Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam - What will you choose?

With so much choice on the market at the moment, we’re here to help you make the right one! If you’re already intrigued by the simplicity and impressive sound quality Sonos brings, we’re here to help make your decision a little bit easier! What will be your top pick - the best 'performance-per-pound’ Sonos Beam at an affordable £449 or the powerful Dolby Atmos-enabled Sonos Arc at £899?

*Latest Update 18/05/2022*

We've also updated this blog to include the Sonos Beam Gen 2 announcement. For more on this, please refer to our Sonos Beam announcement blog or jump to the relevant section below.

Why not check out our YouTube video comparing the Sonos Beam Gen 2 with the Arc below!

Jump to Sonos Beam Gen 2

The Sonos Beam is Sonos's more compact and affordable 3-in-1 soundbar and a fantastic way to improve your TV audio. While the Sonos Arc is Sonos's latest soundbar with modern desirable features such as Dolby Atmos.

Jump to...

The Sonos Ray Compact Soundbar (new for 2022)

Sonos Ray white lifestyle Sonos ray lifestyle image black

Before we get into the battle of the Sonos Atmos soundbars, it's worth mentioning the new kid on the block - the smaller, Dolby Digital Sonos Ray which was announced in May 2022.

The Sonos Ray is perfect for a smaller room, secondary TV watching space like a bedroom, or compact/ older TV set that perhaps doesn't support Dolby Atmos or doesn't need a large soundbar to back it up. Like the Beam and Arc, the Sonos Ray can be used with a Sub & Surrounds and is fully compatible with the Sonos system and Airplay 2.

How does the Sonos Ray compare to the Beam Gen 2 and Arc?
  • Its smaller 557mm length makes it perfect for a smaller lounge or for use with a smaller TV. All drivers in the Ray are forward-facing, meaning this soundbar can be recessed into a media cabinet or shelf without impeding any upward or sideways firing drivers.
  • Unlike the Beam Gen 2 and Arc, the Sonos Ray can only process up to Dolby Digital surround sound quality, and isn't equipped to play the height and 3D sound channels of Dolby Atmos.
  • The Sonos Ray relies on an Optical connection to your TV, unlike the eARC/ HDMI ARC required when using the Beam or Arc to their full potential. This connection type is more common across older or lower spec TV models.
  • It's Sonos' cheapest soundbar at £279 making it a perfect option for those with a smaller budget.
  • Using just 4 internal drivers (two tweeters and two mid-woofers), all of which are forward-firing, the Ray offers a narrower soundstage than the Beam or flagship Sonos Arc.

Sonos Beam

sonos-beam sonos-beam-features

Sonos' compact, 3.0 Dolby Digital Soundbar could be the perfect choice for your home cinema system.

At a Glance:

  • Price: £399
  • Connection to TV: HDMI Arc
  • Codec Supported: Dolby Digital

Top Features:

  • 5 internal Drivers
  • Dolby Digital Surround Sound
  • Night Mode
  • Speech Enhancement

What We Love:

Compact Surround Sound solution for a small-medium sized room with the option to create a 5.1 surround sound system with Sonos Sub and 2x Sonos One SLs

Below updated for September 2021

Sonos Beam Gen 2

Sonos Beam Gaming Sonos Beam G2 Grille

Brand new for 2021, the Sonos Beam has been refreshed to support Dolby Atmos surround sound along with Amazon Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos music. The new Sonos Beam Gen 2 announcement will be music to the ears of Sonos fans who want to enjoy Dolby Atmos in a smaller room.

At a Glance:

  • Price: £449
  • Connection to TV: HDMI eARC
  • Max Codec Supported: Dolby Atmos
Top Features: 

  • 5 Internal Drivers
  • 40% faster CPU
  • 5 speaker arrays to handle Atmos height channels
  • Dolby Atmos Surround Sound
  • Night Mode
  • Speech Enhancement
What We Love: 

A 40% faster Central Processing Unit makes the Beam G2 capable of producing a five speaker array to add height and space channels. This will bring your Dolby Atmos content to life, and also opens up the possibility for hi-res music streaming with Amazon Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos Music.

Sonos Arc

sonos-arc-with-sub Sonos Arc lifestyle

The flagship Sonos Arc offers Dolby Atmos compatibility, the latest and greatest in surround sound audio.

At a Glance:

  • Price: £899
  • Connection to TV: HDMI eArc or Arc
  • Max Codec Supported: Dolby Atmos
Top Features:

  • 11 internal Drivers - 2 upward-firing
  • Dolby Atmos Surround Sound
  • Night Mode
  • Speech Enhancement

What We Love:

If you want the best surround sound, 3D listening experience as part of the Sonos ecosystem, look no further than the Sonos Arc.

 

Specs: 

Before we dive into the different features separating the Beam and Arc, let's have a closer look at their top specs side by side:

Sonos Beam

Sonos Arc

Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Dolby Atmos Surround Sound
HDMI ARC Support
HDMI eARC Support
Number of Speaker Drivers 5 11
Upward Firing Drivers
Screen Size recommendation 55" and below 55" and above

 

Smart Features

Both soundbars share some really desirable features such as Speech Enhancement - which will make the dialogue clearer so you’re not limited to subtitles, as well as Night Mode to help prevent late at night disturbances and inbuilt Voice Assistant for hands-free control! The Arc, however, does support fully uncompressed Dolby Atmos surround sound to give you the very best audio experience.

Sonos Beam

✓ Dolby Atmos surround sound using psychoacoustic processing

✓ Nightmode and Speech Enhancement

✓ Voice Assistant Integration - Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant

✓ Airplay 2 compatible

✓ Perfect for improving the TV sound quality at a lower price point

✖ Simulated Atmos

Sonos Arc

✓ Latest Dolby Atmos surround sound

✓ Nightmode and Speech Enhancement

✓ Voice Assistant Integration - Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant

✓ Airplay 2 compatible

✖ Atmos can't be passed through some HDMI ARC, so may not benefit depending on TV

 

Sonos Arc White

Sound

Impressive technology means both soundbars provide a rich detailed sound to ensure a cinematic experience is delivered.

Sonos Beam

✓ 5 internal drivers

✓ Front Left, Centre and Right Surround Sound Channels

✖ No Upward-Firing Drivers

✓ Can be paired with a Sub and 2x Sonos One SLs for a 5.1.2 Surround Sound System

 

Sonos Arc

✓ 11 internal drivers, 2 of which are upward-firing and 2 sideways-firing

✓ Front Left, Centre and Right Channels along with 2 height channels

✓ 3D soundstage created

✓ 20% more immersive than the Beam with Dolby Atmos and Upward-Firing Drivers

✓ Can be paired with a Sub and 2x Sonos One SLs for a 5.1.2 Surround Sound System

Design

Both Soundbars maintain a sleek premium finish Sonos are known for and come in both black and white. Touch screen buttons are easily accessible on the top of each soundbar, as well as touch microphone controls allowing you to turn voice assistant on and off.

Sonos Beam

✓ 26in in length (half the size of the Arc), so ideal for smaller rooms or TVs 55" and under

✓ Suited to both wall mounting and furniture placement

✖ Not the best option for larger TVs or open-plan spaces

Sonos Arc

✓ At just over a metre in length, the Arc is ideal for TVs 55" and above.

✓ Sleek and modern design with a metal speaker grille. Suited to wall mounting and furniture placement

✖ Could be overpowering in smaller spaces

Sonos Beam White Sonos Arc Black

Best For

Sonos Beam

People with small-medium sized rooms, with TV’s roughly 55” and below. This is a great soundbar for people looking to maximise every penny of their budget, as it offers excellent value for money and even has awards to prove it

Sonos Arc

People with medium-large sized rooms, with TV’s 55” and above, looking for a cinematic experience with added benefits of popular up and coming codec Dolby Atmos.

SHOP SONOS BEAM

SHOP SONOS ARC

We think these two soundbars are both fantastic in their own rights, so it really comes down to what soundbar will be more suitable for your environment as well as your intended listening experience so one isn’t necessarily better than the other! Hopefully, now it’ll be clear what option would be the best, though if you do need any further help or assistance, please feel free to contact one of our friendly customer service advisers at info@smarthomesounds.co.uk or 08006771100.