“Wealthy, expansive sound helps this sensible speaker ship a virtuoso efficiency.”
Expansive stereo sound
Glossy, enticing design
Alternative of Alexa or Google Assistant
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and line-in choices
Some music providers not supported
Barely awkward multiroom management
No Chromecast choice for Android
Within the early days of the sensible speaker revolution, discovering a speaker that was each sensible and had nice sound was a problem. Fortunately, these days are lengthy gone. With merchandise from Sonos, Marshall, Apple, and Amazon, now you can have your cake and eat it too. However earlier than you decide on a brand new wi-fi sensible speaker from a type of firms, you need to contemplate the $300 Bose Dwelling Speaker 500.
With an intriguing mixture of modern design, expansive sound, and a selection of digital assistants, it might be simply the sensible audio system your property has been lacking.
However is it best for you? Let’s have a look.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Obtainable in your selection of triple black or a classy two-tone of silver and white, the Bose Dwelling Speaker 500 is deceptively sized. With an elliptical form that’s a lot wider than it’s deep, its base is sufficiently small that it ought to simply discover a perch on a counter-top, bookshelf, or mantle. At simply four.75 kilos It’s additionally surprisingly mild for its measurement.
Nothing breaks up the speaker’s clean aluminum and plastic contours — even the included auxiliary enter is barely noticeable, hidden on the again close to the underside. My triple black assessment unit appeared nice regardless of the place I positioned it.
There are those that are tempted to cover their audio system (even the great wanting ones) the place they are often heard however not seen, however that will be a mistake with the Dwelling Speaker 500. Not solely would that make it exhausting to make use of the thoughtfully designed contact controls that adorn its prime floor, however it could additionally forestall you from seeing its front-facing coloration display.
Not that it is advisable to see it, or contact it (it’s not a contact display), nevertheless it simply seems so rattling cool that it could be a disgrace to not place it the place it may be appreciated.
However I can’t assist pondering that Bose has missed a chance right here. Whenever you’re listening to music, the Three-inch display shows the album artwork for the at the moment enjoying observe, together with the artist and observe title. When the speaker is idle, you possibly can select a clock face or nothing in any respect, however that’s all it does. I can consider a number of methods to make use of that display: Climate forecasts, information feeds, and even only a selection of gently animating display savers.
Provided that the Dwelling Speaker 500 can be used a sensible speaker, it could be tremendous cool to see the display used as a secondary show for voice instructions, e.g. in case you stated, “Alexa, what’s the climate like?” and the display confirmed you the present climate together with Alexa’s spoken response.
However I digress. Those that wish to hearken to the identical artists, playlists, or radio stations frequently will admire the Dwelling Speaker 500’s six devoted preset buttons. You assign them throughout the Bose Music app, and they are often related to virtually any music supply that the app helps.
Sonos has all the time been my benchmark for fast and easy setups, however Bose is an in depth second. Utilizing the Bose Music app, I received the Dwelling Speaker 500 configured for my residence Wi-Fi, linked to my Google account for Google Assistant entry, and fortunately streaming tunes in below 5 minutes.
The Bose Music app is simple and for probably the most half very intuitive to make use of, with nice directions and suggestions at each step.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Some residence wi-fi audio system like Sonos solely do Wi-Fi, however the Bose Dwelling Speaker 500 provides you 3 ways to attach: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the line-in enter I discussed earlier. Except a USB port for accessing hard-drive-based recordsdata, you possibly can’t ask for extra.
Nevertheless, Bose has opted to not embody an ethernet jack, one thing you would possibly miss in case your Wi-Fi community is spotty in locations. Sonos consists of them on all however one in all its audio system, however I think only a few of their clients use them — I definitely have by no means wanted to.
Wi-Fi, with its larger bandwidth than Bluetooth, needs to be your connection methodology of selection, however that is the place issues get a bit tough.
Wi-Fi helps you to arrange and management the Dwelling Speaker 500 from the Bose Music app, and that features having the ability to stream music from Spotify Premium and Free, Apple Music, TuneIn, Pandora, SiriusXM, Amazon Music, Deezer, and iHeartRadio. It’s a wide variety, however not almost as complete as that provided by Sonos. Tidal and YouTube Music, as an illustration, aren’t among the many decisions. Neither is there any solution to stream from a private music assortment on your property community.
When you’re an Apple system proprietor, AirPlay 2 can go a protracted solution to making up for this shortfall, letting you stream nearly any supply of audio out of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, to the Dwelling Speaker 500. However in case you’re an Android consumer who finds the Music app missing, your solely fallback choice is Bluetooth.
Chromecast for audio is likely to be a future Wi-Fi path for Android house owners, nevertheless it’s not supported but on the Dwelling Speaker 500. When it does present up, it will likely be as a subset of the Google Assistant, so those that want Alexa — or no assistant in any respect — will nonetheless be caught with Bluetooth.
Sound high quality
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Bose makes a fairly large declare for the Dwelling Speaker 500: “The widest sound of any sensible speaker.” I put it side-by-side with the $200 Amazon Echo Studio, which has a really related inner driver structure and each merchandise are designed to supply immersive sound. The Dwelling Speaker 500 carried out admirably, delivering a barely wider soundstage than the Echo Studio, regardless of having weaker bass response.
Simply how expansive the sound will get is partially affected by placement. In a perfect world, you’ll give it numerous respiratory room, away from partitions and ideally not tucked right into a bookshelf.
Widest or not, I believe you’ll love the best way this speaker sounds. Bose has positioned the interior drivers in such a means that sound waves are dispersed in a sort of lopsided 360-degree discipline. By that I imply the perfect seat in the home is sitting instantly in entrance of the speaker, however you’ll nonetheless be capable to take pleasure in about 80% of its full high quality from virtually anyplace else.
It’s an impact I realized to understand when reviewing Bose’s glorious Transportable Dwelling Speaker, which produces an virtually completely round sound discipline.
What’s spectacular is that not solely do you get real room-filling audio, however you additionally get some fairly first rate stereo separation — not a simple feat for a speaker this small.
You possibly can tweak each bass and treble from throughout the app, however until your tastes run actually robust in a type of instructions, the manufacturing facility EQ delivers a lovely steadiness of each.
If there’s a weak spot, it’s within the midrange definition — a difficult space for even the perfect small audio system. It’s most noticeable when enjoying genres like classical or jazz — devices that reside within the center frequencies like cellos, and a few woodwinds, can get a bit flattened. However general, the Dwelling Speaker 500 is a pleasure to hearken to, whether or not it’s offering the backdrop to an intimate dinner or a raucous get-together.
The Dwelling Speaker 500 can be able to some downright spectacular quantity ranges. Max this factor out and be ready for loads of knocks on the door from irritated neighbors.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
One of many advantages of shopping for a wi-fi speaker for the house is having the ability to play totally different music in every room, or the identical music in all rooms (or some mixture thereof). The Dwelling Speaker 500 can simply be grouped with different Bose Dwelling audio system, just like the Dwelling Speaker 300, or the Bose Soundbar 500, through the Bose Music app.
Nevertheless, utilizing multiroom requires a little bit of planning. As a result of you may also create speaker teams utilizing AirPlay 2, it is advisable to resolve whether or not you intend to stream from a music service throughout the Bose Music app — wherein case you’ll handle your speaker teams there — or, from one other app in your telephone or pill — wherein case you’ll handle the teams utilizing the AirPlay 2 interface.
The 2 programs don’t play effectively with one another; teams created within the Bose Music app don’t prefer it whenever you attempt to modify them utilizing AirPlay 2 or vice versa.
There’s additionally no solution to create stereo pairs utilizing two Bose audio system. If multiroom audio is a prime precedence, I believe you’ll be happier with Sonos.
Nevertheless, Bose does have one trick up its sleeve that I haven’t encountered on any wi-fi speaker system, together with Sonos. Bose calls it Simplesync, and it helps you to group any Bluetooth audio system, from a conveyable speaker to a set of wi-fi headphones, with the Dwelling Speaker 500. Bose says this function works finest with the corporate’s personal Bluetooth audio system and headphones, within the sense that audio can be extra precisely synced.
It’s true. I attempted Simplesync with a JBL Flip 5 speaker I had readily available, and whereas setup was a snap, there was some split-second latency between the 2 audio system. I wouldn’t depend on it for doing multiroom audio, nevertheless it’s a reasonably useful choice.
Bose has adopted Sonos’ lead on its sensible speaker technique, and that’s a wonderful choice. Like Sonos, Bose helps you to select between Alexa and Google Assistant on the Dwelling Speaker 500 as a substitute of promoting two totally different variations of the speaker as different residence audio firms have accomplished.
I selected Google Assistant for this assessment as a result of I’ve extra appropriate merchandise in my residence, nevertheless it’s simply as simple to arrange the Dwelling Speaker 500 with Alexa. Bose has actually nailed the sensible speaker expertise. Voice instructions are acknowledged effortlessly even in pretty loud environments, and from distances so far as 15 toes while not having to actually increase your voice. If privateness is a priority, a devoted microphone-mute button ensures an A.I.-free surroundings.
Response instances are additionally excellent; I didn’t discover any distinction between the Dwelling Speaker 500 and my Google Nest mini when it comes to response instances.
I particularly appreciated that the glowing white LED strip above the colour display offered instantaneous visible suggestions that my instructions had been heard. Most sensible audio system have an identical visible cue, but when they’re solely seen from the highest floor (like Sonos sensible audio system or Google’s Dwelling and Nest minis) you possibly can’t see them as simply from throughout a room.
There may be one caveat in case you’re choosing the Bose Dwelling Speaker 500 to be your sensible speaker, and that’s music service compatibility. Regardless that Google Assistant and Alexa can take management of a wide range of music providers, if the Dwelling Speaker 500 doesn’t help a particular service (see above, below Connections), you received’t be capable to use these voice assistants to manage it. Google Play Music (now principally transitioned to YouTube Music), Apple Music, and Tidal are all examples of providers that may’t be voice-controlled by both assistant on the Dwelling Speaker 500.
At its new lower cost of $300, the Bose Dwelling Speaker 500 prices the identical because the Apple HomePod and Google Dwelling Max, two excellent sensible audio system. However with Bluetooth, line-in, a full-color show, and your selection of voice assistants, it delivers extra worth than each of those merchandise and sounds wonderful too.
Is there a greater various?
For $200, the Sonos One delivers very good sound and helps almost each streaming service on the planet. It doesn’t have the Dwelling Speaker 500’s ultra-wide stereo soundstage, Bluetooth, auxiliary enter, or fancy coloration display, nevertheless it has the perfect multiroom audio system we’ve ever used. It’s nonetheless our top-rated sensible speaker for a cause.
When you’re on board with Bose’s tackle the sensible speaker expertise however would favor to pay rather less, the $200 Bose Dwelling Speaker 300 loses the colour display and extensive, stereo sound however retains each different function.
How lengthy will it final?
Bose builds nice merchandise that sometimes final a very long time. It solely covers the Dwelling Speaker 500 with a one-year guarantee, although that is pretty normal for related merchandise from different firms.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. The Bose Dwelling Speaker 500 combines attractive design with voice assistant flexibility and an expansive stereo sound that’s outstanding for its slender physique. The colour display is a pleasant contact too. Android customers ought to pay attention to the dearth of Chromecast as a Wi-Fi streaming choice, however Apple customers needs to be very happy with AirPlay 2 as a Bluetooth various.