The Sonos Beam hit the market in 2018, following in the footsteps of the Sonos One voice-controlled speaker, Playbase soundbase speaker, and Playbar soundbar.
Compared to its predecessors, the Beam is a more compact, more affordable television speaker. It also comes with new features: a voice-controlled virtual assistant – you can choose between Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant – and an HDMI connection.
What about the Sonos Beam Shadow Edition?
While the two speakers might seem the same at first – they’re both introductory level soundbars that were released in 2018 – there are a few differences between them. To start with, the Shadow Edition can only be found at Costco and Sam’s Club. Take a look at the following chart to see what else sets the speakers apart:
Sonos Beam design
Generally considered to be the starter soundbar in the Sonos line, the Beam is made convenient by its small size. It can be comfortably situated in front of televisions measuring from 32 to 40-plus inches – we’ve tried it out on both sizes.
The Sonos Beam is just a fraction of the size of its big brother, the Playbar, with measurements of 650mm X 100mm X 68.5mm. The Beam is 60% smaller – as is its cost – and it also has the added benefit of HDMI connectivity.
Modelled on the Sonos One and Sonos Play 5, the Beam looks good, too. You’ll find its touch sensitive controls, like those on the Sonos One, on top of the soundbar.
What makes the 3.0 channel Beam the Sonos brand’s “most advanced soundbar,” in the company’s own words? It’s designed to “beam” sound off of a room’s walls. It comes with a central channel with two woofers, another couple woofers for the right and left channels, as well as a tweeter. A pair of passive bass radiators are located on the soundbar’s front face, followed by a third on the back.
Excellent for movies and music
The Sonos Beam is a remarkable achievement. You couldn’t be blamed for expecting the Beam to perform half as well as the Playbar, since it’s half the size and costs half the price – but you’d be wrong.
Asking a sound system to perform well with films and music is often asking too much, but that’s not the case for the Beam. Film soundtracks and music both sound great each time they are played.
Since the Sonos Beam and the Beam Shadow Edition are equipped with the same internal components, the more reasonably-priced Shadow Edition is the better deal.
The two speakers only differ in their appearance (color, finish, etc.) and in the length of their power cord. As long as you’re a Sam’s Club or Costco member and are okay with the color gray, the Shadow Edition is the smart option.
The main reason to shell out the extra cash for the standard Sonos Beam would be a strong preference for its premium black or white finish – but then again, only you know what will go best with your home theater set up.