The Sonos Beam smart soundbar and the Sonos Playbase are two premium speakers designed to be paired with televisions. Aptly named, the Beam is a pill-shaped soundbar while the Playbase is a soundbase that can support TVs that weigh up to 75 lbs. Apart from their obvious difference–their size–how else are these wireless speakers different and which will better suit your home theater set-up? Our in-depth comparison of the
Sonos Beam vs Playbase Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Wall Mountable||Yes (mount is sold separately)||No|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||25.6″ x 2.6″ x 4.0″||28.35″ x 2.28″ x 14.96″|
|Weight||6.2 lbs||18.85 lbs|
|Audio Decoder||Dolby Digital, PCM Stereo||Dolby Digital, PCM Stereo|
|Built-in Voice Assistant||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant||No|
|Apple AirPlay 2||Yes||Yes|
|Audio Input||Optical (through an adapter for the HDMI ARC)||Optical|
|Audio Return Channel||Yes||No|
|Year of Release||2018||2017|
|Colors||Black, White||Black, White|
They differ in their grille material as the Beam comes with a cloth grille that extends around its frame whereas the Playbase comes with a more premium-looking and durable metal grille with 43,000 holes. They both have touch-capacitive controls found at their top panels.
Setup and Control
Setting up the
While they don’t come with a physical remote control, both have responsive touch-capacitive controls at the top of their panels for basic controls. The rest of the controls is done on the Sonos app. They can also be controlled through AirPlay 2 for Apple aficionados. Where the Beam beats the Playbase is with its built-in voice assistants. The Beam smart soundbar is equipped with five far-field microphones so Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant can detect your voice even when the room is not quiet. If you want voice controls with the Sonos Playbase, you have to set it up with a separate smart home assistant of choice.
Since they both have WiFi connectivity, you can easily stream music straight from your device. Setting up either the Beam or the Playbase with other Sonos wireless speakers for a fuller surround sound is also made easy by the Sonos app.
They are both equipped with Sonos’ essential features and technology such as adjustable EQ, Trueplay tuning, and Speech Enhancement Feature. When you’re done setting up your wireless speaker, take it up a notch by doing Sonos’ Trueplay tuning to ensure optimal audio output for your room. Using an iOS device, the Trueplay feature detects the sound bouncing off of your walls and furniture and adjusts the audio accordingly. This results in high-quality sound bespoke for your room and your favorite watching spot.
Another way you can fine-tune the audio to your preference is through adjusting the EQ on the Sonos app until you achieve your desired output. They also boast a Speech Enhancement feature in the app that gives better vocal clarity when the decoded sound is softer, such as dialogues between characters that are whispering to each other.
While both wireless speakers deliver high-quality audio that Sonos has been known for, the Playbase has an edge over the Beam because of its size. Because the
The Beam is equipped with three passive radiators for better bass, four full-range woofers, one tweeter, and five Class D amplifiers. Where the Beam shines is in vocal clarity, but when it comes to sound effects such as explosions that require deeper bass, you may find this smart soundbar wanting. With that said, it still offers incredible sound for its price.
Meanwhile, the bigger Sonos Playbase boasts a total of 10 speaker drivers–six mid-range drivers, three tweeters, and one woofer–and 10 Class D amplifiers. All these work together to deliver clear, crisp sound and wide soundstage. The Playbase offers a fuller, more-detailed sound than the Beam, but that is not saying that the Beam smart soundbar sounds bad. They still provide great audio quality, but just not as good as its pricier and bigger sibling.
While both the Sonos Beam and Playbase deliver stunning audio quality that Sonos is known for, the more recent Beam soundbar gets our vote. Its more updated features, smaller footprint, and more attractive price point is hard to beat. If you will only use the soundbar for a small to medium-sized room, the Sonos Beam is the speaker of choice. For a more immersive full surround sound, you can expand your Sonos family by adding subs or other Sonos speakers when the budget allows.
If you are solely after the audio quality though and the cost and smart features are no object, the Sonos Playbase will be a better fit for you. Should you decide you want the convenience of voice controls, you can easily pair it with a smart home assistant of your choice. The Playbase soundbase is especially better if you will use the Sonos speaker in a large room.
Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API