Sonos announced a high-quality soundbar this year: the Sonos Arc. The manufacturer also has a compact soundbar in its range, the Sonos Beam. Which is the best to buy? Then read this comparison.
Sonos Arc and Sonos Beam
The Sonos Arc is a high-quality soundbar with 11 powerful audio drivers, two of which are directed upwards for a more room-filling sound that should mimic a cinema effect. Arc is more than a soundbar. From movies and series to music, podcasts and radio when the TV is off, it provides everything you can stream with excellent sound that is tuned to what’s playing, according to Sonos.
The Sonos Beam is a compact smart speaker and TV soundbar in one and provides you with sound when you stream music, watch series and movies, play podcasts and audiobooks, or play video games. Like the Arc, the device is also part of the Sonos home sound system, which supports more than sixty streaming services.
Comparison Sonos Arc and Sonos Beam
|Sonos Beam||Sonos Arc|
|Amplifiers||5 (class D)||11 (class D)|
|Woofers||4 (fullrange)||8 (midrange)|
|Voice control||Yes, via Google Assistant||Yes, via Google Assistant|
|Dimensions (cm)||6.85 × 65.1 × 10||8.7 × 114.2 × 11.6|
|Weight (kg)||2.8 kg||6.25 kg|
|MSRP||449 euros||899 euros|
Both the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc work with WiFi. You can therefore immediately stream music from your smartphone to the soundbar via your WiFi network. This can be done via AirPlay, Chromecast, wall switches, your TV remote control, SonosNet, the Sonos app or third-party apps such as Spotify Connect, Audible, Pandora and Tidal. You can also operate the sound bars via the touch buttons or remote control. Bluetooth support is lacking on both.
Do you have more Sonos speakers at home? Then you connect it to the Beam of Arc to create a surround setup. For example, I paired two Sonos One speakers in the kitchen with the Arc in the living room to listen to the same music in both rooms. You can also wirelessly connect the soundbars to the Sonos Sub for extra bass.
The Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc are both smart. They work with smart assistants such as the Google Assistant and Alexa. So you can easily start music or a TV program with these soundbars via voice command, check the weather forecast and operate smart home devices.
Both soundbars have support for Apple Airplay 2 and have the same connections. You connect both to your TV via the included HDMI cable. Connecting via the optical audio output of your TV is also possible. The pair can also be attached to the wall, but you will have to order the wall brackets separately. For the Arc you count 79 euros for this and that for the Beam costs 69 euros.
The Sonos Arc was announced in May 2020 and the Beam has been around since 2018. The Sonos Arc serves as a replacement for the Sonos Playbar and Playbase. The Beam is a cheaper alternative to the Arc. That is also one of the big differences, the price. The Arc costs 899 euros and the Beam can be purchased for 449 euros.
In addition to the price, both also differ in size, weight and design. The Arc is a lot bigger than the compact alternative in the form of the Beam. The Beam measures 65.1 cm and the Arc is 114.2 cm long. With its 2.8 kg, the Beam is also a lot lighter than the 6.25 kg Arc.
The appearance of both soundbars does not match either. In the picture below you see the Sonos Arc in the middle as an elongated rounded tube. The Beam below is much shorter and therefore more compact.
The main difference between the two is the sound quality. That is of course because Sonos has equipped them with different speakers. As I mentioned earlier, the Sonos Arc is a high-quality soundbar with 11 powerful audio drivers that should bring cinema sound to your living room. Whether that’s stereo, Dolby Audio 5.1 or Dolby Atmos. If you want to play Dolby Atmos sound with the Arc, a TV that supports Dolby Atmos is a requirement.
The Arc can thus output surround sound to five sound channels: three directed forward and two directed to the side. The reflection from the wall makes it seem as if the sound from these two channels is coming from behind. Connecting two Sonos One SL surround speakers as rear speakers to the Arc provides better surround sound.
The Sonos Beam works with three channels and therefore only has a left, right and a center channel. Dolby Atmos support is therefore lacking, but with a Beam in your living room you can already create more spacious sound than that of most speakers in current TVs. The Sonos Beam also has 1 tweeter and 4 woofers in contrast to the 3 tweeters and 8 woofers of the Arc.
The Sonos Beam is suitable for TVs smaller than 49 inches, according to Sonos. The Arc is optimal for TVs larger than 49 inches.
Touch controls on the Sonos Beam
Conclusion: Buy Sonos Beam or Sonos Arc?
The Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc correspond on a number of points. They both have support for smart assistants, and both can be seamlessly integrated into a Sonos speaker system thanks to WiFi, for example to create a surround setup. The differences, on the other hand, are larger, which is why it is easier to make a choice between the two. The Arc can be seen as a premium soundbar that can mimic a better surround sound with more amplifiers, woofers and tweeters. For this you pay 899 euros.
The Beam, on the other hand, offers less powerful sound and therefore fits perfectly in smaller rooms and works best with a smaller TV. The price is also a lot smaller, namely 449 euros. The Sonos Beam is therefore very suitable for people with a small to medium-sized living room who are looking for a smart, compact and mature all-in-one soundbar with good sound quality for an acceptable price.
Who is the Sonos Arc for?
– For those who want to create surround sound, possibly in combination with additional Sonos speakers
– For those who want to bring cinema sound to their living room
– For those looking for a soundbar with Google Assistant
Who is the Sonos Beam for?
– For those looking for a compact soundbar that fits perfectly in a smaller living room
– For those looking for an affordable all-in-one soundbar
– For those looking for a soundbar with Google Assistant