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Sonos Beam vs Samsung Soundbar (2020): Which is the Better Entry-Level Soundbar?

We pit the Sonos Beam against Samsung’s entry-level soundbar in its recently released Q series, the Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q60R. Both are priced around the 400 USD mark, with the Samsung soundbar, which comes with a subwoofer, just a bit more expensive than Sonos’ entry-level smart soundbar. To help you guide which one is better for your home, keep reading our detailed comparison below.

Sonos Beam vs Samsung Soundbar Comparison Chart

ModelSonos BeamSamsung Harman Kardon HW-Q60R
Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black Samsung HW-Q60R Harman Kardon 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer, Acoustic Beam Technology,... 
PriceCheck Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon 
Rating
 

 
Wall MountableYes (mount is sold separately)Yes
Dimensions (W x H x D)25.6″ x 2.6″ x 4.0″43.3″ x 2.2″ x 4.0″
Weight6.2 lbs7.93 lbs
Speakers58
Microphones5No
SubwooferNoYes
Audio DecoderDolby Digital 5.1 ch, PCM StereoDolby Digital 5.1 ch, DTS Digital 5.1 ch
ControlsTouch-capacitive buttons, Alexa, Sonos App, AirPlay, TV Remote SyncPhysical buttons, Remote control
Voice AssistantBuilt-in Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantCompatible
Apple AirplayYesNo
Wi-FiYesNo
BluetoothNoYes
Audio InputOptical (through an adapter for the HDMI ARC)Optical, Analog
HDMI12
USB 2.0NoNo
Year of Release20182019
ColorsBlack, WhiteBlack

Design

Both the Sonos Beam and the Samsung soundbar look sleek, but the Beam is slightly shorter

The Sonos Beam (top) and the Samsung Q60R soundbar and subwoofer (bottom)

While both the Sonos Beam and the Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q60R sport a sleek, minimalist look, their grille material and size differ. The Samsung soundbar’s metal grille covers its top and front and has angled sides. Its metal grille lets you see through a small display on the front that lights up to indicate the sound mode you’re on. You can also find the Q60R’s control buttons on the side panel.

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Meanwhile, the Sonos Beam is covered by a cloth fabric grill on the front and comes with touch-capacitive controls at the top, just like the Sonos One. Another difference between the two soundbars is the Sonos Beam is shorter than the Samsung soundbar, so it fits under most TVs. As the Samsung is longer, it doesn’t fit in between the legs of the TV. It comes with a mount though so if your TV is mounted, you can easily install the soundbar underneath your TV.

Overall, the Sonos Beam‘s design looks more updated than the boxy Samsung Q60R soundbar. The Beam also comes with a white version to match lighter colored TV stand or furniture. With that said, the Samsung soundbar still looks good and slim enough that it will still look good and stealthy in front of your TV.

Setup and Control

The Sonos Beam has touch controls and built-in voice assistants while the Samsung Q60R soundbar uses a remote system

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are built-in in the Sonos Beam smart soundbar (left)

Both soundbars offer quick and effortless installation and set-up process. Simply connect the soundbar to your TV through the included HDMI cable and you can start setting up and configuring settings through the Sonos app for the Beam and the Samsung SmartThings for the Q60R soundbar. Take note though that your TV should have a port for HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel) for them to work.

While both soundbars can be used with smart voice assistants, the Sonos takes it up a notch by equipping the Beam smart soundbar with a built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Its five microphones can detect your voice so your soundbar can still hear you even when you’re playing music. You can also control your TV through voice controls. For Apple aficionados, the Sonos Beam is also compatible with Apple AirPlay 2. What the Beam lacks though is a Bluetooth connection and remote control, which the Samsung soundbar has.

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Even though the Samsung Q60R soundbar is not as smart as the Beam, its Bluetooth still lets your stream music on your phone and configure Alexa to work with the Samsung SmartThings app. Some users still like the fact that the Samsung soundbar still comes with a remote control that you can use to change your soundbar settings, while others don’t mind using the app on their device exclusively.

Features

You can customize EQ with the Sonos Beam while the Samsung Q60R soundbar boasts four sound modes and its patent Acoustic Beam Technology

The Samsung soundbar can automatically detect when your console is turned on and switch to Game Pro mode

Apart from the built-in Alexa and Google Assistant, another noteworthy feature of the Sonos Beam is how the Sonos app lets you adjust the EQ in the app’s settings so you configure the equalizer to your desired audio output.

With that said, the Samsung Q60R soundbar beats the Beam when it comes to its sound features. The Q60R soundbar is equipped with Samsung’s Acoustic Beam technology where the audio follows the movement on the TV to give you a panoramic sound experience even though it doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. It also comes with four sound modes: Standard, Surround, Game Mode Pro, and Adaptive.

Standard mode delivers audio as decoded from the source. Surround mode delivers the widest soundstage for better movie-watching experience. The Samsung Q60R soundbar can detect when you turn on your game console and automatically switch to Game Mode Pro. As for its Adaptive mode, the soundbar adjusts the sound depending on what you’re watching. For example, the Samsung soundbar will adjust the vocal clarity if you’re watching something dialogue-heavy.

Sound Quality

Both soundbars deliver a crisp, clear, dynamic sound, but the Samsung Q60R sounds slightly better than the stand-alone Sonos Beam

If you have the Samsung QLED TV, the Samsung soundbar is a no-brainer

Soundbars deliver audio quality that the built-in speakers on slim TVs today just can’t. Once you experience the significantly-improved audio with a soundbar, it’s hard to go back to using the TV without soundbars anymore.

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The Sonos Beam, even as an entry-level stand-alone soundbar, delivers crisp and clear audio that improves the viewing experience. With that said, the Beam will only sound great if used in small to medium-sized rooms. It is equipped with four full-range woofers, one tweeter, three passive radiators for better bass and five Class D amplifiers to give you a great dynamic sound and wide soundstage. The Sonos Beam works best with music and vocals, but it is wanting when it comes to sound effects such as booms and explosions.

Meanwhile, the bass sounds better in the Samsung Q60R soundbar and its subwoofer. It delivers prominent low ends for booms and explosions, crisp highs, and great mids.

Even though this soundbar is only Dolby Digital and not yet Dolby Atmos, its up-firing speakers and Acoustic Beam technology still give that panoramic sound effect for a more immersive experience. Vocals are clear, thanks to its dedicated center channel. The Samsung Q60R soundbar also boasts a 4K pass-through rate at 60Hz to ensure you don’t lose any quality when watching 4K videos.

Verdict

Both the Sonos Beam and Samsung Harman Kardon Q60R offer great value for their price, but the Samsung soundbar delivers slightly better audio

Perhaps the standalone Sonos Beam soundbar is at a disadvantage in this comparison because it doesn’t come with a subwoofer, unlike the Samsung Harman Kardon Q60R. For its price, the Beam still offers clear, crisp sound and smart features. The Beam not only enhances the viewing experience, but makes it a very convenient one as well through its smart features. Keep in mind that the Beam will work best in small to medium-sized rooms. Its sound will really shine through if you pair it with rear speakers and subwoofers, but that also comes with a hefty price tag.

If your TV is a Samsung QLED, going for the Samsung Harman Kardon Q60R is a no-brainer. Since the Q series soundbars are designed with the QLED TVs in mind, the Q60R soundbar and subwoofer will work seamlessly together for your home theater system. With that said, even if your TV is not a Samsung, the Harman Kardon Q60R is still a great purchase for its sound quality. It might not be as smart as the Sonos Beam, but what they lack in smart features, they more than make up for in the cinematic sound department.

Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.