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(Pocket-lint) - Sonos already has two soundbars in its portfolio including the top-of-the-range Sonos Arc and the cheaper, but still very capable, Sonos Beam. There's a new budget Sonos soundbar in town though, which will sit beneath the Sonos Beam.

Here is everything you need to know about the Sonos Ray. We also have a separate feature comparing the three Sonos soundbars that you can read to help you decide which is right for you.

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Sonos Ray release date and price

The Sonos Ray was announced on 11 May and it will hit shelves on 7 June 2022 in a number of countries including the US, UK and Europe. India, Japan and China will follow at a later date, though Sonos hasn't detailed when.

In terms of price, the Sonos Ray will cost £279 in the UK, $279 in the US and €299 in Europe. By comparison, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is £449/$449 and the Sonos Arc is £899/$899 so the Ray will be quite a bit cheaper than the current offerings.

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Sonos Ray design

  • White and Black colours
  • Angled rear
  • Capacitive controls
  • Speaker grille on front only

The Sonos Ray features a design that follows in the footsteps of other Sonos speakers, especially in the case of the Beam Gen 2. The latest soundbar is similar to Beam but it's angled at the rear and only features a speaker grille at the front. The Beam Gen 2 has a speaker grille that wraps around to the back of the soundbar, meaning it's better placed on top of a TV unit rather than in it, whereas the Ray can be positioned on a shelf below as sound only comes from the front.

A Sonos logo is centralised at the front of the speaker grille like Arc and Beam, and the Ray also has small feet underneath, like the Sonos Arc offers. Colour options are Black and White, which is standard for Sonos devices.

In terms of controls, the Sonos Ray has similar controls to the Sonos Beam Gen 2, which are capactive touch. There's a play/pause button and a button either side, which allows for volume controls and the ability to skip track and go back to the previous track when you swipe, as offered on Beam Gen 2 and Arc. There isn't a microphone button.

On the rear of the Ray, there's a pairing button, along with an ethernet port, power port and optical port. There are also mounting holes on the rear and it's been claimed the Ray can be mounted horizontally or vertically, though Sonos hasn't confirmed this as yet.

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Sonos Ray specs and hardware

  • Two tweeters
  • Two woofers
  • Split waveguides, bass reflex system
  • Class-D digital amplifiers
  • Optical

The Sonos Ray has a pair of mid-woofers, a pair of tweeters and split waveguides that project the sound wall-to-wall, with one projecting out of the front and the other out of the side. There are also Class-D digital amplifiers on board and a bass reflex system.

In terms of connections, the Sonos Ray doesn't have HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC support. Instead, it opts for optical, which is the same as the older Sonos Playbar used. It's not the most desired connection these days, but it works and it does allow for a wider compatibility with older TVs.

As previously mentioned, there is a pairing button, which is how you'll connect the Sonos Ray to your Sonos system, and there is an ethernet port too, though you should be able to use the Ray wirelessly as Sonos creates a mesh network between the speakers. 

We'd expect the Sonos Ray to sound good, as all Sonos speakers do but for now, we are waiting to hear it for ourselves so we will let you know when we have.

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Sonos Ray features

  • Typical Sonos features
  • Trueplay
  • AirPlay 2

The Sonos Ray offers many of the same features you'd find on exisiting Sonos speakers, including compatibility with more than 100 music streaming services, Sonos Radio and of course the ability to work either independently or within a group of exisiting Sonos speakers.

The beauty of Sonos soundbars is that they enhance your TV audio, but when you aren't using them for that, they make for an excellent addition to a Sonos system as a standalone speaker. You can also send TV audio to all the other Sonos speakers in your home when you are using the soundbar for TV.

Prior to the Ray being official, rumours said you'd also be able to use two Sonos Ray soundbars as surround speakers to another Sonos soundbar though, like the Sono Beam Gen 2 or the Sonos Arc. It was claimed the pair of Sonos Ray soundbars would be able to receive and play Dolby Atmos surround audio when used in this configuration, but when used as a soundbar on its own, it only supports Dolby Digital, differentiating it from the Beam Gen 2 and Arc. We're waiting for confirmation on this, but we know the Sonos Ray doesn't support Dolby Atmos or virtual Dolby Atmos. 

Other features include Trueplay though - which makes sense - as well as Speech Enhancement and Night Sound, both of which you will also find on the Sonos Beam and Sonos Arc soundbars. There is support for Apple AirPlay 2 as well and you can of course add a Sonos SUB, as well as two Sonos speakers as surround speakers, like a Sonos One and Sonos One SL for example.

While the Ray doesn't have Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa built in like the Beam Gen 1, Beam Gen 2 and Arc, it does support being controlled by another smart speaker, whether Sonos like the Sonos One, or a third party like the Echo.

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Sonos Ray rumours: What happened?

Here is everything we heard about Sonos Ray before it was announced.

5 May 2022: Images of Sonos Ray leak, showing soundbar in full

@SnoopyTech published a number of images of the Sonos Ray soundbar, showing off the device in full.

5 May 2022: Sonos' budget soundbar might be called the Sonos Ray and look like this

The Sonos Ray appeared on Colombian retailer KTronix. It has since been removed but a number of details were revealed. 

21 April 2022: Exclusive: this is the new budget soundbar from Sonos

The Verge published a report confirming the existence of a budget soundbar from Sonos, including price and release date.

Best Bluetooth speakers 2022: Top portable speakers for every budget

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.