I think that this Sony HT-X8500 vs Sonos Beam might be the evenest battle I have done so far. I have put the Sonos Beam up against many other soundbars and recently I wrote this Yamaha Yas-209 Vs Sony Ht-x8500 Which Is Better? article which put the Sony HTX8500 through its paces too. Now though, I am putting these two in the ring together to see which one I feel is the better soundbar. This is going to be tough as these are two soundbars that I hold in pretty high regard and as you will know if you have read any of my other articles, I am never ashamed to admit that I am a Sony fanboy, but on the flip side of that, I also love most of what Sonos offers too.
I love to get as much bang for my buck as possible and that is why we are starting this Sony HTX8500 vs Sonos Beam battle with the asking price for both of these. I think that these have a similar kind of pricing (for the most part) and I can tell you that I feel you are getting great value for money with both of these soundbars.
I have been keeping tabs on the Sony HTX8500 for a while and I can tell you that this thing has not been in stock on Amazon for well over a month as I write this. I can tell you that Walmart have this in stock and the current asking price on there is just a couple of bucks under $400. I did do a little shopping around and found that the price is usually in the $380 to $420 range so the price Walmart are asking is more than fair if you ask me. The price for this on eBay is pretty nuts and, in all honesty, searching for this on eBay was way more hassle than it was worth.
This is very, very even as the RRP for the is Sonos Beam $399.99. I have seen the price fluctuate a bit on Amazon where I have seen it for $370, but then again, I have seen it go for a bit over the 400 bucks’ mark. So, the pricing here is very comparable to what the Sony is going for. Sonos took a great deal of pride in this soundbar and the fact they were able to make it as high end as they did and still keep the asking price at the 400 bucks mark is very impressive. You can find this on eBay and the prices are all over the place as you would expect, the cheapest I saw this for on eBay was just a bit over 300 bucks so there are savings if you are willing to be patient and shop around.
The Verdict: While these are both priced at roughly the same range, you may think this is going to be a tie, but I actually have to give this win to the Sony HTX8500. The reason for this is that the Sony is offering your Dolby Atmos and the Sonos Beam does not. I think that makes the Sony edge this one out.
Many soundbars these days have a very similar design. The way I see it is if you spend a lot of money getting a cool TV like this SAMSUNG 65-Inch Class Crystal UHD AU8000 Series TV you need a cool looking soundbar to go along with it. That is why I love to spend some time looking at the design of each soundbar. I actually consider the design to be the second most important category in this Sony HTX8500 vs Sonos Beam match-up!
If you want to see exactly how this thing shapes up, I suggest that you take a look at this How to Setup the Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar video which gives you a really good look at the soundbar. I really like the design of the Sony HTX8500. I do not think I have actually come across a Sony product that I did not like the look of… well maybe the original model of the PS3! Anyway, the first thing that grabbed my attention about this was how the grille is made from metal. It is black and it looks awesome, I think it gives the soundbar a very cool and studio kind of look that I really do like. Apart from the grill that wraps around it, the rest of the soundbar is made with black plastic and that is awesome. However, Sony went a bit “artsy” with this one as the top of the soundbar is covered with this kind of pleather material which looks kind of cool, but I do think that this could get damaged, I know that my son would love to touch this!
The size of the soundbar is 6.75 x 37.25 x 6.25 which is about average for a soundbar these days. The whole soundbar has a very strong and sturdy feel to it, when you first take this out of the box, you will be impressed with how well made this is and then you will rub your hands along the top to try and figure out what that material is. I do like that they have the Sony logo on the top as that is always something I like to see when I have a Sony product.
Now, the back of the Sony HTX8500 has a nice selection of connection options for you. You have both HDMI and optical with this so you are good to go no matter how you want to connect this soundbar to your TV. There is also a power port and a USB port that is there in case the firmware ever needs updated. They also have a strange diagram on the back that tells you what each port is.
This Sonos Beam in Depth Review, UnBoxing, and Setup video really does tear down this soundbar and give you a really good idea of what you are getting with the Sonos Beam. The first thing to note is the size, coming in at 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0, this is a fair bit smaller in the length department than the Sony offering is. So, if you have a smaller TV stand, you do not have to worry about this hanging off the side. Overall, I have really liked what Sonos has done with their various soundbars. This has that Sonos style and I like it. The curvier design that the Sonos Beam has does give it a slightly softer and friendlier kind of look. You also have a choice between white and black when it comes to the Sonos Beam.
The design overall is very smartly done and the Sonos Beam has a real elegance about it that Sonos always seem to nail. My parents only have a 43-inch TV so I think a soundbar like this would be great under a TV that is not as huge as many modern TVs are these days. While the majority of the soundbar is made from a strong plastic, Sonos like to use a fabric grille to cover the speakers on their soundbars. I like this and think that it certainly gives the Beam a very cool look. However, the pets could have a field day with is and so could the kids!
Now, we have to flip this around so we can see what we are working with on the back of the soundbar. Here you have an HDMI port for connecting the soundbar to your TV. What no optical? Is what you may be asking right now and I would be right there with you, but to be fair to Sonos, they do throw in an HDMI to optical cable with this so you are covered no matter how you want to hook this up to your TV.
This is probably the hardest category for me to decide in this Sony HTX8500 vs Sonos Beam fight. These both look very different and I like the style of them both. The thing is, the designs are so different that I feel they will appeal to different kinds of people. For my personal taste, I have to say that the winner here is the Sony HTX8500 as that style is more appealing to me, but I do also like the way that the Sonos Beam looks too.
This Sony HTX8500 vs Sonos Beam is no different from any other soundbar comparison that I have done in regards to sound being the most important category on the list. The whole point of a soundbar is to get better sound than what your TV speakers offered. The thing is, these days you can actually go beyond that as many soundbars are aiming to give you as close to cinema sound as possible.
Sony HTX8500: Offering Dolby Atmos, the Sony HTX8500 is very impressive when it comes to its sound quality. I put this against the Yamaha YAS-209 recently and I was a bit harsh, to be honest with you in my description of the Dolby Atmos that this provided. Granted this does not fully fill the room like a more expensive Dolby Atmos soundbar will, but the effect is still pretty impressive and if you want a movie like one of the Star Trek movies from the Star Trek Trilogy: The Kelvin Timeline then the effect is quite impressive in the way that sound flies all around you. I think that the Dolby Atmos effect that this provides is pretty solid and if you was your first taste of Dolby Atmos then I actually think you would be blown away by it.
I recommend that you watch this Sony HT-X8500 Review video which has a good sound test on it. The overall sound that this provides is very good. It has a built in subwoofer which I am not always a fan of in a soundbar if I am being honest, but it certainly gives the sound more than its fair share of punch. One movie that springs to mind is How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World which my son and I watched with this soundbar and it sounded great. Not just the loud stuff either, the vocal clarity here is also first-class as well so I do feel that Sony has done a great job in ticking all of the boxes in regards to what you want from a soundbar when it comes to the sound quality.
I really do think that you get a nice cinema style sound with the Sony HTX8500. I know I was a bit down on this last time we looked at it, but the more time I have spent with this the more impressed I have become. You can tinker with the sound via some presets if you like too so you can get the sound just the way that you want it which is always something I like. It does also have Bluetooth connectivity which is always something I like to see.
Be sure to have a look at this short SONOS Beam SoundBar | Demo Sound Test video that gives you an indication of what you can expect from the Sonos Beam in terms of its sound quality. This is not the premium offering from Sonos, but while it is hard for me not to compare this to the Sonos Arc, I do feel that the Sonos Beam more than holds its own when put up against the Sony! Even though this is not the largest soundbar, it offers you far more bass than you would expect. One of my favorite superhero movies is X-Men: Days of Future Past The Rogue Cut which is a truly fantastic movie. Anyway, this sounded great when played with the Beam. The vocals were crisp and clear, the action loud, and had some serious punchy bass to it and in all, they do a great job of turning any room in your home into a home theatre.
One of the reasons that I am so high on the Sonos Beam is that it is a soundbar I am very familiar with. As well as using it myself on many occasions, my parents have had this in their house for a while now and they are in no hurry at all to upgrade. What makes it great for them is the vocal clarity. There are no more arguments as my dad has to have the TV loud so that he can hear what people are saying. One of my dad’s favorite TV shows is The X-Files and I know he has really enjoyed rewatching it on Disney Plus thanks to this soundbar. Overall, I think Sonos did as good as they could with this without having the price go up over 400 bucks.
Now there is one thing that I really wish Sonos had done with this soundbar and that is included Bluetooth connectivity. If you have read any other comparison articles I have written, you know that Sonos does not allow you to connect your phone or tablet via Bluetooth to this soundbar! As much as I like the Sonos Beam, that would actually be a deal breaker in my house as this is something my wife uses a lot.
The Verdict: I am going to give this one to the Sony HTX8500. Had I done this comparison a week or so ago, the Beam may have taken it. However, the more time I have spent with the Sony HTX8500, the more I have come to appreciate what Sony has done here. The Dolby Atmos may not be the best I have experienced, but it certainly makes a difference that is for sure!
The Remote Control
Being able to control your soundbar is pretty important and that is why the remote control gets its own category in this Sony HTX8500 vs Sonos Beam battle. I am kind of bummed out that I have a bad feeling more and more companies are going to shy away from a remote control and expect us all to use apps to control our tech like soundbars!
Sony HTX8500: Sony always delivers when it comes to the remote and the Sony HTX8500 is no different. Sony just makes cool looking stuff and this remote is certainly cool. I like how it has dedicated buttons for some of the main features such as voice, DTS, bass, and so on. It makes it so much easier to use. I also like how the remote control is a decent size and feels pretty sturdy and not cheap like a Fire Stick does!
Sonos Beam: I have talked about the Sonos Beam many times and when we get to this part of the article it is always a real downer man! The reason for this is that Sonos has done away with the remote control! You can make it so your TV remote can control the most basic functions, but that is more of a pain in the butt than it should be! What you are expected to do is download the app on your phone and control the soundbar that way! Look, I get what they were going for and once you have the app you do have full control over the soundbar. However, I am a man who will never be happy with a device being sold without a remote control!
The Verdict: While the Sony HTC8500 wins this one by default, I do have to say that the remote control they give you with that is pretty awesome. It gives you full access to all of the soundbars features and it is a very high-quality and stylish looking remote too!
What Is In The Box?
I would never spend this kind of money on a product and not know exactly what I am getting. That is why our last category is looking at what you will find inside the box for both of these soundbars.
Sony HTX8500: As well as the actual Sony HTX8500 soundbar, you have a few more goodies waiting for you in here. They give you the usual stuff like your instructions and the power cable, however as well as the remote they actually give you a set of batteries as well which is a nice bonus. While they do give you an HDMI cable, Sony does not throw in an optical cable! This means if you want to connect this via an optical cable you will need to get something like this Digital Optical Audio Cable Toslink Cable. To be fair an optical cable is not exactly expensive, but it would be annoying if you bought this not knowing it did not come with one when that was the way you planned on connecting it to your TV.
Sonos Beam: Ok, so you know that there is sure as hell no remote control waiting for you in the box for the Sonos Beam! Yet to be fair to Sonos I do have to give them a lot of credit as they give you everything you could possibly need to get this hooked up to your TV inside the box. You of course get your soundbar, power cable, and instructions. However they also give you an HDMI cable, but as well as this you get a special HDMI to optical cable as well so you can hook this up to your TV that way if you like.
The Verdict: The Sony HTC8500 is fine, I know I tore them a new one for not having an optical cable in the box, but to be fair they give you what most people will need. However, with that being said I do have to give this one to the Sonos Beam as it comes with everything a person would need to get it hooked up to their TV.
What Is The Better Soundbar?
I know that the whole “everyone is a winner” thing is pretty lame, but the truth is both the Sony HTX8500 and the Sonos Beam are fantastic soundbars! The price range of these being so similar makes the whole Sony HT-X8500 vs Sonos Beam contest one of the more interesting ones I have done, to be honest with you. I really do like the Sonos Beam and think that it is a great alternative if the Sonos Arc looks good to you, but the asking price is a tad steep. The Sony HTC8500, on the other hand, is pretty special and the more I used it the more I liked it. Yes, there are better Dolby Atmos soundbars out there, but for 400 bucks, I think this is a great soundbar and one that does a very slid job when it comes to bringing the cinema experience home. The winner is the Sony HTX8500 as I am just so impressed by it. Plus a little birdy told me that by the time you read this there could be a generation 2 Sonos Beam which offers Dolby Atmos, so you might be better off holding off for that if you want the Sonos Beam.