Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Gen 1 which is better?

Today we are doing an epic match that is the Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Beam Gen 1! I think that the Sonos Beam is a fantastic soundbar and for its size, it really is the best you can get. Sonos had a huge amount of success with it, but the follow up is here the Sonos Beam Gen 2. Just recently we looked at Klipsch Cinema 600 vs Sonos Beam which is better?. However, I think that the matchup we have going on here today is one that many people have been interested to see. Is the Gen 2 a worthy successor to the already fantastic Sonos Beam? 

The Price:

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.

Sonos Beam Gen 2:

Sonos Beam Gen 2 (Black)

The Sonos Beam Gen 2 can be had for $449.99 which as far as I can tell is the RRP for this soundbar. Currently, on Amazon, these things have flown out of stock, so if you want one you have to buy it from a third party seller, and as you have probably guessed there is a mark up on it. At best, it is listed there for $499.99 at worst, someone is wanting over 500 bucks for this thing! I think that the RRP for a soundbar of this kind of quality that also has Dolby Atmos is actually excellent value for money. So much so that it kind of makes it hard to recommend the first Beam at its RRP at all. Of course, I had a look on eBay and I was surprised at what I saw. There were of course the jokers trying to get a ton more over RRP. However, many stores on eBay have this listed very close to the RRP. As I write this the Beam Gen 2 is pretty new, more will come in stock so do not be tempted to pay an inflated price for one!

Sonos Beam:

Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black

As I write this the Gen 2 has not been out all that long so it has not really had an impact on the price of the Sonos Beam just yet. The asking price for the Sonos Beam is $399.99 which I think is a fair price to be fair. If you were to shop around at other online stores apart from Amazon, you probably can get it a bit cheaper, actually on Amazon I have seen this for as low as 360 bucks. Now, on eBay, some sellers know what is up and you can get some great deals on the original Sonos Beam right now. I have seen it go for under 300 bucks brand new! Be sure to shop around for this as deals for it as sure to be coming in thick and fast once the Gen 2 becomes the standard.

The Verdict: I have to say that the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is the better purchase here. If you go strictly at the RRP, the Dolby Atmos you get with the Gen 2 is more than worth that extra 50 bucks asking price alone, but overall I feel that you are getting more bang for your buck with the Gen 2. Unless you can get an amazing deal on the first Sonos Beam, I am talking like 200 to 300 bucks max, I do not actually think the original Beam comes anywhere close in this round.  

The Design:

Our next category in our Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Gen 1 fight is the design. Now, this is very interesting as these are incredibly similar. I think that the Sonos Beam already had a very smart style to it, but Sonos has actually went that bit further for the follow up. Let’s take a closer look at what both of these soundbars look like.

Sonos Beam Gen 2:

The Sonos Beam Gen 2 at first glance may look exactly the same as the original Beam. Before we get to my opinions on the design have a look at this Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Unboxing & Review – Big Sound & Dolby Atmos! video which gives you a nice close look at the design of this soundbar. I already thought that the design of the original Beam was great, but the design of the Gen 2 is even better. The reason I say this is because it has done away with that fabric grill. Instead, we get a plastic grill that wraps around, similar to what Sonos did with the Sonos Arc. It still has that very premium quality that the Beam and the Arc have and in general when you take it out of the box, it does have that Sonos premium build quality that the majority of their products do tend to have. It has the same curvy design, the same kind of personality, but it is just fine tuning what was already a great design.

The dimensions of the Sonos Beam Gen 2 are 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0. Those are the exact same dimensions as the original Sonos Beam! This means if you already had the Beam, but wanted to upgrade for that sweet Dolby Atmos, you can literally put this exactly where you have your original Beam. This can fit comfortably between the legs of any TV that is 43 inches or higher, heck, actually, some 32 inch TVs might even be able to handle this bad boy between their legs! In going back to that plastic grill for a second, while I think it is much better than the fabric one in both the way that it looks as well as how it protects the drivers. I can see why some people would prefer the fabric grill that is on the original model. I will say this, the plastic grill is a heck of a lot easier to clean and you will not be worried about ripping or tearing it!

The back of the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is also very similar to the original model. You have the same HDMI port, the same ethernet port, and the same power port. You also have that little button that is there to pair it with a compatible subwoofer like the amazing Sonos Sub 3. One improvement that I would have liked to have seen here is the inclusion of a USB port, but to be fair if Sonos do not think you need one then who am I to disagree with. In all, it does look very similar to what they did before, but the tweaks that have been made here do make it a better designed soundbar in my humble opinion.

Sonos Beam: The Sonos Beam truly is one of the best looking smaller, but still high quality soundbars on the market. One of the things that many people love about the Beam is its size. This comes in at 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0 which means even if you have a smaller TV like this Hisense 40-Inch Class H4 Series LED Roku Smart TV it is going to look great sitting under it.

I suggest you watch this Sonos Beam : Unboxing, Setup & Impression video so you can get a better look at the Beam and how it will look under a TV. I know that some people are put off by soundbars that are larger and that is what makes this such an attractive option for so many people. Sonos like they have done with the Arc, has made this a nice and curvey kind of soundbar and that is something which I really like. You can get the Sonos Beam in both white and black, I prefer the black one, to be honest with you, but having a choice is never a bad thing.

I think that the Sonos Beam has a very sturdy and strong feel to it. Once you open up the box and take this out, you will be impressed at how “premium” the device feels. Sonos makes great stuff and this is no different. One thing that I think is something you will either love or hate is the grill. The Sonos Beam has a fabric grill that wraps all the way around it. I always prefer a plastic or metal grill, but I must admit this is a very cool effect. It gives the soundbar a real sense of class and that is something I know my parents love about the Beam. My issue is that fabric grills can be easily damaged and they can get dust and pet hair all over them too.

On the back of the Sonos Beam, we do not actually have a great deal to talk about. You have an HDMI port for connecting the Beam to your TV. If you do want to connect this via an optical cable, you do get an HDMI to optical cable with it which is a very nice touch. You also have an ethernet port on here too. There is a button that is there for you to link it to satellite speakers or a subwoofer if you so wish.

The Verdict:

While the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Beam Gen 2 both have the same dimensions and design. I think the plastic grill makes the Gen 2 an overall higher quality soundbar in my opinion. Not only this, but I also feel that it looks much better too. Of course, I am sure there are some people who do much prefer the look of the fabric grill. I just wish that they put a USB port on the back of the Gen 2 in case any fixes need to be done.

The Sound:

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.

Sonos Beam Gen 2: Man am I excited to talk about the sound capabilities of the Sonos Beam Gen 2!

Before I was given the opportunity to check out the Gen 2 for myself, I watched this Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review | Incredible Dialogue Performance & Dolby Atmos! video and was even more excited about getting my grubby little hands on one. The big draw here and the main reason for upgrading over the Gen 1 is the fact this supports Dolby Atmos content. Many modern movies are made with Dolby Atmos in mind and it can truly make your movie experience that much more epic. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is not just an awesome movie in general. It also utilizes Dolby Atmos to great effect. I do not think it is quite as booming and “3D” as what you get with the more expensive Sonos Arc, however, it more than holds its own. Actually, at this price point, this is one of the better Dolby Atmos supported soundbars that I have had the pleasure of using.

I will always talk about how great the dialogue pumped out of the Sonos Beam is. I would bet many people who have a Gen 1 will probably wonder how it could actually get any better! Hey, I am with you that original Sonos Beam offers incredible dialogue clarity. However, side by side I do have to say that the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a bit of a step up. It is the kind of thing that is very hard to explain, but there is certainly a noticeable difference. My wife and I watched the last few episodes of season 8 from Desperate Housewives (we were rewatching the show on Disney Plus) and we both said how great the sound quality was. It was when the voice over was happening that my wife really noticed it. She is not usually someone who notices this kind of thing so it had to have been great for her to actually say something about it.

I was impressed with the overall performance of the Sonos Beam Gen 2. I found that it offered a very good balanced sound, just like the original Beam did. I cranked it up pretty damn loud too and was impressed with how the room was filled with sound. Even at the louder volumes, the Dolby Atmos effect was great. The scene in Avengers: Infinity War when Iron Man, Spidey, Dr. Strange, and The Guardians of the Galaxy are fighting Thanos is amazing. I cranked this up loud and the part when Spider-Man is jumping through the portals Dr. Strange makes was as good a “surround sound” as I have encountered from a soundbar in a long time. Look, I know you cannot get surround sound from just a soundbar, but this comes close to tricking you into thinking that the sound is hitting you from all angles.

Sonos Beam: Small size, but big sound is what the Sonos Beam is all about!

Check out this A Week With The Sonos Beam || Is The Smart Soundbar Worth it? video to see someone else’s views on the sound. I have not really come across anyone who was not impressed with the sound quality the Sonos Beam produces. Now, the Beam was released before the whole Dolby Atmos thing started becoming the standard. Still, this offers some fantastic and impressive room filling sound. What I really like about the Sonos Beam is that you get a very balanced kind of sound. Rather than excel in one area, it does everything well a great example of this is Home Alone. At the start of the movie where the kids and everyone is shouting and there is just a ton of noise going on. It really does feel like you are in that house with all that chaos going on. It manages to blend different types of sounds together very well.

I do want to take a moment to talk about the way that the Sonos Beam makes dialogue so clear. I have a few family members who have the Beam (based on my recommendation of course) and they are all impressed with how clear dialogue is. I recently watched A Time To Kill on Netflix as it was just added. It is a tremendous movie, but it is a movie that is all about the story and what people are saying. When you watch something like that through the Beam, you never miss a beat as everything is so clear and easy to understand. If you are hard of hearing and struggle to hear what characters are saying with your TV speakers. You are going to be blown away by just how crystal clear the Sonos Beam is.

I have talked about how balanced the sound is and how good it is at producing clear dialogue. As a huge fan of Back to the Future I have seen this movie so many times and I pretty much get every new release. The opening scene where Marty blows Doc Brown’s speakers and The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and The News starts in really does have some kick to it. I think bass and power in general are far better than many people would think comes out of this little soundbar.

The Verdict: The Sonos Beam was and actually still is a great sounding soundbar. I really do have no complaints about it at all. However, there is a reason that they decided to make and release the Sonos Beam Gen 2. Of course, it has Dolby Atmos, and that alone if you ask me makes it the winner of this category. However, the general sound I feel just has a more room filling and dynamic kind of feel with the Gen 2.   

The Remote Control

So far in all the articles that I have done which put two soundbars head to head, Sonos has only come out on top once… and technically that was not even a win against another soundbar! Well with this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Gen 1 showdown, Sonos has to come out as the winner here!

Sonos Beam Gen 2: As Sonos did not include a remote with the original Sonos Beam or the Sonos Arc  I knew the chances of the Sonos Beam Gen 2 getting one were slim. Still, I must admit as they included Dolby Atmos and a plastic grill, I did have a wee bit of hope that they would have thrown in a basic remote control, but nope! Just like the original Sonos Beam, you need to use the Sonos App to control the Gen 2. I always make sure to say that the app is great and gives you all the control you need over the soundbar. However, it is still a pain for me and something I do not like. You do have the same style of physical controls on the top of the soundbar as you do the original Beam so I guess that is something. However, I have not had to get up off my butt to change something to do with the TV since 1984 so I am not starting now!

Sonos Beam: I find it pretty interesting that Sonos with the Arc and the Sonos Beam decided that people no longer need a remote control. I for one am not down with this at all, I love a good remote control, hell the more buttons the better for me, but I get I am kind of weird. With the Sonos Beam, you do not get a remote control. There are controls on the top of the bar that are handy. However, Sonos does have a fantastic app that gives you control over every aspect that you could possibly want when it comes to your soundbar. It works very well, but for someone like me who likes to have their phone away when they are watching a movie, this is actually a bit of a pain in the butt.

The Verdict: The winner here is Sonos, not the Gen 2 or the Gen 1, but just Sonos in general. I get that for some people the fact that you have to use a phone or a tablet to control the soundbar will be fine. For me, it is something I am not a fan of. I have said this a million times. I do think that Sonos should have put at the very least a basic remote control with both of these.    

What Is In The Box?

Next up in this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Gen 1 battle we have what you can expect to find in the box for both of these soundbars. This is a tricky one as these are pretty much identical in what they are offering you inside the box. I know it is not the most “exciting” category to talk about, but knowing what you are getting for your money is pretty important.

Sonos Beam Gen 2: Talk about dejavu! Things are very similar with the Sonos Beam Gen 2 in regards to what you are getting in the box. As a matter of fact, it is pretty much exactly the same as what you get here. I do have to say, I like how the box is not too large and everything inside it was securely packaged and it was not a pain in the ass to get any of it out so that is a bonus. As well as the actual Sonos Beam Gen 2, you also get your HDMI cable, your handy HDMI to optical cable, your power cord, and a set of instructions as well.

Sonos Beam: As the Sonos Beam is not massive, you do not have to worry about this coming in a box so big that your kids will want to build a fort out of it. Sonos gives you an HDMI cable inside the box which is always something I like to see. They also give you that HDMI to optical cable I talked about earlier. This is such an awesome touch and a great bonus that ensures the Beam is ready to connect to your TV no matter how you want to do it.

The Verdict: This round here has to go down as a tie. It is like the end of the 1994 Royal Rumble when Bret Hart and Lex Luger were declared double winners. If you are an old school wrestling fan that reference was awesome, if not you are wondering what the hell am I talking about! Anyway, I love that Sonos no matter if it is the Gen 1 or the Gen 2 make sure you have all you need inside the box.   

Which Is The Better Soundbar?

I have had a lot of fun putting this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Gen 1 article together today. I have said it a million times here on the site, but the Sonos Beam really is a fantastic soundbar. The power Sonos manages to pack in here despite the small stature is fantastic. It really does produce room filling sound and it is something that is going to blow your mind if you come straight to this from your TV speakers. The thing is as great as the Sonos Beam is, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 really is the better soundbar. I like the original Beam, but I think the Gen 2 trumps it in every regard. They kept what was great about the Sonos Beam, but they made some very important improvements, most notably the Dolby Atmos functionality. I also much prefer the plastic grill they have here.

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