The SONOS Arc is a massively powerful soundbar from one of the biggest audio brands in the business. But is the SONOS Arc worth the asking price? Let’s find out…
If you’re keen on improving the audio performance of your TV, dropping the best part of $1000 on a soundbar like the SONOS Arc, even if you’re slightly flush, is still a big ask. Most 4K TVs don’t cost that much, so why would anyone spend that much on a soundbar? It’s a good question, but the answer is a little more nuanced.
If you’re a film buff or a gamer, the SONOS Arc will essentially pay for itself right out off the bat. You’ll set it up, switch it on, and as soon as you start using it you will know where all that money has gone. Your TV’s audio capabilities will be elevated considerably, bringing a cinema-like experience to your living room. If you want an immersive experience without headphones something like the SONOS Arc is exactly how you achieve it.
The SONOS Arc replaces the SONOS Playbar, SONOS’ longstanding flagship soundbar. I had one of these in an old flat in London and it was incredible. But the SONOS Arc is its successor; it looks better, has more features, and it packs in a load of additional tech and performance inside its refined and completely redesigned chassis. The ARC is a big update too, it’s not just cosmetic – there are a ton of changes, both internally and externally, that makes it a considerably better soundbar option.
The point of this post is to A) give an overview of the SONOS Arc and its specs and updates, B) what reviewers made of the SONOS Arc, and C) whether or not the SONOS Arc is actually worth buying in 2022 and beyond.
First, let’s take a look at the specs and hardware you’ll find inside the SONOS Arc. After that, we’ll go over some of its key changes and updates, and after that, we’ll take a broader look at a selection of SONOS Arc reviews. Finally, we’ll do a recap of everything to answer the question of whether or not the SONOS Arc is worth it.
SONOS Arc Specs & Hardware
- Connections: HDMI, optical, ethernet
- ARC/eARC: eARC
- Surround format support: Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital+, Dolby Digital
- Bluetooth: No
- AirPlay 2: Yes
- Voice control: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
- Dimensions: 8.7 x 114 x 12cm / 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 6.3 kg / 13.8 lbs
SONOS Arc vs. SONOS Playbar – What’s The Difference?
The first thing you’ll notice about the SONOS Arc when comparing it to the older Playbar is that it looks completely different. The design is sleeker and more modern with a focus on rounded edges and elliptical ends. It is slightly longer, but its savvier design makes it appear more compact and it also helps it blend into your room’s aesthetic more easily. It is a big change in design language, but it works – the Arc is far better looking than the now-aging Playbar.
Next, SONOS has changed how you connect your Arc to your TV. With the Playbar, SONOS used a single optical digital audio input. With the SONOS Arc, the soundbar now connects via its HDMI eARC capable port. SONOS still includes an optical digital audio input in the Arc’s box, in case you’re using an older TV, but the switch to HDMI ARC (or eARC) makes life easier for new users – all modern TVs support this format.
With sound, the Arc is once again the superior option. SONOS added in support for Dolby Atmos aboard the Arc, so you get all of the benefits associated with that. Internally, the SONOS Arc is designed to deliver SONOS’ trademark 5.0.2 experience. This is achieved by angling the end speakers, and then using the two centrally mounted speakers for left and right sound direction. In total, there are eight elliptical woofers in total and three tweeters with each being powered by 11 Class D amplifiers.
With the Arc, you get two additional speakers, however, that point upwards in order to take advantage of Dolby Atmos’ height channels which helps it provide a fuller, more immersive sound than its predecessor (and if you’ve heard the Playbar in action, you’ll know that’s no mean feat). Overall, what you’re getting with the Arc is just bigger, better, and more refined than before. As premium soundbars go, the Arc is very much at the sharp end of the stick.
Beyond this, the SONOS Arc is just a more modern system, a system designed for users in 2022. This means it comes fitted with your choice of digital voice assistants, either Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, HDMI eARC with HDMI CEC and auto sync, as well as support for Apple’s AirPlay 2. This means connecting devices, like an iPhone or iPad, is super simple. You also get high fidelity playback too, thanks to AirPlay 2’s codecs, which is great if you’re using TIDAL and want to hear your music in the highest possible quality via your Arc.
That’s my hot-take on the SONOS Arc and how it compares to its predecessor, the SONOS Playbar. Let’s now take a look at some SONOS Arc reviews to find out what the general consensus is around the SONOS Arc and find out whether or not this soundbar system is worth the asking price. After that, we’ll do a quick recap of everything we’ve covered and point you in the direction of the best current deal for the SONOS Arc.
SONOS Arc Reviews
Is The SONOS Arc Worth It?
The SONOS Playbar, upon its launch and throughout its lifespan, was a helluva soundbar. It looked great, it performed brilliantly, and it sounds massively impressive. It also benefits from SONOS wireless playback technology, so it is great for house parties and/or when you’re entertaining.
But the Playbar is now an old system now and while it still has plenty of chops in the sound-performance department, it is lacking plenty of mod-cons – things like HDMI eARC, Google Assistant, and Dolby Atmos. Its replacement, the Arc, effectively takes everything that made the Playbar brilliant and just ups the ante considerably, adding in everything the modern user needs, while also improving the overall sound quality considerably with additional speakers and Dolby Atmos support.
Is the SONOS Arc worth the money? I think so, yes. This isn’t something you’ll have to replace anytime in the next decade, so think of it as a long-term investment for your living room, something that’ll add new life to TV shows, your music, films, gaming sessions, even YouTube, and home videos. It looks better than ever, as all the connectivity you’ll ever need, and it now comes with two of the best digital assistants on the market, so don’t even need the SONOS app to get it to play music.
It still costs the best part of a grand, but for all the stuff you get, as well as its supreme audio performance and overall capabilities, I think that will be money well spent. Of course, you’ll need to be the kind of person that will actually get something out of it – you’ll need to really love your gaming, TV shows, or movies. If that sounds like you, the SONOS Arc could well be the thing that’s been missing from your living room setup all along?
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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