Sonos Arc review: an update on design and Dolby Atmos

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Sonos is a medium-sized sound and technology brand known for its wireless speakers that work well alone, but better in company. They were the first to realize that a good surround sound system for the living room did not have to involve throwing cables everywhere.

Their new soundbar is the Sonos Arc, which we have talked about in the past, but now I have been able to test for almost a month to get used to how it works. My conclusion: it’s the bomb. Its design is great, its sonic capacity is surprising and it is easy to understand and use, but it has a couple of flaws that keep it from being the ultimate soundbar: the price (€ 899) and the absence of an extra HDMI port.

The best I can say about the Sonos Arc is that once installed, I have forgotten it was there. Yes, it is very long (8.7cm high x 1.14m long x 11.6cm wide), but at least it has a nice design (in white, in my case, but it is also available in black) that does not clash with the living room.

But I have not forgotten about it because of how it looks, but because once configured through version 2.0 of the official Sonos app, it works perfectly: the TV recognizes that a sound system has been connected through the HDMI connector eArc type and all the platforms available and because they quickly understand that you have a soundbar compatible with Dolby Atmos … as long as your television has the.

Although the Dolby Digital Plus codec does almost the same tricks as the Atmos, if your television is Samsung (which does not have Atmos integrated in any TV today) or is a model without this standard, the truth is that the sound bar Sonos Arc loses some of its grace. And this is not entirely his fault.

I don’t know if this could have been adequately resolved by including an ‘HDMI in’ port on the bar, in order to connect an Nvidia Shield TV or an Xbox One X and get past the limitations of a less updated TV, but it would have been fine.

This is the only downside that I can think of to put to a round product, quite literally if you look at it edge-on. The other would be the price. Sonos is a premium brand and their products cost a bit more because they add added values ​​that not everyone needs, but it is something to consider. There is a vast market for sound bars today.

Obviously, not all soundbars have 11 built-in speakers and pointing in a multitude of directions to move the sound with the intention of creating an enveloping effect, an illusion the Sonos Arc achieves better than any other I’ve ever tried.

The power that a sound bar can have today is impressive, to the point that I rarely reach 25% of its total power because it gives me a lot of respect to disturb my neighbors and because my living room is not too big.

In this sense, the Sonos night mode helps a lot, as well as the improvements for dialogue that, in an action movie, allow you to hear what is said well but not go deaf with the explosions.

It’s one of the many sound manipulation tools, in a good sense of the word, that the Sonos Arc has. The best, if anything, is what the company called ‘Trueplay’, which allows you to equalize the speakers of the soundbar (or a full surround system with more Sonos speakers) using the microphones of the mobile. You activate the settings, follow the instructions on the screen (which involve moving the mobile around the room as if it were an airplane while different sounds are playing, it is quite funny) and the speakers will have learned the way in which the sound is distributed around the room and they will adapt to give the best result.

It is one of the most technological parts of the Sonos Arc, as is also that it is compatible with almost all modern standards for playing music from mobile, such as AirPlay. Be careful, the music you play from your mobile on it is not sent by bluetooth, but by WiFi, so its quality is higher.

And as they already introduced in their Sonos One, the Sonos Arc is compatible with Alexa and the Google Assistant, something that seems impossible on most devices (or one or the other), but Sonos does not sleep with anyone in this regard. Maybe that’s why they are in lawsuits with Google.

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