But how do they measure up to one another?
We tested the sound quality, durability and build, features, and software to determine which Dolby Atmos soundbar performs better.
The price for Sony’s G700 and Z9F soundbar is significantly more affordable than the Sonos Arc. However, what you gain from the Sonos Arc in terms of features and sound clarity is worth the hefty price point.
That said, Sony does get a few things right with both the G700 and their entry-level Z9F soundbar. The sound quality for both Sony soundbars is crisp and clear, and both products include a wireless subwoofer.
However, both Sony products — even including the subwoofer — fail to compete with the cinematic experience the Sonos Arc soundbar delivers on its own.
In terms of design and durability, all three soundbars come out equal. However, if you are looking to play music through your soundbar, the Sonos Arc’s sound delivery is much crisper and clearer.
Overall, the Sonos Arc soundbar is much better in almost every aspect compared to Sony’s HT-G700 and HT-Z9F — except for the price tag.
The Sony G700 is a fantastic entry-level soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos and comes with a wireless subwoofer. The soundbar’s stereo sound profile is adequate, perhaps too heavy on the bass, leaving the vocal clarity not as clear.
So how does that stack up against the Sonos Arc and Sony HT-Z9F? Not that great, to be frank.
Between the Sonos Arc and the Sony HT-Z9F, both soundbars’ sound clarity is crisp and clear. Played through Dolby Atmos, you can expect the Sonos Arc’s sound quality to be the perfect balance of treble and bass, certainly in a different class than either Sony soundbar can provide.
The Sonos Arc’s upward-firing driver speakers and the inclusion of Dolby Atmos allow for a more immersive listening experience and a more meticulous arrangement of sound effects over a broader, more realistic soundstage.
Integrating Dolby Atmos with the Sony HT-Z9F was a little disappointing, although this is typical for a 3.1 setup — there just aren’t enough speakers to give an immersive sound. The HT-Z9F had a little trouble conveying the big dramatic sounds that give movies their impact; it was a little underwhelming.
Since most soundbars are made to recreate the cinematic movie experience at home, this begs the question: how does the sound quality of music compare? The biggest differences between the three soundbars became clear when listening to music.
Sony’s HT-G700 and Z9F’s sound quality was surprisingly well balanced. Interestingly, the virtual surround system performs wonderfully in movies but lacks crisp clarity for music. The G70 and Z9F soundbars have six separate sound settings: Cinema, Music, Game, News, Sports, and Standard. The Cinema and Music setting would be the best option for listening to music without the subwoofers.
The Sonos Arc, on the other hand, has side-firing speakers that bounce sound off the walls, reflecting the sound to you, the listener. The treble is crisp, the vocals are clear, and the treble and bass are evenly balanced.
The Z9F’s slim dot-matrix display is visible through the matte black grille. At the top of the soundbar are the power, input selection, Bluetooth, and volume controls.
A remote includes various settings you can easily access; however, we wish the buttons on the remote were a little bigger. Someone with bigger hands will struggle to use the remote.
What threw us off a bit is that the soundbar and the separate subwoofer are much heavier than the Arc and HT-G700.
Sound Winner: Sonos Arc (and honestly, it isn’t even close, despite the Arc lacking an included subwoofer)
Design & Durability
The Sonos Arc was made for larger televisions (49-50 inches); however, it works with any size television since it can be wall mounted. The wall mount is not included in the box, so you will need to budget to buy it separately.
The Arc does weigh 13.8 pounds, so ensure that the wall mount is the correct fit. The Dolby TrueHD speakers naturally adjust the speakers to suit any environment.
The Sonos Arc does not come with a remote; you can use the Sonos App (or your TV remote) to manage the wireless soundbar’s buttons and power. The soundbar has a play/pause functionality built into the frame and additional volume controls supplied by two touch screens that respond to their surroundings.
A microphone button and LED light for Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands are on the right-hand side of the soundbar.
The Arc comes with HDMI input, optical, ethernet, and eARC ports and is supported by Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital+, Dolby Digital, and DTS.
The HT-ZF9 is approximately a meter in length and has a detachable grill that covers the speakers and amplifiers. You can connect it to your TV’s audio system through one of its two HDMI inputs or its HDMI output with HDMI ARC capability. An ethernet port, one USB port, a 3.5mm input, and digital optical input offer further connectivity options.
A significant difference between the HT-Z9F and the Sonos Arc is that the HT-Z9F does not need a mic or a time-consuming calibration procedure to set up Dolby Atmos — the Z9F is more “plug-and-play.”
The Sony HT-G700 includes not just a massive, separate wireless subwoofer but also a soundbar that feels more durable than the Sonos Arc and HT-Z9F. That doesn’t mean it’s enormous or imposing; however, it measures about as wide as a standard 49-inch TV and is designed to sit low enough that it won’t block your view.
Design and Durability Winner: Tie (some weird quirks on the Sonos, like no remote and no dedicated HDMI port, prevent it from winning this category)
The Sonos Arc comes with a relatively straightforward Sonos S2 app that is compatible with iOS, macOS, and Android. The ease of streaming music does not require opening the Sonos App; once you are connected, you can play Spotify or any streaming device directly from your smartphone.
With Sonos Arc’s Airplay 2 feature designed specifically for iOS devices, you can stream almost any music file, and it is compatible with Tidal and Spotify music apps as well as any audio file from your iOS device. Voice commands from Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are supported by the four microphones strategically placed throughout the chassis to hear you above the music or movie sound.
Using HDMI-CEC, the Sonos Arc soundbar can communicate with your television and automatically turn on and switch to TV audio when the TV is turned on. You can also adjust the soundbar’s volume using your TV remote or voice commands to turn your TV on or off.
If you connect an Amazon Fire TV stick or a Google Chromecast device to the system using an HDMI cable, you can use the Arc to control your TV with only your voice.
The Sony Music Center app can wirelessly cast your music to the HT-Z9F soundbar from your smartphone. While the options to stream and cast are shown on the soundbar’s remote, not all the functions are available as they are on the app.
Using a cast-enabled device gives you the freedom to send audio from your smartphone, computers, or a streaming app like Spotify directly to your soundbar. Unfortunately, some features are not available yet and require Sony firmware updates.
The Sony HT-G700 cannot be used with the Sony Music center App. The soundbar has no Wi-Fi capabilities and is as standard as they come. It is as simple as plugging your soundbar and subwoofer into an electrical outlet and connecting it to an HDMI port or optical audio.
Since the HT-G700 lacks Wi-Fi capacities, installing any additional software or setting up automatic software updates is unnecessary. The HT-G700 is a cutting-edge update to the simple plug-and-play systems of yesteryear, accommodating in an era where everything, even soundbars, is becoming more innovative and connected.
Overall, the Sonos Arc and the Sony HT-Z9F have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth support, and supporting apps, whereas the HT-G700 fails to compare.
Software Winner: Sonos Arc (Sonos’ software is good enough that other companies steal it, so it isn’t surprising that Sonos wins here; if you like plug-and-play simplicity rather than WiFi and voice assistants, the G700 may be worth considering also)
The Sonos Arc’s power jack, wired LAN connector, and HDMI port are located on the soundbar’s base. It is best to use the HDMI with the ARC feature to transmit sound from your TV to the Arc, but an optical adapter is provided for older televisions.
Dolby Atmos soundbars should carry DTS HD master audio, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual mono, and Dolby True HD.
The Arc supports eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), allowing it to process higher-quality Dolby Atmos signals from TVs that can broadcast them. To transmit Dolby Atmos, eARC is not required but recommended.
Your television must have eARC compatibility and pass-through capabilities to provide True HD Dolby Atmos. However, we have noticed that if your television supports ARC and eARC, not all Dolby Atmos streaming services will work.
The HT-Z9F soundbar has an intuitive user interface that is relatively easy to navigate using the remote or the controls on the top of the soundbar.
The first one toggles between the TV and HDMI inputs, while the second allows you to choose between wireless audio through Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm analog, music streaming app Spotify, or Chromecast. You probably won’t use these menus very much since you can access most of the same features via the remote; however, we find the input switches on the remote to be a little clumsy.
The HT-Z9F soundbar’s accompanying subwoofer has a big woofer on the front and a bigger reflex vent on the bottom. It has three elliptical drivers for a total of 3.1 configurations and a stated total power output of 400W.
Dolby Atmos audio seems a tad bit impossible for a 3.1 system, but Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround technology make it doable (albeit imperfect).
An impressive feature is the immersive AE processing function of the Sony HT-G700 soundbar. It can increase high-resolution audio levels up to almost 7.1.2 channels by applying height and surround processing to 5.1 channels and even stereo signals.
Overall, the features on the HT-G700 are plain and simple, which is a little disappointing for the sheer size. The Sony HT-Zf9, on the other hand, has a little more kick to it, featuring Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Chromecast capabilities.
The Sonos Arc surpasses Sony’s soundbars. More features to play with enhance your Dolby Atmos content and sound quality, making it more user-friendly.
Special Features Winner: Sonos Arc
Although both the Sony HT-G700 and HT-Z9F lack the incredible features the Sonos Arc has, they are still pretty good for entry-level soundbars.
These 3.1 sound systems attempt to create a cinematic theatre experience in your home; however, the Sonos Arc brings the theatre home, is much more innovative, and is worth the price point overall.
If your budget allows it, the Arc is the way to go. If you have the funds to pair it with a Sonos Sub, you are now looking at one of the top soundbar setups on the market.
But for anyone with tighter financial constraints, either Sony product is a nice upgrade over your TV’s built-in speakers.