What you need to know
- The Sonos Ray is the company's latest soundbar offering.
- It's positioned as a more budget-friendly alternative, while still offering the same great audio experience.
- This soundbar is priced at $279 and will be released on June 7.
Over the course of the past month or so, we’ve been hearing more and more about a budget-friendly Sonos soundbar being close to launch. The leaks started with a rather detailed breakdown, followed by a retailer spilling the beans. And now, the Sonos Ray has officially been announced, set to be released on June 7.
This is easily the cheapest soundbar in the Sonos lineup, with the Ray coming in at $279. If you move one step up, you’ll find the Beam with its eye-watering $449 price point, and that’s without even thinking about the Sonos Arc. But in order to get make Ray so affordable, Sonos had to cut some corners and remove some features.
One of the biggest omissions with this new soundbar is that you won’t find an HDMI port anywhere. Instead, you’ll only have the option for an optical connection, which should be fine for most users who just want better sound than what their TVs produce. But it’s also important to note that if you plan on connecting the Ray directly to your PS5 or Xbox Series S/X, you could run into a bit of audio lag from time to time.
The decision to use an optical connection over HDMI means that Ray potentially takes a hit in audio quality. Unlike other soundbars in this price range (and below), the Ray does not support Dolby Atmos. It still supports Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround, but you might be better served elsewhere if you really want the Atmos support.
Under the minimal case shell, Sonos packs four Class-D amplifiers, two tweeters for high-response, two high-efficiency mid-woofers, and a “Bass Reflex System.” All of which have been tuned using Sonos’ Truplay tuning technology that adapts to the space around the soundbar.
The usual features are also on board with this new soundbar, as Sonos is making it possible to seamlessly pair the Ray with other Sonos speakers and soundbars. You’ll still be able to enjoy your favorite music streaming services, via AirPlay 2 or the Sonos app. But this leads us to another surprising omission as the Ray does not include a built-in microphone. This means that you’ll need to enlist the help of the best smart speakers if you want to take advantage of voice controls.
Along with the lower price tag, a big benefit to getting this new soundbar is for those who want a compact, yet powerful, soundbar. The Ray is less than 3-inches tall and is 22-inches wide while weighing just 4.29 pounds. Sonos is also offering a new wall mount and the soundbar has been designed to be used horizontally or mounted vertically. This opens the door to improving the audio quality for your home theater even more since you can pair it with pretty much every other speaker or soundbar in the Sonos lineup.
You can pre-order the Sonos Ray directly from the Sonos website, with the release date set for June 7. While this new soundbar won’t be able to compete with some of the best budget soundbars, it definitely is an intriguing option for under $300.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.