Sonos Beam VS Playbar | Which One is Good?

It is a well-known fact that TV speakers can’t deliver premium sound quality, especially if you have a home theater system. And if you want to elevate your home entertainment experience, it is necessary to add a dedicated speaker system or soundbars.

When it comes to soundbars, Sonos is a leading manufacturer of exceptional audio products, including soundbars, subwoofers, and speakers. Among their lineup, the Sonos Beam and Playbar are two of the company’s most popular soundbars, designed to enhance your movie nights, music listening, and gaming sessions.

If you’ve done research but are confused about which of these two options to choose, we are here to help you out. In this comprehensive comparison and review, we’ll compare the Sonos Beam vs Playbar in detail. We’ll dive into key aspects of these two soundbars to help you make an informed decision.

Quick Comparison of Sonos Playbar and Beam

The Sonos Playbar and Beam are both outstanding soundbars, but they cater to slightly different needs. Sonos Beam is a compact soundbar designed for those who want an all-in-one solution with smart speaker capabilities. It provides a high-quality and immersive sound experience and has multiple features, including AirPlay 2 and hands-free voice control such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

On the other hand, the Sonos Playbar is a relatively premium option and is designed for audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts who prefer cinematic sound quality. It is larger than Sonos Beam and delivers more powerful and immersive audio, which makes it an excellent choice for gaming and movie nights. However, Playbar lacks built-in voice control and depends on external devices for this feature.

Comparison Table: Sonos Beam vs Playbar

FeatureSonos BeamSonos Playbar
Size25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 inches35.5 x 5.6 x 3.4 inches
Weight6.35 lbs.11.90 lbs.
Build and designCompact, sleek designClassic soundbar design
Frequency response55Hz–20kHz50Hz–20kHz
Sound QualityRich and immersiveExceptional, room-filling sound
Amazon AlexaBuilt-inRequires Echo or Echo Dot with Sonos skill
AirPlay 2 supportYesNo
ConnectivityHDMI ARC, optical, Wi-Fi, EthernetOptical, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Voice ControlBuilt-in Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantN/A, Requires external device
FeaturesTruePlay, AirPlay 2, voice controlDialogue enhancement, Night Mode
Third-party streaming servicesYesYes
Optimized forSmall to medium roomsLarge rooms
Pairs with other Sonos speakersYesYes
ColorBlack, whiteCombination of black and dark silver

Detailed Comparison of Sonos Playbar and Sonos Beam

Now, let’s dive deeper into the detailed comparison of Playbar and Beam soundbars.

Build and Design

Sonos Playbar and Sonos Beam design

Sonos Beam features a modern, sleek, and compact design, making it easy to blend into various home setups. It measures 25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 inches, which makes it suitable for smaller spaces. You can easily mount it on a wall or place it on a TV stand without taking up much space.

It is available in black and white colors and is the perfect choice for those who want to maintain the minimalistic aesthetics of their home, as it can seamlessly blend with modern home decor.

Sonos Beam has a slimmer profile and curved edges, which means your eyes will be less distracted when watching movies or TV. It has a touch-sensitive control panel on its top. Sonos Beam carries LED lights on its concave top, which are intentionally kept below the eye line, so the beam can only be heard, not seen.

In contrast, the Sonos Playbar is bigger and heavier than the Sonos Beam and comes with a more substantial and robust build. It measures 35.5 x 5.6 x 3.4 inches, which makes it more suitable for wall mounting as it needs to be placed upright. You can place it on your TV stand, but it’ll take up too much space.

It is a several-year-old Sonos soundbar, which means it doesn’t have a modern design. It has a more traditional design with physical buttons on the side and a back metal grille on the front. It comes in a combination of dark silver and black. Its wider profile makes it a better fit for larger TVs or dedicated home theater setups.

Winner: The choice here depends on your room size and aesthetic preferences. Beam is more versatile for smaller spaces, while the Playbar offers a premium look and feel.

Sound Quality and Performance

When it comes to sound quality, both the Beam and Playbar deliver exceptional audio experiences, but they cater to different needs and room sizes. Despite its compact size, Sonos Beam delivers impressive sound quality with decent bass and clear vocals.

It has an eight-driver speaker system that consists of four full-range woofers, a single tweeter, and three passive radiators. It also features five class-D digital amplifiers, five far-field microphone arrays with advanced beamforming, and adjustable treble and bass controls. This setup produces a room-filling sound with clear dialogue, punchy midrange, and crisp highs.

While it may not match the sheer power of Playbar, it still provides a rich and immersive audio experience for music and movies in smaller to medium-sized rooms. It is ideal for everyday TV and music playback but may not satisfy audiophiles or those seeking thunderous bass.

In contrast, the Sonos Playbar is a powerhouse in the sound department. With nine Class-D digital amplifiers, six mid-woofers, and three tweeters, it offers a truly cinematic experience. This system produces room-filling immersive sound with deep bass and exceptional clarity, which is perfect for larger living spaces and home theaters.

Additionally, the Sonos Playbar supports the Trueplay feature, which uses your iOS device’s microphone to calibrate the audio based on your room’s acoustics for optimal sound quality. It is designed for those who demand the best audio experience for movies and TV.

Winner: The Playbar is the clear winner for audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts, but the Beam is no slouch either, offering remarkable sound for its size.

Connectivity Options

Sonos Playbar and Sonos Beam connectivity

Sonos Beam has more connectivity options than Playbar. You can easily connect the Sonos Beam to your TV via HDMI ARC (audio return channel). You can also connect it through an optical cable if your TV doesn’t support HDMI ARC.

It also offers WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, allowing you to connect your soundbar to your home’s network either wirelessly or through a wired connection. These wide connectivity options allow multi-room audio and a more stable streaming experience.

Sonos Playbar, on the other hand, relies on an optical connection, which may be a limitation for some modern TVs. It also offers Ethernet and WiFi connectivity, which makes it compatible with a wide range of TVs but lacks the HDMI ARC convenience found in Beam.

Winner: The Beam’s HDMI ARC connection is more versatile and future-proof, while the Playbar’s optical connection may require additional adapters for certain setups.

Voice Control

Sonos Beam comes with built-in voice controls such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Through your Beam, you can control your music playback, adjust the volume, and more without the help of a separate device.

Sonos Playbar, on the other hand, doesn’t have built-in voice control and relies on external voice assistant devices like Google Nest Hub or Amazon Echo Dot.

Winner: The Beam wins in this category for its convenience and seamless voice control integration.


The Sonos Beam is a more modern soundbar than the Sonos Playbar; therefore, it carries more features. First, it has built-in voice control such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to fully control compatible smart home devices, music streaming, and a plethora of other tasks.

Beam also supports Trueplay, which optimizes sound based on your room’s acoustics. It also has AirPlay 2 support, allowing you to stream music directly from your iOS device. Multi-room audio is another standout feature of Beam.

Playbar, on the other hand, doesn’t have built-in voice control and requires a separate Google Assistant or Alexa device such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, Sonos Move, or Sonos One to control it.

Playbar offers night mode, dialog enhancement mode, and speech enhancement features, which makes it the perfect choice for a TV-watching experience.

Both the Beam and Playbar are compatible with the Sonos platform, which means you can enjoy all the features that come with the platform, such as Trueplay tuning, access to over 100 streaming platforms, and adjustment and grouping of EQ levels with existing Sonos speakers for multi-room audio.

Winner: Features vary based on your preferences. If you want room-specific audio optimization and AirPlay 2 support, go for the Beam. If you prioritize TV sound enhancement, the Playbar has you covered.


Beam is more affordable than the Playbar, making it an attractive option for those on budget. However, the Sonos Playbar comes with a premium price tag. It is due to its exceptional sound quality and dedicated TV sound enhancement features.

Winner: The Beam wins on affordability, making it a great choice for those looking for a high-quality soundbar without breaking the bank.

Pros and Cons of Sonos Beam

• Affordable
• Multi-room audio
• Built-in voice control
• Compact and modern design
• Trueplay and AirPlay 2 support
• Smaller sound compared to Playbar
• May lack bass for some users

Pros and Cons of Sonos Playbar

• Powerful and exceptional sound quality
• Room-filling audio
• Dedicated TV sound enhancement features
• Premium build quality
• Ideal for larger home theaters
• Expensive
• Lacks built-in voice control
• Optical connections may require adapters for some setups


In conclusion, the choice between the Sonos Beam vs Playbar comes down to your personal needs and budget. At first, it looks like the Beam is the clear winner over the Playbar after reading this comparison review. But it’s not that simple.

Beam is an affordable option, comes with built-in voice control, and delivers the best sound in smaller or confined spaces and for compact TVs. If this is what you’re looking for, then Beam is an excellent choice.

However, if you demand the best audio quality and powerful surround sound and can invest in a premium soundbar, the Sonos Playbar delivers an exceptional and immersive audio experience.

Moreover, if you are planning to use your soundbar in a big home theater setup or in a large living room, then Playbar is definitely the perfect choice.

Ultimately, both soundbars are fantastic choices, and you can’t go wrong with either, as they represent the high-quality audio and design that Sonos is known for. Make your decision based on what matters most to you in your home audio setup.

Comparison Table Sonos Beam vs Playbar

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Is Sonos Beam better than Sonos Playbar?

Both the Sonos Beam and Sonos Playbar are excellent soundbars, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. The Beam is a more affordable option with built-in voice control, while the Playbar offers better sound quality and is ideal for larger home theaters. Ultimately, the best soundbar for you depends on your individual needs and budget.

Is there a better soundbar than the Sonos Beam?

There are a few other soundbars on the market that offer similar features and sound quality to the Sonos Beam, such as the Yamaha YAS-209 and the Vizio SB3651-E6. However, the Sonos Beam is still a great choice, and it’s hard to go wrong with either of these soundbars.

Does the Sonos Playbar have Dolby Atmos?

No, the Sonos Playbar does not support Dolby Atmos. However, it does offer a very immersive sound experience, even without Dolby Atmos.

Is the Sonos Playbar still worth it?

Yes, the Sonos Playbar is still a great soundbar, even though it’s been discontinued. It offers excellent sound quality and is ideal for larger home theaters. If you’re looking for a high-quality soundbar, the Sonos Playbar is still a great option.

Is Playbar discontinued?

Yes, the Sonos Playbar was discontinued in 2020. However, it is still available for purchase from some retailers.

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