I cannot remember the last time I was as excited to write one of these vs articles as I am this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc one! The Sonos Arc really needs no introduction at this point! It is a soundbar that I and most other people hold in very high regard. The original Sonos Beam was a fantastic lower priced alternative to the Arc, but with the Sonos Beam Gen 2, Sonos is bringing Dolby Atmos to the table so it is going to be very interesting to see how it matches up against the Arc and if the Arc is worth the much higher price point! I have looked at the Sonos Arc many times. Its most epic matchups are when it goes head to head with Sony or Bose like in my rather recent Bose Soundbar 900 vs Sonos Arc which is a better soundbar? article. This time it is brother vs brother as it is Sonos vs Sonos… inside a steel cage!
The price has to be where we start this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc fight as that is where we always start. Now, before we get into this, I do have to say that there is a pretty damn big price difference between these two. The thing is, neither one is out of line in what they are asking you to pay! The big question is if the extra money for the Arc is worth it for you personally.
Sonos Beam Gen 2:
As I write this the Sonos Beam Gen 2 has only been out for a short while. The asking price (RRP) for this should be $449.99 which I think is a fantastic price, especially when you consider the original Beam was only 50 bucks cheaper. I think that the improvements made here are more than worth that extra 50 bucks. This is clearly much, much cheaper than the Sonos Arc. I did shop around and as it is new there are not many deals out there and actually many people are trying to pull a fast one and have this listed at scalper prices! Do not pay over RRP for this, more will be coming into stock, which is pretty much guaranteed. Anyway, I think for a Dolby Atmos soundbar, this is amazing value for money and well worth every penny of that $449.99 asking price. I could not even fathom anyone paying $399.99 for an original Beam overpaying the extra fifty for this!
With a price of $799.99, the Sonos Arc is a heck of a lot more expensive than the Sonos Beam Gen 2. What we have here with the Arc, is the premier soundbar that Sonos currently offer. I think the asking price for this is right around what you would expect for a soundbar of this quality. It provides Dolby Atmos and it is one of the most popular soundbars on the market and has been since it was released. Now, you can look around for this, but finding a deal is not exactly easy. I have looked all around and at best you are looking at perhaps knocking $50 off the RRP. I am sure when Sonos do release a follow up to the Arc, we will start to see the price come down a bit more.
This really is a hard one to call. The Sonos Arc can be as much as double the price depending on where you shop! It is a much larger and louder soundbar, but is it actually worth all that extra money? Hmm, I am not so sure it is to the average Joe. I know I am pretty high on the Sonos Beam Gen 2 as I have just had the pleasure of using it and it is new and exciting. However, asking someone to pay a few hundred bucks more for an Arc is not something I am fully comfortable doing, to be honest with you.
One of the most interesting categories in this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc matchup is the design. These are very different in their design and I think that is what makes this so compelling. I actually like the design of both of these soundbars and think that either one of these is going to look great sitting under your TV.
Sonos Beam Gen 2:
I think that Sonos was very clever with the design for the Sonos Beam Gen 2. They already were onto something great with the first generation and I am sure many people will look at an image of the original Beam and the Gen 2 and not be able to tell the difference from just an image. Be sure to check out this short Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Unboxing + Setup video where you can get a better idea of what this thing is going to look like. The one area of the original Sonos Beam I was not a massive fan of was that fabric grill. I know some people like a fabric grill, but for me, I much prefer plastic in terms of the way it looks and how durable it is. The Sonos Beam Gen 2 has done away with the fabric grill and they have used plastic instead which I am very happy about. It helps add to the overall high quality look and feel that the soundbar has.
Coming in at 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0, the Gen 2 is the same size as the original. The smaller size of the Beam I feel is a massive selling point. You could have a TV like this Hisense 40-Inch Class H4 Series LED Roku Smart TV and it would fit perfectly in between the legs, actually, you could probably get away with this between the legs of most sizes of TV that are 32 inches and up. The Sonos Beam Gen 2 has that same rounded design as the original and I like it. Do not get me wrong, I like a more angular and “boxy” kind of soundbar too, but there is no denying that there is something much sleeker and sexier about a soundbar that has a more rounded design like the Beam does.
Around the back of the Sonos Beam Gen 2, we have a layout that is near identical to the original Sonos Beam. Sonos does not have an optical port on here. To be honest, I am fine with that as this is a Dolby Atmos soundbar and to be able to experience that you have to use HDMI. However, if you do need to connect this via an optical cable, Sonos have you covered and I will touch on that later. You also have your ethernet port and a little button that is there to connect the Gen 2 to a subwoofer or a set of satellite speakers if you want to add a bit more awesomeness to your home theatre or living room. In all, this is a very well made soundbar and I would have to say that I feel the smaller size does make it feel a bit more solid than the Arc.
Be sure to have a look at this Sonos Arc Lowdown: Everything You Need To Know In 5 Mins which gives you a much better idea of why so many people love the design of the Sonos Arc. The Sonos Arc is considerably larger than the Sonos Beam Gen 2. This is coming in at 45” x 3.4” x 4.5” so you will need a much larger TV unit to have this sitting on top. It does also mean that you will need at least a 52 inch (and that does depend on the model of the TV) TV in order for this too it between the legs of it. While it is large, the Sonos Arc is a gorgeous looking soundbar and you can actually see that Sonos took some of the elements that they did here and put them into the Gen 2! I think this is a very sleek and stylish looking soundbar and like Sonos always does, you can get this in both white and black.
The Sonos Arc has a very sexy curvy design to it that I am a big fan of. It gives the soundbar a real elegance and makes it something that is going to look great in a living room or a home theatre. It has a solid plastic feel to it and I love the plastic grill that Sonos use on the front of here. Now, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a newer soundbar and it is more “compact” in its design, but I must say that as solid as the Arc feels, I do think that Sonos has clearly learned a few tricks along the way as it has a more solid feel to it. Do not get me wrong, this is premium in every sense of the word, and when side by side with the original Beam there is no question that the Arc has a more solid and premium feel to it. With the Gen 2, things are not that simple!
As we moonwalk around to the back of the Sonos Arc we can see that the sleek design Sonos went for at the front carries onto the back of the soundbar. Here you do not have a ton of ports to worry about or get confused by. There is just an HDMI port on here for you to connect the soundbar to your TV. As this is a Dolby Atmos soundbar that does make sense to me. However, if you do have to use this via an optical cable, you can still do so thanks to the extra cable that Sonos gives you with this.
I really do like the design of both the Sonos Arc and the Sonos Beam Gen 2. I could probably make an argument and accept an argument for either one of these. I like how the Arc has that more curvy kind of style and the larger size is certainly something that appeals to me. However, that new plastic grill on the Sonos Beam Gen 2 I think really does take what was already a great looking soundbar and makes it even better. It may be because the Gen 2 is new, but I think I may slightly like the design of that better.
Now, this is where things pick up! This Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc has been heading to this category. These are both Dolby Atmos soundbars, but the big question is if the Sonos Arc is worth all that extra money, or does the Sonos Beam Gen 2 give you a better experience?
Sonos Beam Gen 2:
For a smaller soundbar the original Beam was fantastic in what it offered. However, for the Sonos Beam Gen 2, Sonos went that extra mile and made the upgrade of having this be able to support Dolby Atmos! I am a huge advocate of Dolby Atmos these days and I think once you have experienced it there is no going back. I watched Logan through the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and while I have had the 4K for a while, this was the first time I experienced the Dolby Atmos track on it. Wow, this thing was awesome and while I do not think it is as impressive as the Dolby Atmos the Sonos Arc gives you. I cannot think of another soundbar of this stature that is giving you a Dolby Atmos experience like you get here. I was very impressed with the angles that the sound was hitting me and it did fill my living room with sound.
One area that the Sonos Beam Gen 2 really surprised me was with the bass it provided. The guy who made this Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Review – Hear The BASS! Sound Samples Included Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Review – Hear The BASS! Sound Samples Included video clearly has the same feelings as I do. For a soundbar that is on the smaller size, this does have some serious power to it and I think Sonos need a big pat on the back for what they have done here. It can actually get pretty damn loud too and when I was watching Deadpool 2 I was very impressed with what I was hearing. The one scene that springs to mind is when X Force are all jumping out of the plane and the AC/DC is rocking, I was like “hell yeah” that is what I am talking about. It doesn’t get quite as loud as some larger soundbars I have played around with, such as the Arc, but I was still very impressed. While I am a big fan of a dedicated subwoofer, I am sure many people will be more than happy with the level of bass this provides.
The wife and I watched The Revenant just last night (well last night as I write this) and the way the Sonos Beam Gen 2 delvers a really balanced sound was something that I found fantastic. One aspect of the Gen 2 that I thought was great was the way it handles dialogue. The “clear voice” on offer with this is great, if you are someone who hates how dialogue can come out of TV speakers, either way too loud or way too quiet. You are going to be well and truly amazed at how clear it is coming out of this. The thing that is great, you can have a movie or a TV show that has a lot of action going on, but the dialogue fits in perfectly, but not at the expense of the other sound that is going on.
The main reason that so many people love the Sonos Arc and the main reason it is so highly regarded is the sound quality it produces. Just take a quick look at this SONOS ARC – The Best Sound Bar I’ve Heard So Far video that showcases why this is such an impressive soundbar. I want to start by talking about Dolby Atmos, the first time I experienced a soundbar with Dolby Atmos, I knew there was no going back for me. The level of Dolby Atmos that the Sonos Arc provides is great. It truly does fill the room with sound and the way it comes at you can give you a whole new appreciation for a movie. Most new movies have a Dolby Atmos track and one I watched with this was Thor Ragnarök which actually has a bit of an iffy reputation with the Dolby Atmos track. I though, after watching this on the regular DVD, noticed a massive difference and thought that it was done pretty damn well. Especially the battle on the Rainbow Bridge on Asgard.
While it does not come with a dedicated subwoofer, the Sonos Arc still packs a fair bit of punch in regards to the bass that it provides. Granted having a subwoofer is the preferred option, but I am sure most people will be very happy with the level of bass that the Arc is offering. A family movie that I think is pretty underrated is Monster Trucks which has a whole lot of bass to it thanks to it being a sci-fi movie about a monster truck that has a monster living in it! I found that when I had the Arc cranked up pretty loud, it was quite impressive and did provide a nice amount of power to the sound I was experiencing.
The most recent movie I watched with the Sonos Arc was Alien: Covenant. This is actually the third time I have watched this movie and I still cannot decide if I like it or not. Anyway, my feelings on the movie are not what I am trying to get across here. The point is, when it comes to movies that have a lot of dialogue, the Arc offers some of the clearest voice quality that you will ever hear. Honestly, the step up from your TV speakers to this in regards to the dialogue quality is amazing! Taking a movie like Alien: Covenant that does have a lot of softer spoken dialogue, mixed with action, you really notice how well balanced the sound the Arc provides is.
The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a pretty big step up from the original Sonos Beam. I mean, based on sound alone there is no reason at all for someone to buy the original Beam now that we have the Gen 2! I mean if you can get the original for like half the price it might be worth considering. Anyway, back on point. While the Gen 2 is a step up from the original. Side by side with the Arc, I do have to say that the Sonos Arc is still the premier soundbar that Sonos is offering. It just has a “fuller” level of Dolby Atmos. These both sound great, but the Arc has to win this round.
The Remote Control
It is always kind of funny when I do a vs article like this Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc and Sonos is involved. I say that because if you know anything about Sonos, you know how rare it is for them to actually do well in this round. As they are both Sonos soundbars we are looking at today, Sonos will get to add a check to their win column here today!
Sonos Beam Gen 2: The one missed opportunity with the Sonos Beam Gen 2 if you ask me was not including a remote control. The original Sonos Beam and the Sonos Arc do not have a remote and they have managed. The idea with this version of the Beam is the same as the last one. You use the Sonos App to control the soundbar. Now, I always give Sonos credit as their app is great, it is actually one of the better soundbar apps that is out there. The level of control it gives you over your soundbar is awesome. However, with this being a new version of the Beam and it having a few notable improvements, even one of those small Fire Stick remotes offering basic functions would have been awesome. You can control this with Alexa or the buttons on top, but that has never been my cup of tea.
Sonos Arc: Pretty much all I said about the Sonos Beam Gen 2 can be applied here for the Sonos Arc too. There is no remote control included here, you can change the volume with the buttons on top of the soundbar if you want, but in this day and age who the heck actually wants to do that? The way that you control this is with the Sonos app. While I am not a fan of being forced to use an app, I can say that it works and works very well.
The Verdict: You really cannot pick a winner here so I will raise the hands of both the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and the Sonos Arc and count this as a win for them both. Look, Sonos has decided that the day of the remote control is over and I can in a small way respect that. I though, will always think that they should throw in a basic remote control with their devices as not everyone wants to have their phone with them all the time.
What Is In The Box?
For once the what is in the box category is actually pretty interesting. It is a welcome segment in our Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc showdown as I have always felt that Sonos do a great job when it comes to packaging their stuff. Here you will see what you are getting for your hard earned money!
Sonos Beam Gen 2: First thing I have to say about the Sonos Beam Gen 2 in regards to the box is that it is a box I really like. It is a box that is not too big and Sonos has packaged everything nice and snugly inside, but not at the expense of it being hard to get out. You are getting in here pretty much what you get with every Sonos soundbar. As well as the actual Gen 2, you get your power cable, instruction booklet, HDMI cable and they also give you that little HDMI to optical cable converter thingy as well. Just remember to get Dolby Atmos you do need to use HMDI.
Sonos Arc: The box that the Sonos Arc comes in is pretty damn long, but that is to be expected. Still, make sure you can get this thing home safely if you are buying it in a store. You get your gorgeous looking Sonos Arc soundbar. You also get the power cable, an HDMI cable, and your instructions too. Sonos also gives you an HDMI to optical cable that is there to make sure you are covered in case you do want to hook it up to your TV via an optical cable.
The Verdict: I am awarding this round to both the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and the Sonos Arc as double winners again. Apart from lacking a remote control. Sonos is arguably the best company out there when it comes to making sure people have all they need inside the box to get their new soundbar connected to their TV.
What Is The Best Soundbar?
This Sonos Beam Gen 2 vs Sonos Arc has been a real blast to put together for you guys and anything that gives me an excuse to watch movies is great. However, we are at the point where I have to say which one of these, I feel is the best! Side by side I do have to say that the Sonos Arc is a better sounding soundbar than the Sonos Beam Gen 2. It offers better Dolby Atmos, it can go a lot louder and it just offers a more “fuller” kind of sound. The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a fantastic upgrade and the Dolby Atmos and the sound, in general, is great. However, side by side I do have to say that the Arc does sound better. Truth be told, you guys cannot go wrong with either one of these soundbars as they are both awesome!