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In the post, I’ll explore the similarities and differences of Amazon Nebula vs Sonos Beam smart soundbars, which have Amazon Alexa built-in. Until now, Sonos has had arguably the best and most popular soundbar with Alexa, the Sonos Beam. Does Amazon’s new Nebula soundbar unseat Sonos?
Here’s a quick summary of the main differences:
While the Nebula includes Fire TV and Alexa, Sonos Beam also has Alexa built-in, offers more advanced audio hardware, supports Google Assistant, and even has limited support for Apple Siri. Sonos also supports Apple Airplay, whereas the Nebula soundbar does not.
Nebula vs Beam: Comparison Table
Here’s a comparison table contrasting some of the key features of these two soundbars that include Amazon Alexa onboard.Table could not be displayed.
Amazon Nebula Fire TV Edition
The customer response has been overwhelmingly positive since Amazon started shipping the Nebula soundbar last November.
Here’s a look at everything that Amazon announced at IFA, including their launch of Nebula Fire TV Edition in 2019 .
In the rest of this post, I’ll take a closer look comparing the features and specifications of these two smart soundbars along with the pros and cons.
Amazon Nebula – Fire TV Edition
Cool name, but what is Amazon Nebula exactly? It a soundbar? A media streamer? An Alexa device? Yes. In a nutshell, it is a premium soundbar that bundles in Fire TV and even has Alexa *on board* for voice control. This means that in addition to a high-quality soundbar, you get the equivalent of a Fire TV Stick or Cube for streaming, and Alexa will play your favorite tunes from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, and more. My understanding is that Spotify is not supported on this device, but I will research further and provide an update here soon.
With the Fire TV built-in, you can: Stream live news, sports, and your favorite show. Plus, you get access to thousands of titles leveraging the latest standards for picture quality, including 4K Ultra HD, HDR, HDR10+, or Dolby Vision. You also access the Fire TV’S 500,000 movie and TV episodes library. You can stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and others as well. As most of you know, subscription fees may apply for some of these services.
You can also add the soundbar to your Multi-Room music configuration for outstanding lows and highs, especially when paired with other Echo devices.
Sound specifications of the Nebula include powerful 2.1 channel cinematic sound and rich bass. The bass emulates from dual built-in subwoofers and Amazon’s proprietary “BassUp” technology. Amazon touts that this is one of the better low-frequency sound experiences from any soundbar available today.
Sonos Beam with Alexa
Beam me up, Sonos! While Sonos Beam has been around for over a year, it is one of the most popular soundbars on the market. And with good reason. In addition to delivering excellent quality sound in an affordable compact package, it was the first Smart TV soundbar with Amazon Alexa voice control built-in.
I like the Alexa support better in this device. Amazon requires that you use the included voice remote to talk with Alexa on the soundbar. I like the hands-free option that you get with Alexa and Sonos Beam. You can use it for announcements, messaging, and drop-in calling, however, you will need another Alexa device.
You can grab the Sonos Beam at Amazon here.
Also unlike the Nebula, you have the option to control the soundbar using Google Assistant. But like Amazon’s soundbar and it’s Alexa devices, it does have built-in “far-field” microphones. This helps Alexa or Google to hear you just fine – even while you blaring Tom Petty or your favorite Avengers flick.
Engadget has a nice review of the Sonos Beam here:
You can also say: “Alexa, turn on the TV.”
Until the release of Amazon’s new Nebular, the Sonos Beam remains one of just a few smart speakers in the world that have Alexa built in. And remains just one of a few that allow Google Assistant and Alexa commands on the same device. The other is the Sonos One.
The Sonos Beam also has AirPlay 2 built-in, a feature it shares with the Sonos One and Sonos Amp. With AirPlay 2, you can play audio directly to the Beam from any iOS device or Mac computer.
Amazon Nebula vs Sonos Beam: What Do You Think?
So what do you think about this comparison of Amazon Nebula vs Sonos Beam? Was the comparison chart at the top of the post helpful?
Are you considering purchasing one of these devices to bring Alexa to your soundbar?
What do you think of the differences between these two soundbars? Is support for Alexa your #1 factor in deciding on one of these babies? Does Google Assistant support matter to you? How about FireTV or Apple Airplay?
If you are curious about some additional soundbar options from Bose, check out this article at DiySmartHomeProducts.com.
Please leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. I read and publish all comments, and I’ll update this review as I hear more from you.
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Tim Brennan, a tech blogger and host of the @TecTimmy YouTube channel, writes about smart homes at oneSmartcrib, home theaters at UniversalRemoteReviews, and AI in writing at Writeinteractive. He holds a Journalism degree from Northeastern University and has covered technology for three decades. He lives on the ocean in Nahant, Massachusetts.
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