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Sonos Ray could be the killer budget soundbar I've been waiting for

a leaked marketing image of the Sonos Ray soundbar
(Image credit: SnoopyTech)

Update: The Sonos Ray is official, and it costs $279. Read our hands-on Sonos Ray review for availability information and our first impressions. 

As someone who loves dedicated audio tech, I’ve been on the hunt for a soundbar to complement my LG C1 OLED TV, but a lot of the best soundbars are pretty pricey. 

I had my eye on the second-generation Sonos Beam, thanks to its relatively compact design and support for Dolby Atmos. I live in a small apartment so I don't have the room for a full surround sound setup. But at $449, it’s hardly cheap — especially when you consider other smart speakers from Sonos, like the excellent Sonos One, can be had for less than $200. 

However, an answer to my TV audio woes may be at hand, in the form of the Sonos Ray. According to a recent tip The Verge received, this could be a more affordable soundbar from Sonos. And now leaked marketing images of what appears to be the Sonos Ray have been posted online by a tech tipster going by the name of SnoopyTech

And I have to admit I’m excited. I normally pontificate over the impressive utility of foldable phones or how the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a killer gaming phone, so getting pumped up about a simple black soundbar is an unusual feeling. But the Sonos Ray could justify my interest.

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First off, the Sonos Ray looks pleasingly compact, which is ideal for my current entertainment setup where space is at a premium; I’ve still managed to fit in an Xbox Series X and the hefty PS5. The Ray also looks compact enough to be able to use as a speaker for a gaming PC setup, especially if you have an optical audio output on your machine.

Secondly, the design looks very nice. Seemingly taking cues from both the Beam and the much larger and more expensive Sonos Arc, the Ray looks like a slightly elongated pill, and has the look of a speaker that’ll blend into an entertainment setup but also be relatively easy on the eye when one notices it.

Sonos also has a reputation for getting excellent sound out of compact speakers, so I’ve got some high hopes for the audio quality of the Ray.

Thirdly, the Sonos Ray will reportedly be able to take a Dolby Atmos signal and provide all the surround sound nuance that standard promises, which ticks my boxes, especially as some of the best Xbox Series X games and best PS5 games work with Dolby Atmos. The only caveat here is apparently a pair of Rays will be needed to deliver Atmos, while a single Ray can offer Dolby Digital sound.

But that leads me onto my fourth point: at a claimed price of $249 the Sonos Ray is set to be more affordable than its larger siblings. That means you could feasibly buy one, then save up a little more, get a second and enjoy some serious surround sound.

The Sonos Ray is expected to get an official reveal in the coming weeks, with a likely release in June. I really hope it lives up to my expectations, as it could finally be the soundbar I’ve been waiting for.

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.