After making us sit through weeks of leaks, Sonos has officially announced its newest compact soundbar: the Sonos Ray. It costs $279, which is $180 less expensive than Sonos's other budget-friendly soundbar, the Beam (Gen 2) — and it's available to preorder today with an expected delivery of June 7.
The Ray is designed as the most affordable way to get a Sonos home theater experience. It works very similar to the company's other soundbars, the Arc and Beam (Gen 2); it only requires a single cable connection to your TV and can be grouped with other Sonos speakers, such as a pair of Sonos Ones (as satellites) and a Sonos Sub, to create an immersive surround experience. It supports TruePlay and streaming via AirPlay 2.
However, the Ray is definitely an entry-level soundbar compared to Sonos's other larger options. It connects to your TV via an optical connection rather than HDMI like the Beam and Arc, and thus doesn't support the same immersive sound technologies, such as Dolby Atmos. (Sonos's pitch is that for people with older TVs that only have an optical connection, the Ray is an easy way to upgrade the sound.)
The Ray isn't a smart soundbar, meaning that you can't integrate it with Alexa or Google Assistant (or Sonos's just-announced voice assistant, Sonos Voice). You also can't use voice commands to do things like request songs, increase / decrease volume or power your TV on and off.
As for size, the Ray is slightly smaller than the Beam (Gen 2), and not quite as powerful. The Ray has four drivers, two mid-woofers and two tweeters, compared to the Beam 2's seven total drivers, but Sonos has specially tuned the Ray so that it sounds punchy and full. One neat advantage of the Ray is that its unique shape — it isn't curved, and doesn't cast sound in as wide a span — make it perfectly suited for placement in a credenza or media console.
One thing that the Ray will not be able to do, which some earlier leaks had speculated, is you won't be able to use two as satellite speakers for a home theater system with one of Sonos's larger soundbars.
In addition to the Ray, which comes in a choice of white or black, Sonos announced that the Roam (but not the Roam SL) will be available in three new colors: olive (light forest green), wave (light blue) and sunset (orange). The Roam in new colors will cost $179, exactly the same as the black or white models. You can purchase that one right now.