I’ve been a big fan of Sonos products for many, many years. You’ll find a Sonos product in most rooms of my house just because of how easy their products are to use, how seamless they sync together and how good their speakers sound, but it’s true that they’re pricier than most. This is what excites me most about the Sonos Ray, which is Sonos’ most affordable soundbar yet and a product that I can see a lot of people looking at as their first potential Sonos product.
At roughly 55cm in width, it comes in at half the size of the Sonos Arc, so just from a size point of view, this is going to fit on a lot more entertainment units, and also can be hidden away much more easily thanks to all of the speakers being front firing. Thankfully, the design (available in both black and white) has a metal grille on the front similar to the Beam V2 and the Arc, which means that it’s not a cloth design and won’t catch all that dust.
When it comes to connections, Sonos has opted to take away the HDMI port from the Sonos Ray and instead just featuring an Optical port. Obviously, this might be a nuisance for some but fact of the matter is, most TVs have an optical port that can connect to the soundbar, and it’s just as seamless as using HDMI for the most part.
The Sonos Ray is literally perfect for a smaller living area or a bedroom. I opted to test it in my bedroom connected to a 43″ Samsung Frame and the difference was immense. I was able to hear voices with a lot more clarity, the bass from the speakers was evident and obviously, I was then able to seamlessly connected my Ray my Sonos system and play audio through the soundbar over both Apple Airplay and through the Sonos Wi-Fi system.
When it comes to sound, I’d put this somewhere between the Sonos One and the Beam V2. You’re going to get a much more rounded sound than that of the Sonos One, but then you’re missing newer features such as Dolby Atmos and an amp and a midwoofer in the Beam V2. Honestly though, for most people, you’ll struggle to tell the difference between the Beam V2 and the Ray in most instances, especially at a $200 price difference.
Another feature that you’re missing out on is a microphone which means you’re not able to make use of Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Sonos’ upcoming voice assistant. That might be an issue if you’re looking to use these features in the room that this soundbar is in, but the omission isn’t a huge surprise given the price cut.
The biggest and best thing about getting into the Sonos ecosystem is how easy everything is to setup and use and then keep adding to. You can easily add two Sonos Ones to the Sonos Ray to create surrounds, add a sub for even more base or just add other speakers in other rooms to have music seamlessly blaring through the whole house.
The setup of this device is just ridiculously easy too. You simply just need to grab the Sonos app, and the Ray will instantly show up, before you can control things such as TV volume as well as play music from the likes of TuneIn Radio, Spotify and Apple Music. If you’re purely wanting to control your TV, most TV remotes will control the soundbar directly too.
A couple of other features I want to call out are Night Sound which will reduce loud effects and enhance the quieter ones and Speech Enhancement which can amplify voices. I know these sound like features that you won’t use, but when they’re so easily accessible in the app, you’ll find yourself more likely to use them than with other soundbars.
All-in-all, it’d be hard not to recommend the Sonos Ray for $399 if the $599 price tag of the Sonos Beam is too steep, or if you simply don’t have the room for the larger soundbar. I haven’t heard of anybody regretting getting into the Sonos ecosystem and I don’t see this changing with the Sonos Ray.