The Sonos Beam is perhaps one of the most popular soundbars out there. This minor diminutive soundbar sports several features, including support for Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri. Furthermore, it even lets you stream music online and connect to other wireless speakers. However, if you are wary of buying the Sonos Beam, there are plenty of soundbars out there with almost the same feature set and more.
Some of these speakers bundle extra features such as support for eARC and Dolby Atmos, which the Sonos Beam lacks.
So if you are in the market looking for Sonos Beam alternatives, here are the best ones out there. But first,
The Yamaha YAS-209BL is a good pick for you if you do not wish to spend much on a soundbar. This one costs less than the Sonos Beam and bundles neat features like a 2.1 setup, Spotify Connect integration, and support for DTS Virtual:X.
Together with the in-house Clear Voice feature, this soundbar manages to deliver a wide and spacious soundstage. As a result, the audio is loud and powerful, and the subwoofer adds much-needed bass to the overall audio output.
While it doesn't have many steaming partners, it lets you stream your favorite music from Spotify. But that's a compromise you'll have to make for the low price tag. On the upside, you get support for Alexa voice commands, and you can use it to increase/lower the volume, play/pause music, among others.
That said, it's a small and compact soundbar, and the odds are that it will fit easily under your TV. If we talk numbers, the YAS-209BL measures 37-inches.
When it comes to the connectivity options, the YAS-209BL bundles quite a few options. It has an HDMI ARC Out connector with an additional HDMI port. Plus, there are options for Ethernet and Wi-Fi for Spotify Connect. Unfortunately, there's no eARC or support for AirPlay 2 or Chromecast.
2. Bose Soundbar 300
Dimensions: 2¼ x 27½ x 4-inches
Ports: 1 x HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), 1 x Optical in, 1 x Bass Module connection
The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is almost in the same price range as the Sonos Beam. But for the price, this Bose soundbar packs a punch. It has a small 3.0 setup and supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple AirPlay 2. Plus, it packs SimpleSync, a proprietary Bose tech that lets you connect to other wireless Bose speakers.
Like the Sonos Beam, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos or eARC. However, it makes up for the lack of surround sound with its excellent audio output. The folks at Rolling Stone opines that sports announcements on the Soundbar 300 are loud and clear. So you wouldn't miss out on important announcements even if there is a lot of background noise. The same is valid for music output as well.
As noted earlier, it supports quite a lot of voice assistants. The good thing is that the Google Assistant integration lets you operate TV functions without HDMI. Cool, right?
Another premium soundbar with a 3.1-channel setup is the Sony ZF9. It packs several interesting features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, support for LDAC Bluetooth codec. More importantly, it includes support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Furthermore, it packs Sony's proprietary Vertical Surround Engine, which (as suggestive of its name) upscales the audio. The one on the Sony ZF9 upscales the audio output to a virtual 7.1.2-channel.
The good thing is that the Sony ZF9 translates these features well into real-world scenarios. It has excellent audio output. And the wireless subwoofer ensures that you feel the thump during action movies.
The bass is balanced, and you'll be able to listen to the vocals in movies or listen to the intricate details of songs. It's worth noting that the HT-Z9F doesn't have an upward-firing speaker, despite bundling Dolby Atmos.
The Samsung HW-Q800A is one of the newest soundbars from the house of Samsung. The soundbar, released in 2021, packs a slew of interesting features such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and AirPlay 2 support. Plus, it supports a 4K HDR passthrough. But the feature that helps it stand apart from the rest is its small form factor. It's sleek and compact and measures 38.6-inches in length.
Other than that, it is a 3.1.2-channel soundbar and has dedicated drivers for left, right, and center. The wireless subwoofer ensures that you get the gentle thumping of the bass. And unlike some soundbars like the Vizio V Series V21-H8, this one generates a neutral sound signature.
One of the upsides of a neutral sound profile is that you can utilize the soundbar for movies, music, and watching sports events. Plus, if you have an iPhone or a Mac, you can cast the audio directly to the soundbar. In addition, the Sony Q800A lets you stream music from services like Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Apple Music.
The major highlight of the Sony HW-Q800A is its Q Symphony audio tech, but it comes with a slight catch. Q Symphony audio tech only works with Samsung TVs. And unless you have one, you won't be able to get the maximum out of this soundbar.
There are quite a few audio connections. In addition, it boasts of a duo of HDMI connectors (one has HDMI-eARC), an optical (Toslink) connection, and a MicroUSB port.
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Agreed that the Sonos Beam bundles several interesting features, but it is not the only soundbar out there. A soundbar should enhance the audio output of your TV and let you do a little bit more. And these soundbars fit this description well.
So, which of these soundbars will you get?
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