While Sonos has two great products with the Beam and Playbar, the Beam is the overall better option for most people because of its size, sound quality, built-in Alexa support, integration with AirPlay 2, and price. However, if you have a large room for your TV, and need theatrical sound without any possible distortion, then you should probably go for the mountable Playbar.
For most people, the Sonos Beam is going to be a great option. The Beam is small and compact, making it easy to move around if necessary, and it should not take up much space with your current setup. Despite the Beam's smaller size, it still delivers rich audio all throughout the room and works best for small and medium-sized spaces.
|Sonos Beam||Sonos Playbar|
|Size||2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 in. (68.5 x 651 x 100 mm)||3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 in. (85 x 900 x 140 mm)|
|Weight||6.2 lbs (2.8 kg)||11.9 lbs. (5.4kg)|
|Optimized for||Small to medium rooms||Large rooms|
|Amazon Alexa||Built-in||Requires Echo or Echo Dot with Sonos skill|
|AirPlay 2||Yes||Only if another speaker that has it is grouped with Playbar|
|Pairs with other Sonos speakers||Yes||Yes|
|Third-party streaming services||Yes||Yes|
The Playbar is bigger and heavier, which may require some additional setup on your part, such as having a dedicated shelf or being mounted to the wall. However, it is capable of giving you a full theater-like experience with the audio, since it produces higher quality audio due to the drivers and woofers inside. The angled drivers also make sure that no noise is ever distorted and it gets dispersed in a wider area, no matter how you set it up.
Setting up the Beam is also much easier because it connects through HDMI-ARC and HDMI-CEC, allowing you to control the TV and soundbar together as one unit. The Playbar only uses an optical cable, so you would need to control it separately. If you need to, the Beam can also be mounted so it's even more out of the way and less intrusive.
Built-in Alexa integration in Beam also makes it a better choice for those who want to simplify things. The Playbar also works with Alexa, but only if you have separate Echo or Echo Dots around the house. You also have to use the Sonos skill through the Amazon Alexa app. The Beam also supports Siri voice commands through AirPlay 2, which is missing from the Playbar. A workaround for the Playbar is grouping it with other speakers that do support AirPlay 2, which allows the audio to play anywhere.
Again, for most people, the Beam is the better buy due to the features and price. Plus, the audio quality is still great for what it's worth. It's built around simplicity, making it easy to set up, store away, and use with Alexa and your TV without any extra devices. However, if you want the best sound that's capable of making the room shake, then Playbar is the way to go. Just remember that it costs almost twice as much as the Beam, although the price is justified by the sound quality.
Our favorite soundbar
Sonos Beam is an excellent soundbar for your home entertainment system. It's small enough to fit virtually anywhere, provides great sound for smaller rooms and has built-in Amazon Alexa integration and Siri through AirPlay 2.
Make the entire room shake with powerful sound
The Sonos Playbar is a bit older, but it's immensely powerful in terms of sound quality for your home entertainment setup. The powerful drivers will make the room shake with sound, and it works in both flat and upright positions without ever having audio distortion. The larger size may require the soundbar to be mounted if there isn't enough room.
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