I been using Sonos soundbars for quite some time starting with the spacious PlayBase to the compact  Sonos Beam. I was a big fan of the Sonos Beam but of course it was missing some features that fill in my home entertainment lifestyle. This is where Sonos Beam 2(or Gen 2) comes into play. It has everything you know and love from the Beam but adds on Dolby Atmos support, a slightly redesigned build, and other tweaks. But is it worth the price upgrade?

Style

As with most Sonos products the details are immaculate. Like its predecessor, the Beam 2 is cylinder shaped all the way around. It is also still 25” wide making it still compact with a height just over 2 ½ “tall to easily fit under the lowest of TVs. The Sonos logo is still embossed on the front while capacitive play/volume controls are on top. One design difference though is instead of the fabric used on Gen 1, the Gen 2 model has a matte mesh grill that goes around the speaker. Frankly the change is welcome as its way easier to clean than before. Aesthetically it looks better too.  You still have the ability to access Alexa (or Google) via the mic button if needed. I tend to keep it off though. 

Ports on the back are Power, Ethernet, and HDMI eARC (Gen 1 only has HDMI). eARC allows for more bandwidth and resolving in better audio resolution. Included with the Sonos Beam 2 is a power cable, HDMI cable, and optical audio adapter. Sonos makes sure the cables match whatever color option you pick as the white shown here. Also, those used to soundbars coming with remotes, Sonos devices don’t come with any. You have to utilize your phone/tablet for any audio changes unless you sync it with your TV’s remote-control volume thanks to their being an Infrared Receiver.

Setup / Features

If you are already in the Sonos ecosystem like myself, it only takes a few mins getting a device added to your Sonos network of devices. If this is your first Sonos device don’t worry as the app will walk you thru with illustrations and steps on what to do. Everything runs on either Wi-Fi/Ethernet to get you setup. Connecting it your TV is simple via HDMI but also does take a spot from your HDMI ports on the TV unfortunately.

As mentioned earlier you can setup this soundbar to take advantage of Sonos Voice Control / Alexa / Google Assistant commands if you want when you have the mic on. Examples would be requesting a music playlist, volume control, or managing other devices. I tend to have it off though as TV shows time to time would trigger it and I’m not a heavy Alexa user anyway.

The app is smart as it recognizes when you are using it with a TV as it will display that. Options for Speech Enhancement and Night Sounds will be available. It will even tell you what type of audio codec you are using such as PCM, Dolby Plus, Atmos, or DTS.

Under the hood of the Sonos Beam 2 you get a 40% faster processor, updated Wi-Fi support with 802.11ac and network bands support up to 5.0 GHz. This speaker is swift on any changes you are making in whatever capacity.

Sound

Speaking of inside there is four elliptical mid-woofers, one tweeter and three passive radiators alongside five Class D amplifiers. It is also equipped with psychoacoustic HRTF to assist with the Dolby Atmos support. Since there is no up-firing speakers it helps give the impression when aerial sound effects are taking place.  On the music side you get nice clear detailed vocals when jamming to tunes, I can notice the slight difference when compared to the Beam Gen 1.

As for entertainment it does a good job of handling Dolby Atmos content. One example I tend to use is “Spider Man Far Way Home” which has a large action sequence with Mysterio. You get the feel of drones flying around you, Spidey getting slammed into objects, etc. It does a decent job with Dolby Digital Plus content too such as “The Dark Knight Rises”. Bane vs Batman’s first sequence is mostly just blow for blow fisticuffs and you get a nice feel of it. Of course, an added subwoofer would probably help to increase that feeling.

With gaming with titles such as Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X you feel like you are in the driver’s seat sitting front and center. It helps that this title always utilizes Dolby Atmos to create an even more immerse experience.

Sonos Beam 2 was used with an Xbox Series X, NVIDIA Shield, PS5, and Vizio’s Smartcast apps such as VUDU, YouTubeTV, Paramount+, etc.

Verdict

Sonos Beam 2 is a sizable improvement for anyone coming from their PlayBase or Sonos Beam Gen 1 soundbar. You get an impressive wide soundstage and can take advantage of audio codecs such as Dolby Atmos and others. At $449.99 it costs just $50 more than the Beam 1 at retail but worth the upgrade.

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