The Sonos Ray is the newest and cheapest model in the American manufacturer’s line of soundbars, but is it worth buying over the more expensive Sonos Beam (Gen 2)? Sonos products are not cheap but they are known for their quality sound. Sonos’ cheapest speaker, the Roam SL, is priced at $159, while its most expensive soundbar, the Arc, has an $899 price tag.

Apart from portable speakers and soundbars, Sonos’ product lineup also includes subwoofers, wall and ceiling speakers, and amps. Despite having been in the consumer audio space for years, Sonos hasn’t launched headphones yet. There are reports it is working on a pair of over-the-ear headphones that will connect over Wi-Fi but there is no confirmed date for when it is expected to launch.


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The Sonos Ray and Beam (Gen 2) feature very different designs. While the Ray has a trapezoid-like build, the Beam (Gen 2) is a pill-shaped soundbar. The Ray is smaller in terms of length and width in comparison to the Beam (Gen 2), but it is actually the taller of the two by a small margin. The visual differences extend to the back where the ports are. The 2nd-gen Beam has an optical port, an ethernet port, and an HDMI eARC port but the Ray has only ethernet and optical ports. Users will find a reset button on the back of both soundbars. Furthermore, the Sonos Ray is lighter at 4.29 lbs (1.95 kg) in comparison to the Beam (Gen 2) which weighs 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg). Both soundbars have touch controls and are available in the same Black and White colorways with a matte finish.

Lower Price Means Fewer Speakers

The Sonos Ray only connects via an optical port

The Ray and Beam (Gen 2) differ in terms of the number of speakers. The former has four Class-D amplifiers, two tweeters, and two high-efficiency mid-woofers while the Beam (Gen 2) has five amplifiers, one center tweeter, four elliptical mid-woofers, and three passive radiators. Sonos has not included microphones on the Sonos Ray which means there is no support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Sonos’s own voice assistant.

Performance is the same across the board as the Ray uses the same 1.4GHz quad-core processor as the more expensive Beam 2. The RAM and built-in storage are also the same at 1GB and 4GB respectively. The two soundbars connect over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, allowing users to stream from a variety of platforms including Spotify and Audible. There is also support for Trueplay and Apple AirPlay 2, and the equalizer can be adjusted on both soundbars using the companion app. The Night Sound feature is also available on the Sonos Ray. However, it is missing support for Dolby Atmos which is one of the main features of the Beam 2.

At $279, the Sonos Ray is definitely much cheaper than the $449 Beam (Gen 2) but that low price brings some serious trade-offs such as the missing HDMI port and the absence of Dolby Atmos. Also, while some folks may prefer the Ray for its lack of microphones (and a smart assistant), it won’t cut it for those who want a smart and affordable soundbar with voice control. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2), on the other hand, tries to justify its price with its better speakers, Dolby Atmos, built-in voice assistants, and an HDMI eARC port which provides an additional connectivity option.