For several years, Sonos was the DIY multi-room audio market leader. They've released several successful, powerful and durable speakers that are best-selling products on the market.
Today, dozens of companies have joined the race and try to compete with Sonos, with Bose being the main competitor.
With Bose's immense experience and dedication, they're slowly gaining traction. The SoundTouch 30 is one of Bose's most successful and popular releases.
The PLAY:5 is identically priced and considered the main competitor of SoundTouch 30. Both of these speakers are a part of their companies' ‘ecosystem'. You can expand and diversify your arsenal by purchasing more speakers from the respective manufacturers.
Table of Contents
- Bose SoundTouch 30 vs Sonos Play 5: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Bose SoundTouch 30 vs Sonos Play 5: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this Sonos PLAY:5 vs Bose SoundTouch 30 article, we'll compare, rate and discuss the most important aspects of both audio speakers. We'll also create some interesting charts and, lastly, we'll come up with a reasonable verdict and crown one as the leading product.
1. Setup Process
The first thing we need to cover is the setup processes of both Sonos and Bose. It's essential for these speakers to have simple installation processes since no one likes purchasing gadgets that require hours of reading manuals and surfing the web for what should be a simple setup.
Bose SoundTouch 30
Setting up Bose is pretty simple and straightforward. The only thing you need to do is download the mobile application and follow the simple setup guide.
You just open the app, enter the password of your Wi-Fi, register for Bose, and that's it. If you encounter any issues, refer to the user manual. It's well-written.
Above, you'll find a video that guides you through the setup. The video caters to iOS devices, but the process for Android devices is identical.
Sonos is widely known for its simplicity and ease of use. One of the key reasons Sonos became so popular was due to it being a DIY speaker. People love devices that don't require hours of reading manuals and watching guides for their setup.
Sonos PLAY:5 shares the Sonos mobile application that is used to control, navigate and activate our speakers. Like the Bose SoundTouch, Sonos has a straightforward installation that takes a few minutes to complete.
After downloading the mobile app, it'll guide you through the whole process. If you're interested in how it's done, take a look at the guide linked below:
For those who prefer written instructions, here is a step-by-step guide:
- First, connect the speaker to the power source
- Then turn it on
- Connect it to Wi-Fi using the mobile application
- Do the wavy-wavy-hand-dancey
- Done. You can start playing music.
It's super easy and there's no chance of messing up. If you still encounter any issues, simply refer to the user manual. For further help, you can reach out to the Sonos support team.
It's essential for all of these speakers to have fitting, eye-catching and lucrative designs since we'll be placing them around our houses. If the PLAY:5 and SoundTouch 30 aren't visually appealing, people might consider purchasing alternatives.
Bose SoundTouch 30
The SoundTouch 30 can hardly be described as elegant and compact. It's not as well designed as the Sonos speakers (even though Bose definitely releases decent speakers).
The SoundTech 30 is 7 inches wide, 10 inches high and 7 inches deep. It's available in black or white and has an OLED display in the centre of the speaker.
On top of the unit, you'll find six shortcuts and also a power button, AUX/Bluetooth switch, and volume. The only drawback is that we don't have the mute or play button.
The speaker package includes a remote control that has the same shortcuts and a few more buttons for better control.
The SoundTouch 30 is a lot heavier compared to the previous generation models (17lbs versus 7). While it's also bulkier in size, we didn't have trouble finding a place for it.
Overall, the speaker is well-built and leaves a pretty good impression. It blends well with its environment and is likely to be admired by visitors.
The PLAY:5 is one of the most beautifully designed speakers on the market. It's more compact than the SoundTouch 30 and hence takes up less space.
While the speaker has a dark front grille, you can purchase the overall model in either white or black. The dimensions of the Sonos PLAY:5 are 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 inches, and it weighs 14 pounds
Visually, the PLAY:5 is our favourite pick. It's minimalistic, well-built and eye-catching. Sonos is one of those rare companies who take design seriously. If there's a change in the look, then any change happens for a reason.
The front grille of the speaker is made of plastic. The reason why Sonos chose plastic over metal was due to antenna placements (which are within the body). Metal was interfering with the wireless performance so Sonos had to find another working solution.
Besides the update to the front grille, control buttons have also been adjusted, with touch buttons replacing the physical. On top of the PLAY:5, you'll find buttons to play/pause, volume up/down and change track.
While your smartphone or a tablet is considered the main navigation tool, if you decide to use the touch buttons, they're pretty responsive.
It's crucial to know the features of Sonos PLAY:5 and Bose SoundTouch 30. We need to know what these two have in common and the exact ways in which they differ.
In addition, it's interesting to know if either of these two can offer us something unique and extraordinary. In order to find out, we've created a detailed chart that lists the features of both audio speakers.
|BOSE SOUNDTOUCH 30||SONOS PLAY:5|
|Shortcut Buttons||Amazon Alexa Integration|
|Multi-Room Functionality||Multi-Room Support|
|5-Minute Setup||5-Minute Setup|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||Wireless Stream|
|Amazon Alexa Support||Stereo and Mono Mode|
|Wi-Fi Support||Wi-Fi Support|
|Mobile Application||Mobile Application|
|Display Screen||Six Amplifiers|
|Remote Control||Six Speaker Drivers|
SoundTouch 30 and PLAY:5 are two of the best speakers on the market that have outstanding features and immense capabilities. While these two are quite similar in features, there are some noticeable differences.
4. Sound Quality & Performance
This is a crucial aspect of our Sonos PLAY:5 vs Bose SoundTouch 30 article. The main reason people purchase these speakers is due to their sound capabilities. If Bose and Sonos underperform, there's no need for us to invest in such speakers.
Bose SoundTouch 30
You can connect all your Bose speakers and stream the same music in different rooms. If you prefer, diversifying music to individual speakers is another possibility.
You can stream music on a home network, Spotify, Internet radio, Bluetooth, PC and NAS (there are other options, too. All are present in the mobile app).
The drawback of the SoundTouch 30 is that we don't get the AirPlay support. That can be a serious issue for active Apple users. Another issue with the speaker is the inability to play hi-res files.
Every time we tried playing WAV and FLAC files, the ‘error' message popped up. SoundTouch 30 plays the regular WAV and FLAC files, though.
We played Coldplay's ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall' in a 30 metre-square office to test the speaker's capabilities.
While the sound was astounding, we had higher expectations. The sound didn't deteriorate while increasing the volume but it felt like another Bose speaker was required to unleash its full potential.
The word that best describes the audio capabilities of SoundTouch 30 is ‘meaty'. While it can get the crowd going and keep everyone entertained, it still has trouble playing a certain type of music without support (a.k.a additional speaker).
When we played Daft Punk's ‘Get Lucky', it was the best experience. The bass was deep and flawless. It felt like a single SoundTouch 30 was enough to fill a large room with lively sound.
The only additional thing we wish the Bose had – vis a vis its sound quality – is better control on higher volumes. You might experience scenarios where the sound gets muddled and it's a bit unpleasant to witness.
The PLAY:5 is one of Sonos' proudest creations in terms of its incredible sound capabilities. Inside the PLAY:5 speakers are six custom-designed drivers, three tweeters and three mid-woofers.
The sound of the PLAY:5 model is thunderous. Compared to other speakers from the same price range, Sonos' capabilities are unmatchable.
We played different tunes on the speaker and the results were mesmerizing. Drake’s Hotline Bling sounded clean and solid. While the previous generation PLAY:5 failed to deliver acceptable results, the new speaker blew our minds.
Ensure you run the ‘TruePlay' to adjust the sound of the speaker. This feature makes sure that the PLAY:5 sounds its best.
The PLAY:5 can be placed either vertically or horizontally. While the sound is wider if placed horizontally, we still prefer the vertical position. On removing the speaker from its box and trialling it for the first time, the sound might not be as good as promised. Don't freak out. Give it some time to adjust itself.
I tested Hans Zimmer’s ‘Gotham’s Reckoning' when some of my friends were around. I turned the volume to max (94 dbs) and the rich bass, clean, sharp sound made a deep impression on everyone. I wasn't expecting a lone speaker to be capable of this much.
While testing other music, we found that the sound distorts a little when over 90 dbs. To solve this, the best thing to do is get another speaker (preferably, pairing two PLAY:5 speakers) to enhance sound capabilities and unlock the ‘orientate' feature.
All Sonos speakers use Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. Due to this, you'll rarely find someone with a connectivity issue. On top of this, Wi-Fi allows users to stream better-quality files.
Since we had the opportunity to pair two PLAY:5 speakers and test them, we didn't miss the chance. A pair of PLAY:5 speakers is an overkill if you're looking for background music for a night read or other similar purpose.
The sound of these two is so loud that it can be heard three flats below. On the other hand, if you want a loud, clean and quality sound, a pair of PLAY:5 will exceed your expectations.
5. Mobile Application
Having a functional mobile application is essential for these speakers since it's the main tool to control the devices. If Bose and Sonos weren't able to offer a straightforward, easy to use and intuitive mobile app, that would seriously affect the user experience.
Bose SoundTouch 30
The mobile application of Bose is OK. It's nothing special, nor user-friendly. We didn't like it much and mostly looks like Bose didn't spend enough time developing it.
The app itself is well-structured, straightforward to use and doesn't leave the user with dozens of questions. The main issue we see here is the ‘low-quality' interface, which makes the app inferior to the likes of Sonos.
If you're an active Spotify user, good news – Spotify is integrated into the app and you can stream all your favourite tracks from there. Two other ‘big names', Pandora and iHeartRadio, are also supported.
The biggest drawback here is that the SoundTouch 30 doesn't support Tidal and Apple Music. If you store music on your phone, the app doesn't allow you to directly stream from there.
If you really want to play music directly from your phone, you'll have to do it via Bluetooth. Files like MP3, WMA, AAC, and FLAC are all supported and can be streamed from your network.
Unlike the PLAY:5, which has TruePlay and tone control, SoundTouch 30 only offers a bass control feature.
Streaming music via Spotify and Pandora was pretty simple. The process was straightforward and we didn't encounter any issues. It was a bit troublesome when we tried to stream directly from our smartphone.
Overall, the mobile application of Bose is acceptable. It's not as good as Sonos' but it gets the job done.
Sonos has a really good mobile application that is one of the best on the market. It's well-structured, intuitive, quality-built and simple to use.
This app has a lot of cool features and supports dozens of services to stream music, including Spotify, Pandora, YouTube (from a third-party iOS or Android app), Amazon Music, Apple Music, etc. It's pretty convenient and supports all the major music streaming services including Tidal.
What we love about the app is the TruePlay (sadly, it's only available for iOS users). It's a simple feature that plays a tune and adjusts itself to find the optimum sound for the entire room.
Adding new and connecting speakers is simple. Just open the app, click the ‘add speaker', press ‘sync' and you're good to go. That's the best and easiest multi-room setup system on the market.
You can also search for tracks and create playlists. That's another highly useful perk.
The only addition we'd make to the Sonos app is the ability to directly stream music from YouTube and video game sounds from your smartphone.
6. Advantages and Disadvantages
We also need to discuss the pros and cons of both speakers to understand their capabilities. If Sonos and Bose have any serious drawbacks, it's better to know about them before making any purchase decision.
Hence we've created two charts that clearly show all the advantages and disadvantages of SoundTouch 30 and PLAY:5.
Bose SoundTouch 30
|Rich Bass Response||Distorts at High Volume|
|Multi-Room Functionality||No High-Res Support|
|Works with Streaming Services||No AirPlay|
|Amazon Alexa Support|
|Good Mobile Application|
|Clear Mids||PURCHASE SoundTouch 30|
|Well-Balanced Bass||No Bluetooth|
|Room-Filling Sound||Proprietary system|
|Multi-Room Audio||No High-Res Support|
|Works with Streaming Services|
|Amazon Alexa Support|
|Straightforward Mobile Application|
|Clear Mids||PURCHASE PLAY:5|
While both are proven to be powerful, reliable and robust, there is still a major difference where Sonos takes the lead.
Both of these companies have pretty good customer service. If you encounter any issues with your speaker, be sure to reach out.
I've talked with them a few times and Sonos and Bose are always caring, attentive and responsive. They're fast and friendly.
Bose SoundTouch 30 Review: Key Takeaway
Before concluding our comparison article, it's essential to discuss the key takeaways of both speakers. We need to know what they have in common and if there's anything unique about the PLAY:5 and SoundTouch 30.
Bose SoundTouch 30 is one of the best speakers on the market. It's well-priced, strong-built and a robust device that takes one of the top spots on the market. Below, we'll discuss some of the most important aspects of the speaker:
- Multi-Room Functionality – The Bose Soundsystem has the multi-room feature. It gets even better when you realize the app gives the freedom to stream different music on individual speakers.
- Streaming Sources – Bose supports the majority of the big names in the industry, including Spotify, Pandora, etc. We've tested both Spotify and Pandora, and it works like charm.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity – Like other top-notch speakers, Bose also has the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. You can use either to stream music (Wi-Fi is more advisable, though).
- Amazon Alexa – If you own the voice-enabled device, you can pair it with your Bose speaker to make things more convenient and enjoyable.
Sonos PLAY:5 Review: Key Takeaways
The PLAY:5 is the complete speaker. It's powerful, beautiful, well-sized and user-friendly. Compared to other speakers from the same price range, the PLAY:5 easily takes the top spot.
- TruePlay – This is the unique feature of the Sonos speaker. It auto-adjusts itself and finds the optimum sound for the entire room.
- Vertical/Horizontal Position – You can place your Sonos speaker either horizontally or vertically. The speaker automatically detects its current position and activates the correct mode (stereo or mono).
- Streaming Sources – Sonos supports everything Bose does and, in addition, you can stream music from Apple Music, Amazon Music and Tidal.
- Multi-Room Support – Sonos has the multiroom feature. You can connect all your speakers and there's also the potential to stream different music on individual devices.
In short, PLAY:5 is the best speaker on the market. It's a bit expensive but well worth it. Compared to every other speaker, the PLAY:5 is the most successful, powerful and user-friendly.
8. Comparison Chart: SOUNDTOUCH30 vs PLAY:5
Lastly, we'd like to compare the Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 directly.
While both of these speakers are similar, there's still a difference in sound capabilities. Both of them perform well, but the PLAY:5 delivers a superior streaming-audio experience.
The Bottom Line
Sonos PLAY:5 and Bose SoundTouch 30 are well-built, functional and beautiful speakers that share top spots on the market. While both perform at a high level, the PLAY:5 still leads the race.
Sonos speakers are the best on the market and, for now, they outperform every other device. With Sonos' good features, audio capabilities and high durability, there's no doubt why people like it that much.
If you're thinking of getting either of these two, it's advisable to purchase the PLAY:5 since it offers more freedom and flexibility. If you're ready to invest more, consider getting a pair of PLAY:5's.
If using a pair, the experiences are out-of-this-world. For sure, the Bose speaker is also good but we can't possibly recommend it over the PLAY:5.
|Audio Speaker||SoundTouch 30||SONOS PLAY:5|