilizes powerful woofers and tweeters to fill small- to medium-sized rooms with premium sound, and has Alexa and Siri integration for audio playback. Unfortunately, Siri voice commands are limited to audio and playback only.
Great for those invested in the Apple ecosystem
If you prefer to use Siri or use Apple Music, then HomePod is the way to go. It fills the room with rich, high fidelity sound and allows you to use Siri for audio playback, voice commands for things like messages, calls, timers, and more. Plus, you can control HomeKit through HomePod as well. It just won't work with existing TVs without an Apple TV.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.