Dealmaster: A bunch of Sonos speakers are discounted for the Super Bowl


A LEGO figure uses the Beam as a DJ.
Enlarge / The Beam is more of an entry-level soundbar for smaller rooms and TVs than a true Playbar or Playbase replacement.


Super Bowl season typically brings an uptick in deals for TV tech. True to form, Sonos has announced discounts for a handful of its home theater devices.

Here’s a rundown of the smart-speaker maker’s offerings:

  • The Sonos Beam soundbar is available for $349, a $50 discount.
  • The company’s larger soundbar, the Sonos Playbar, is available for $599, a $100 discount.
  • The Sonos Playbase, a speaker designed to sit under TVs that aren’t wall mounted, is available for $599, a $100 discount.
  • The Sonos Sub wireless subwoofer is also available for $599, another $100 discount.
  • Various bundles that include a mixture of the products above and/or the company’s Sonos One smart speakers are also discounted.

The deals are available on the Sonos website as well as third-party retailers like Amazon. Sonos says they will last until February 3, the date of Super Bowl LIII.

In a vacuum, none of the discounts are massive. But deals on Sonos speakers are rare, and the prices here are as low as we typically see the handful of times these devices have been part of sales.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

What you’re getting

We generally like Sonos devices for being easy to manage compared to other whole-home audio systems, supporting all the major streaming music services and offering strong—if slightly overpriced—audio quality. Its PC and mobile apps are mostly straightforward. If you’ve bought into the Sonos family of devices already, any of the four devices on sale should slot in without issue.

There are a few caveats worth noting if you want to use this sale to jump on the Sonos bandwagon, though. The Beam is the company’s latest device: it behaves similarly to its Sonos One smart speaker, with Amazon’s Alexa assistant built in. That’s a large part of the device’s appeal, as it is significantly smaller than the Playbar and thus produces a smaller sound. It’s still impressive for its size, but it’s best suited for smaller (think sub-50 inches) and/or secondary TVs. We said in a gift guide last year that Polk’s Command Bar, which costs $100 less and comes with a wireless subwoofer, is a better “smart soundbar” if you aren’t already invested in the Sonos ecosystem. If you want to dive into the Sonos pool, though, the Beam is far from poor.

The Playbar and Playbase, meanwhile, offer much more expansive sound but at the expense of Alexa support—which may or may not be a negative, depending on how you feel about smart speakers—and connectivity options. While the Sonos Beam includes a more modern HDMI ARC port, the older Playbar and Playbase only include one optical input. If your TV only supports 2.0 audio over optical, note that this might preclude you from creating a true 5.1 surround sound system down the road.

For iOS users, the Beam and Playbase are the only products here to directly support Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol, which lets you send audio directly from an iPhone or iPad to a Sonos speaker. It’s still possible to use AirPlay with other Sonos devices, but you’ll need to have a Beam, Playbase, Sonos One, or second-gen Sonos Play:5 in your home setup first. It’s also worth noting that, while the current Sub is excellent, Sonos is rumored to be working a new variant of the wireless subwoofer.

Beyond that, all Sonos speakers continue to lack support for Bluetooth streaming and Dolby Atmos. None of the devices support dual-band or 802.11ac Wi-Fi, either, so you’ll want to have a relatively stable signal at home if you plan to stream music to the speakers.

On the privacy side, Sonos says it collects info like IP addresses and shares select data with third parties, but it does not collect voice recordings. It is possible to opt out of some data collection. The company has relied on Microsoft’s outdated and wildly vulnerable SMBv1 file-sharing protocol, but said it migrated from SMBv1 to HTTP for those streaming from a local Windows PC library last year. The update did not cover streaming from a NAS, though, so there’s still a security risk if you’re part of that niche.

All that said, while these speakers still aren’t cheap, the user experience is good for most, and the deals here are solid.