My TV is on its last legs. It’s a 30-inch Samsung display from 2013 that resides on the dresser in front of my bed, and while it is the perfect size for my bedroom, its speakers are bordering on useless. Anytime I crank the volume past a certain point, low pitch sounds distort into droning noises that overpower dialogue and softer sounds. This is why I was so excited to try the Sonos Beam, which let me upgrade my TV without really upgrading my TV.

The Sonos Beam promised to solve a lot of problems. While my TV is the perfect fit in my cramped Brooklyn apartment, I didn’t want to risk repositioning furniture just to accommodate a new display. That’s why I enlisted the help of the compact Sonos Beam, which delivers exceptional audio quality with a small spatial footprint. Based on that description, I was hopeful that it could fix the biggest issue with my TV while being just small enough for my room.

Could simply adding an external speaker to my old TV change the way I watch shows and play video games?

  • Product: Sonos Sound Beam
  • Price: $399 normally / $349 from November 22 to 26
  • Perfect for: Audiophiles looking for a subdle speaker that slaps.

Friday

Set-up was fairly straightforward. I downloaded the Sonos app, picked a spot for my Beam, and followed the instructions the app prompted me with. Once it was hooked up, I sat back on my bed and immediately noticed how well the white design blended in with my white Ikea dresser.

sonos sound beam
Everything that comes in the box.

The speaker is 25.6-inches long, stands at 3.94-inches tall, and comes in either minimalistic white or black color variants. 1. It’s basically the white t-shirt or black jeans of speakers. It can match pretty much any home setup without being an eye-sore.

Saturday

It only took blasting a few tracks and listening to a podcast from my phone to realize that the Beam’s audio capabilities are exactly what Sonos promised. The many, many layers of any song I chose came through crisply, and while listening to Reply All I felt like PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman were in the same room as me. But all of that was to be expected, what I really wanted was for the Beam to augment my crappy TV.

sonos beam speaker
The Sonos Beam after I set it up in my room.

To make that possible, Sonos’s app allows me to register my TV’s remote control, so I could use it to toggle the Beam’s volume while I’m laying in bed. All I had to do was point the clicker, press a button, and tap a notification on my phone. 2. The Beam is truly adapted to anything you throw at it. It’s compatible with any TV with HDMI-ARC connection or an optical audio adapter, a group that includes are pretty any commonly-found display.

Sunday

I have currently been obsessed with Red Dead Redemption 2. It had already pretty much eclipsed any show I was watching, but the Beam took the gaming experience to the next level.

sonos beam red dead redemption 2
The Beam made Red Dead Redemption 2 incredibly more immersive.

Particularly on such a detailed game like RDR 2, the Sonos shines. With it I discovered all of the delicate ambient noises that were just totally lost with my TV speakers. The taps of cowboy boots on a saloon floor, the rustling of grass in a prairie, and rickety carriage wheels all became clear and full-bodied. That’s when I realized, 3. The Beam is perfect if you’re looking for an immersive gaming experience.

Tuesday

At this point, going back to my TV speakers would be like playing video games or watching shows with earplugs in: muddled and watered down. That goes to show that 4. The Sonos Beam can take even the most archaic home entertainment system into the future.

Any doubt I had about getting a new TV over the Beam was shattered by all of the audio details I was missing out on. This proves that even the largest and brightest displays aren’t worth the investment if you’re watching it with a janky set of speakers.

Conclusion

The Sonos Beam fixed the biggest issue with my bedroom’s TV, effectively upgrading my display with a single piece of hardware. While the Beam does cost as much as a brand-new TV, it’s perfect for anyone looking to step up their gaming, watching, and listening experience but are strapped for space.

Plus, it’ll be $50 off starting on Black Friday until November 26.

Photos via Danny Paez, Sonos