Sonos stands as one of the most prominent brands in the audio segment. Therefore, when I was presented with the chance to review one of its audio products, I eagerly seized the opportunity. I received the Sonos Ray review unit which I used extensively with my TV for about a month. I must say, the soundbar manages to exceed expectations considering its size. Read on to find out everything that’s good and what’s not about the Sonos Ray in this review.
- The Sonos Ray is one of the most compact soundbars currently on the market. With dimensions of 7.1cm in height, 55.9cm in width, and 9.5mm in depth, and a weight of just 1.95 kilograms, it’s incredibly portable. I found it effortless to move the soundbar between different rooms and position it on various surfaces. There is an option to wall-mount the Sonos Ray, but you will have to purchase the stand separately.
- Besides its compactness, the soundbar also exudes premiumness with its clean and minimalistic design. Drawing inspiration from its elder sibling, the Sonos Beam, the Sonos Ray incorporates similar design elements. Constructed from high-quality plastic, the soundbar features a perforated front grille that adds to its aesthetic appeal. However, setting itself apart from the Sonos Beam, the Ray boasts a distinctive tapered body that gracefully slopes outward at the front, deviating from the flat body with curved edges.
- Situated at the rear of the soundbar, you’ll find the power button and ports. The front grille has the Sonos branding etched on it, while the top edge features a set of touch controls, delivering impressive responsiveness for functions like playing or pausing music, pairing new devices, and fine-tuning the volume of the Ray soundbar.
- The audio accessory comes in a couple of colour variants: White and Black. I got the black colour variant for review. Regrettably, it isn’t matte black, so one can anticipate it picking up a few fingerprints. Nonetheless, cleaning the Sonos Ray is a breeze—just a simple wipe with a cloth and it will regain its brand-new appearance.
- The Sonos Ray may not boast an extensive range of connectivity features, but its setup is quite straightforward and seamless with your TV and mobile phone (or your PC, if it has an optical output). The soundbar lacks both HDMI and Bluetooth connectivity, which is a bummer for a soundbar at this price point. So, if you getting the soundbar for your TV, make sure it has an optical audio port.
- The soundbar requires an internet connection, which can be established through either the Ethernet port or wirelessly using the Sonos app. The app login is super easy. All you have to do is create an account (if you haven’t got one already), power on the device, and connect the soundbar to the TV using the optical audio cable (provided in the box). Following this step, the app will automatically detect the soundbar. If it doesn’t, you can reset the device by holding down the button with the infinity icon until the small LED lights on the speaker begin to blink. Afterwards, the app will pair with the soundbar after a few taps.
- The Sonos app is quite intuitive. It lets you control your device, adjust the volume, and sync your favourite streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more over Wi-Fi. Additionally, the Ray supports Apple AirPlay 2, allowing you to cast audio from your compatible devices such as an iPhone to the soundbar. For Android users, streaming music to the soundbar is only possible through the Sonos App.
- The app also allows you to pair your TV remote so that the soundbar’s volume can be adjusted directly. However, it just didn’t work for me even after pairing the supported infrared (IR) remote successfully. If you have a radio frequency (RF) or Bluetooth remote, you are anyway hosed. The app, version 15.6 for iPhone, was also a bit finicky at times, although reloading it brought things back on track.
- Coming to the meat of the matter, the Sonos Ray soundbar is equipped with two centred mid-woofers and a pair of tweeters. These tweeters feature a proprietary waveguide, designed to disperse high frequencies outwards for a wide soundstage. This combination contributes to the soundbar’s ability to deliver a rich audio experience in small to medium-sized rooms, despite the absence of Dolby Atmos channels.
- The Ray only supports stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS audio for a high-quality stereo sound output. There is no surround sound visualisation, but its absence isn’t realised until you take the soundbar to a bigger room like a hall. That said, on the bright side, you have the flexibility to enhance Ray’s audio coverage by pairing it with matching Sonos audio products or smart speakers.
- I used the Sonos Ray mostly in my bedroom paired with a 43-inch TV and Trueplay functionality enabled. Trueplay basically optimises the sound to align with the room’s ambience, using your smartphone’s speaker. While it definitely amplifies the soundbar’s audio quality, the feature is presently available only to iPhone and iPad owners. No matter which show or movie I streamed on my TV, the soundbar perfectly matched its vibe. To illustrate, while watching the Batman Trilogy, Ray impressively preserved the dialogue clarity over the background score, even during the most intense action-packed scenes. Notably, even whispered voices resonated with remarkable clarity, and Joker’s dialogues in The Dark Knight literally sent shivers down my spine.
- When it comes to streaming music, the Sonos Ray does not disappoint. Regardless of the volume set, the soundbar delivers crisp vocals, along with a rich and full sound for both bass and highs. If Ray’s signature sound quality isn’t to your preference, the Sonos app offers the option to adjust the EQ settings. Personally, I didn’t feel the need to make any adjustments, as the default settings allowed me to enjoy songs from some of my favourite artists, including Bruno Mars, Shubh, and Charlie Puth, with utmost clarity and enough bass to make me groove to the beats. You can use the Sonos Ray as a party speaker, provided the stage is small to medium size, the gathering isn’t that big, and more importantly, has Wi-Fi connectivity.
Taking everything into consideration, the Sonos Ray comes with a hefty price tag. It’s listed at Rs 36,999 on the official website in India, but you can find it at a discounted price on e-commerce platforms like Amazon. It’s the most affordable soundbar from Sonos in the country, but this affordability comes with some trade-offs. The Ray lacks a few basic features such as Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity options. Furthermore, at its price point, there are other soundbars in the market that offer additional features like wireless sub-woofers, integrated smart voice assistant feature, and more.
The Ray doesn’t include any of those features; instead, it channels all its energy into providing seamless connectivity and delivering breathtaking sound quality. So, if you’re in search of a soundbar for your TV in the living room, bedroom, or dining area and have around Rs 30,000 to spare, or if you’re considering stepping into the Sonos ecosystem, the Ray would be an ideal choice.
Editor’s rating: 8 / 10
- Clean, minimalistic design
- Relatively compact
- Easy to setup
- Impressive audio clarity
- No HDMI port, Bluetooth connectivity
- No Trueplay for Android
For all the latest Technology News Click Here