Previous to getting the Beam, I had a Samsung HW-FM45C 2.1 Soundbar. It had great sound and bass was excellent because it had a wireless and separate sub-woofer module. The sub-woofer is what really made this a standout soundbar for me and also the thing that I hated the most about it because it was just one more piece of equipment that had to fit somewhere in my room. A strength of the Samsung soundbar was that not only did it have an optical input, Bluetooth connectivity which I used all the time. But we moved and in the process of moving and dismantling everything, I never hooked the soundbar up in our new condo.
Time passes... I purchased 4 Sonos One speakers in December 2017. I was and still am frustrated that there are no line-Ins for the speaker because having a line-in would have enabled me to use these with my HDTV without having to order still more Sonos components to allow such a hookup. And of course, there is no Bluetooth with the Sonos One. They are WiFi, using either your router or their own mesh network for connectivity.
In a recent development, Sonos made it possible for my Sonos One to use AirPlay2. This somewhat mitigated the issue that the lack of line-in created since using AirPlay2, I was now able to stream music and other sound (YouTube videos for instance) to my Sonos One speakers. The Beam is also able to use Airplay2. Most of the time I do not notice any lag while watching streaming movies from Netflix or YouTube. I do have significant lag when playing back screencasts in Screenflow v8 (for Mac.) We're talking major lag of maybe 2.5 seconds. I don't understand why there is such significant lag. MP4's that I play from my laptop suffer no lag. It might just be something about Screenflow that is causing the lag because in all other situations so far, there is no lag.
I made the decision that maybe the Beam would be a good choice for me as far as my HDTV sound was concerned. It would play nice with my other Sonos One speakers it would not only be a soundbar for my HDTV, but I could also use it just like a Sonos One speaker with the added bonus that it is a stereo speaker, not a mono speaker like a single Sonos One. The other big benefit is that has Alexa built-in and I love using Alexa for Spotify music streaming.
So I got the Beam. Hooking it up was easy. The Sonos app walks you through the entire process and it took just a few minutes before it was connected and working.
Since I got the speaker the day it was released, I had to hope that the sound would be satisfactory and at least as good as the Sonos One. There weren't many reviews to read prior to my actually getting the Beam, so I just took a chance with it. Happily, the sound is as good as I was expecting and I'm quite happy with the soundbar.
I was hoping for sound that would be very close to the Sonos One. It is and actually better since it is a stereo speaker. Two paired Sonos One speakers provide more full sound than the Beam and the stereo imaging (soundstage) is something that can be adjusted depending on how far apart each Sonos One is from each other. However, the Beam has a decent soundstage particularly considering that you will be generally seated in front of it, a set distance, more or less, from your HDTV.
The bottom line for me is that I am largely quite happy with this soundbar. I believe that the sound you get from two Sonos One speakers is superior to the sound from a single Beam. But you can't simply connect two Sonos One speakers to your HDTV. It's great to have Alexa integration and it's also great that because it is Sonos, it integrates with the other Sonos speakers I own.
Any other misgivings I might have are not specific to the Beam but to the limitations that Sonos places by not including Aux In, Bluetooth, etc. and limitations to Alexa integration which is the fault of Amazon, not Sonos. What's cool though is that if you have numerous Alexa capable Sonos speakers grouped together, you can speak to Alexa on one of them and only that one particular speaker will play Alexa's response.
Final thought is that if you don't think of this as a soundbar strictly for use with a HDTV you might be thrilled to discover that you can have a great sounding stereo speaker that is sleek, well-built and can be placed in places you might not immediately consider such as the top of a hutch or possibly mounted up high on a wall. The possibilities are intriguing.