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Sonos Arc review

Sonos go all out with its first Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Sonos Arc.

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0
£799
Sonos Arc
Pros: Brilliant sound quality
Good volume range
Sleek, modern design
Simple set-up
Can be incorporated into a larger multi-speaker system
Two colour options
Cons: It's big – might not fit neatly into all room types

Sonos as a brand is synonymous with high-end, high-quality audio products. Founded in 2002, the American brand has consistently delivered soundbars, smart speakers and multi-room systems in sleek, minimalistic designs.

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The Sonos Arc is the brand’s premium smart soundbar offering at £799. Featuring Dolby Atmos, voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant, and 11 high-performance drivers for crisp sound and punchy bass, the soundbar was launched in June 2020.

Not the only soundbar option from Sonos, the Arc joined the smaller and more affordable Sonos Beam. So, what do you get for that extra £300? And is the Sonos Arc worth splashing the cash for?

To answer those questions, here is our Sonos Arc review covering everything from sound quality and design to the practicalities of set-up and using voice control. We have weighed up all of the Sonos Arc’s top-of-the-range features against its £799 price tag to decide whether it’s good value for money.

The quick answer? Yes. If you have the money to spend, the Sonos Arc will deliver everything you are looking for. The sound quality is superb, the voice control is accurate, and it’s fitted into that clean-line design that Sonos is known for.

Head to our Sonos Roam page to find out more about the brand’s latest smart speaker. Or, for soundbar and smart speaker recommendations, try our Roku Streambar review and round-up of the best smart speakers.

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Sonos Arc review: summary

The Sonos Arc is the brand’s first Dolby Atmos soundbar and the most expensive. At £799, it is definitely on the more premium end of soundbars, but Sonos has done its best to jam-pack features into a very simple design. The rounded bar is 1.14 metres long and comes with voice control (via Google Assistant or Alexa), a built-in IR repeater and Trueplay software that adjusts the audio to best suit the room’s acoustics. When it’s not being used to bring cinematic sound to your TV, music from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Sonos Radio can be streamed to the soundbar.

Price: The Sonos Arc is available for £799 at Sonos and Currys.

Key features: 

  • Dolby Atmos
  • Voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa
  • Built-in IR repeater
  • Speech enhancement mode on Sonos app to boost TV dialogue
  • Stream music, podcasts and audiobooks from Spotify, Audible, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Pros:

  • Brilliant sound quality
  • Good volume range
  • Sleek, modern design
  • Simple set-up
  • Two colour options
  • Can be incorporated into a larger multi-speaker system

Cons:

  • It’s big – might not fit neatly into all room types

What is Sonos Arc? 

Sonos Arc soundbar

Sonos Arc is a premium soundbar produced by the American company Sonos. The brand has quickly made a name for itself as consistently delivering high-quality audio products, particularly smart speakers and soundbars. Sonos currently make two soundbars. These are; the entry-level Sonos Beam and the more expensive Sonos Arc. The Beam is smaller and more affordable, while the Arc is designed to deliver big sound in even the biggest home cinemas.

What does Sonos Arc do?

Plugged into the TV’s HDMI (ARC) port, the Sonos Arc boosts your TV audio to give it a bigger and richer sound. The Arc is an all-in-one soundbar, so it is not supplied with an external subwoofer (although Sonos do sell one separately), and all its functions, modes, and features can be controlled via the Sonos app. This means there’s no remote control, either. You’ll likely get the most use out of it when watching TV, but it can also be used to stream music, audiobooks and podcasts from the likes of Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible and Apple Music via the Sonos app when the TV is off.

How much is Sonos Arc?

The Sonos Arc is sold by several retailers, including Sonos, Very and Currys, for £799.

Is Sonos Arc good value for money?

There’s no denying that the Sonos Arc is on the pricier end of soundbars, but you are getting a lot of sophisticated technology and features for that price. For £799, the Sonos Arc is a Dolby Atmos soundbar that comes with voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa, a built-in IR repeater, a far-field microphone array and multi-channel echo cancellation so your voice assistant can be readily activated. This, combined with brilliant sound quality and powerful bass, means that we think you’re still getting amazing value for money.

Sonos Arc design

Sonos Arc review

The Sonos Arc is one of the best-looking soundbars currently on the market. It is only available in two colours – black and white – but considering most soundbars are available in black-only, the choice is welcome. Touch controls are found on the top of the soundbar and can be used to play, pause, adjust the volume, and mute the microphones. There’s also an option to swipe right to skip ahead or left to revisit a track. However, we found we didn’t use these much and preferred to use the Sonos app or TV remote to turn the volume up or down. 

The Sonos app itself is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The app is also the simplest way to adjust privacy or personalisation settings and use modes, including the Speech Enhancement function that works well to make dialogue clearer. One of the app’s best features is the ability to group various Sonos speakers to create multi-room systems.

  • Style: With a matte finish, the curved shape of the Sonos Arc looks sleek but simple. It has a grille that wraps around the front of the device, and a single status LED indicates when the microphone is active. The light also adjusts its brightness according to the light in the room to avoid it becoming a distraction.
  • Robustness: Sonos Arc can stand on a TV unit or shelving or be mounted with a Sonos wall mount. The soundbar feels weighty at 6.25kg but well-made.
  • Size: The Sonos Arc measures 87mm tall, 1141.7 mm long and 115.7mm deep. At 87mm, the soundbar is quite tall compared to some, but the built-in IR repeater ensures that your remote will work even if the soundbar blocks the signal to the TV.

Sonos Arc sound quality

The Sonos Arc’s sound quality is why you’ll be willing to spend £799 on a soundbar. Fitted with 11 Class-D digital amplifiers, eight elliptical woofers and three silk-dome tweeters, the Sonos Arc delivers rich sound with powerful bass. Compared to TV-only audio, the difference was immense. We could hear background noise and music on TV shows that we weren’t even aware of before.

Because voice control (with Google Assistant or Alexa) is available, the Dolby Atmos soundbar has a far-field microphone array and multi-channel echo cancellation designed to make sure the user can be heard over any music or TV show. And, this worked – our voice assistant of choice, Google Assistant, had no problem hearing our requests every single time.

Other features include Trueplay, which adjusts the audio to best suit the acoustics of the room the soundbar is in, but this does only work with iOS devices. Other modes are also available, including Speech Enhancement and Night Sound, which will quieten any loud sound effects or action scenes.

The sound from the Sonos Arc is room-filling, but if you want more, it can also be connected to other Sonos speakers or subwoofers for an extra boost or as part of a multi-room system. The Sonos app gives you the ability to group speakers according to the rooms they’re in and manage which rooms music is played in.

Sonos Arc set-up: how easy is it to use?

Sonos Arc review

The whole process of setting up the Sonos Arc took a total of 15 minutes. Because it is designed to be an all-in-one soundbar, the Sonos Arc has no external subwoofer, so it only needs to be connected to the mains power and plugged into the TV’s HDMI (ARC) port.

Because of the soundbar’s length, the box it comes in is long, but a handle on top means you shouldn’t have too much trouble carrying it on your own. Included in the box alongside the soundbar are an HDMI cable, power cable, an optical audio adapter and various booklets. The instructions were simple to follow, and you are prompted to follow them via the TV. You are required to download the Sonos app and create an account, but this is quick and easy to do.

Beyond this initial set-up, the only element left to manage is connecting any apps such as Spotify to the soundbar. Done via the app, this takes moments to do if the Spotify app is already downloaded on your phone. Managing settings, volume and EQ settings (where you can adjust the bass and treble) are also done through the app.

What is the difference between Sonos Arc and Sonos Beam?

Sonos currently has two soundbars available. The Sonos Arc is the premium offering, but the Sonos Beam is also a more affordable option at £399. Measuring 68.5 x 651 x 100mm, the Beam is considerably smaller and has a more boxy design. Both are available in the same colour options; black and white with a matte finish.

However, despite the price difference of £400, some features are available with both soundbars. Google Assistant and Alexa are built-in into both soundbars so that you can play music and set alarms and reminders hands-free. Both also come with the Sonos app, which allows you to create multi-room systems and manage settings.

Where the Sonos Arc is superior is sound quality. As the first Dolby Atmos soundbar from Sonos, we found the sound to be rich and room-filling. At over 1m long, the Sonos Arc is designed to work best in large living rooms and home cinemas.

When choosing between these two soundbars, your decision will largely come down to your budget and the size of the room you intend to use the soundbar in. If it’s a small bedroom or living room, the Sonos Beam will likely do a brilliant job. However, if you have the space and budget for the Arc, it will likely be worth the extra cost.

Our verdict: should you buy Sonos Arc?

The Sonos Arc is one of the best soundbars out there. Everything about the Sonos Arc is simple, from the all-in-one design to the set-up. Because it is designed to sit in large home-cinemas or living rooms, the Sonos Arc delivers a good volume range with well-rounded sound and powerful bass. However, it does mean that at a length of over 1.14 metres, it is probably not the best choice for anyone struggling with limited space. We would instead recommend the more affordable Roku Streambar or Sonos Beam, the Arc’s little brother that costs just £399.

If you do have the space, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Sonos Arc. The Dolby Atmos soundbar can be mounted or placed on a TV unit and comes with various features, including voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa, Speech Enhancement mode and a ‘Night Sound’ function that reduces the intensity of loud sound effects.

When it comes to playing music, the Arc can connect to other various Sonos subwoofers and speakers to create bespoke entertainment, surround sound and multi-room set-ups. You can then stream music, audiobooks and podcasts from apps including Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, Apple Music, Sonos Radio and Deezer. Sonos is renowned for making high-quality audio products, and the Sonos Arc shows the company at its best.

Design: 5/5

Sound quality: 5/5

Set-up: 5/5

Value for money: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Where to buy Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is available at several retailers, including Currys PC World and Very.

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