SONOS and Bose are two companies that are well-known for their high-quality audio systems. They are an ideal addition to any home audio system, especially if you want to have a truly enriching sound experience.
Both these systems connect well for multi-room audio and support all major audio streaming formats and services. With these systems, you have the option to add or remove speakers at any time, depending on your personal preferences. They come with top-notch app integration as well, so you can have a better control over your listening experience, regardless of your location.
Out of the two, SONOS was one of the first entrants to the market. Though Bose joined in much later, both these companies are considered to be the key competitors and their products are also similar and of the highest possible quality.
So, which of these two is better for your home audio system? Here are some of the pros and cons and their final verdict.
Table of Contents
- SONOS Play:3 vs Bose SoundTouch 20: Pros & Cons and Verdict
- Key Takeaways
- Final Verdict
SONOS Play:3 vs Bose SoundTouch 20: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this SONOS Play:3 vs Bose SoundTouch 20: Pros & Cons and Verdict article, we will compare the pros and cons, rate these two products and give you a final verdict on which is the better one for your home audio system.
One of the first aspects that you should consider is the setting up process. Come on, no one likes to spend the entire day setting up a home audio system. This is why a quick setup process is the key, so you can sit back and enjoy the audio – the main reason for buying these systems.
Bose SoundTouch 20
Setting up a Bose SoundTouch 20 is fairly easy. All that you have to do is download the mobile app called SoundTouch to your smartphone or computer and follow the instructions in the setup guide.
To do this, connect your home's Wi-Fi network, login in with your credentials and download the app.
When you open the app, you will have to register with your email address and start the install process. The guide is well-written and is easy to understand and follow.
Also, the process for both iOS and Android devices are similar, so you can follow the same set of instructions. The bonus with the app is that you'll get information about system updates and you can choose to download and install updates when needed.
One of the most salient aspects of any SONOS product is their ease of use and simplicity of setup. In fact, this simplicity is one of the main reasons why SONOS became so popular in the first place.
To set up SONOS Play:3, download the app and follow the instructions for setup. Like Bose, the instructions are simple and the guide is well-written to make it easy for anyone to set up the system within just a few minutes. You don't need prior technical knowledge for the setup.
You can use this app to navigate and control your audio system, right from where you are.
When you compare both products, the download and installation process is quite similar. If you don't like to read the guide, here are the basic steps.
- Connect the speaker to a power socket.
- Turn on the speakers
- Connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi through the mobile app
- Start playing your music.
Setting up doesn't really get easier than this. If you still have problems, contact the support team.
One of the biggest selling points of both these audio systems is that they help you to connect to them wirelessly, so you can have better control over the audio that is played.
Though both SONOS Play:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 allow streaming music wirelessly, they work a little different from each other.
When you set up your SONOS Play:3 for the first time, it will use your home's Wi-FI network to create its own network called SONOSNet, which is a peer-to-peer mesh network. This is the network that your app will use to communicate with the speakers present across multiple rooms. This is also the network that your SONOS Play:3 system will use to stream music across rooms and speakers.
The biggest advantage of this system is that your music streaming activity will not clog your Wi-Fi network. At the same time, it also makes it easy to add more speakers to your audio home system.
Bose SoundTouch 20
The Bose SoundTouch 20, on the other hand, connects to the speakers through your Wi-Fi network. It can also connect through Bluetooth, provided you have paired the speaker with your device and you are within the accessible range. This Bluetooth is most ideal when you want to stream something from your phone, say a song from YouTube to the wireless speakers directly. In all other cases, the speakers communicate through the Wi-Fi network.
The previous versions of Bose SoundTouch supported the AirPlay app of iOS. But this version does not support AirPlay, so if you want to stream music from your iOS, you have to do it through the SoundTouch app. One workaround to this is you can add AirPort Express in the Ethernet port at the back of the speaker.
Design is an important aspect of every home audio system for two reasons. Firstly, an eye-catching design makes you look at your speakers again and again and you can take pride in your investment. Secondly, these systems enhance the decor of your home, make it look and feel opulent and classy.
Thankfully, both these products are well-designed and elegant, and hence, make a great addition to every home.
SONOS Play:3 is much bigger than its previous version, the SONOS Play:1. These speakers look sleek and elegant with easy-to-use controls.
This is the first product from SONOS that comes with the option for a vertical mount and comes in a size that makes it ideal to be fitted in any nook or corner in your house. Whether you want it on a bookshelf or in a corner of your kitchen, you can keep your SONOS Play:3 and it will fit well.
In addition, it has feet on both sides, which means it can stand on any side or end. This flexibility greatly enhances its portability. You can also mount it in the wall, as it comes with the necessary holes for a standard wall bracket.
The dimensions of SONOS Play 3 are 5.2 inches X 10.6 inches X 6.3 inches and weighs around 5.71 lb.
Bose SoundTouch 20
Bose is always known for its compact design and the Bose SoundTouch 20 is no exception. In terms of size, it is similar to a kitchen radio. This sleek design is fully in black with glossy white sides and is overall shaped like a portable box. The controls are present at the top and there are two built-in speakers inside this component.
The back side of the device is of black-matte plastic and comes with a few connection ports and slots.
It has a flat standing shape, so the space it occupies is very less. In fact, it can fit into an average desk or the kitchen countertop.
One of the highlights of Bose SoundTouch 20 is its simplicity. There are only a few buttons and when you press a button, you'll know exactly what to expect. Nothing confusing there.
At the same time, it also comes with many presets that offer good flexibility for users.
Out of the two, SONOS design is far better, especially the fact that it can be mounted both vertically and horizontally adds a bit more flexibility for its usage.
SONOS Play:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 come with an impressive set of features. Both of these products offer many things that are unique and interesting, and they greatly add to our listening experience.
Both SONOS Play:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 are some of the best speakers available today. They are similar in many aspects, and different in others, especially in terms of their features.
SONOS Play:3 comes with the following list of features.
- Fits well across every space.
- Its stereo sound is both intense and at the same time, immersive. A speciality is its deep bass, given its small size.
- It has three speakers present inside the outer encasing and this produces a very high sound quality.
- Clear and crisp sounds
- Streams even when you get a phone call
- Gives you perfect control through its app.
- They disperse sound evenly across the entire room.
- There is a sense of openness to the overall sound quality.
- No congestion on your Wi-Fi network.
Bose SoundTouch 20
Bose SoundTouch 2.0 comes with an equal set of impressive features, listed below.
- This speaker has warm and natural tones that make every music pleasing to the ears.
- It can stand alone or connect to other Bose audio speakers.
- You can navigate and control all your speakers with your mobile device.
- Connectivity is excellent, though it tends to clog your home Wi-Fi at times.
- It emits a good amount of bass, considering its size.
- The vocals are good, but not great.
- Sound dispersion and treble quality are other areas that can be improved.
Both these products have a comprehensive set of features that can give you a good listening experience as well as great value for your money. However, if you have are particular about deep bass or want the perfect sound dispersion, then SONOS Play:3 might just edge out Bose SoundTouch 20.
Performance is a crucial aspect when it comes to audio systems because you want to hear the right sound quality. In this sense, performance can be an important factor to consider while making your purchase.
Despite its small size, SONOS Play:3 scores high on performance and sound quality. It can fill a good sized room with sound, and can even disperse it fairly evenly, so one part of the room does not sound jarring while in the other part, sound is hardly heard.
At the same time, it's important to know that the sides and back of the speaker may not have adequate sound. Keep this in mind while deciding where to place your speakers in the room.
SONOS Play:3 allows you to play music from existing MP3 files on your mobile device or through your Spotify account. You can even directly play from a YouTube video through the Bluetooth if that works better for you.
The sound quality of SONOS Play:3 is top notch. The bass is surprisingly deep for such a small speaker. Likewise, the trebles are also good, though they are a little bit tinny, especially when heard at high volumes.
The sound is loud and clear. It contains three dedicated amps that work in tandem with three speakers placed together inside the metal casing. Besides the speakers, there is also one tweeter, two mid-range drivers and a bass radiator. Though it is short of one tweeter and a subwoofer driver when compared to Play:5, this speaker nevertheless gives excellent sound quality and is a treat to the ears.
That said, the sound is not as perfect as Play:5, so this may come as a bit of disappointment for audiophiles. Play:5 has a rich and creamy touch to the sound and this is missing in Play:3. Also, the sound is a little jarring and a bit distorted too, again only when you compare it with Play:5. Otherwise, the sound quality is quite pleasant for non-audiophiles.
One way to eliminate these jarring sounds is to have two Play:3 speakers kept in the same room, so they will cancel each other's distortion and will round off the sound for a better listening experience.
There is no change in the quality of sound when the speaker is placed horizontally or vertically, and this is definitely an added bonus.
Bose SoundTouch 20
This speaker emits an enormous amount of power for a speaker of such a small size. The sound quality is also excellent, as the deep rumbling lows don't get distorted even when listened at the maximum volume. The sound is also loud and there is no distortion whatsoever in the music as well. In addition, the sonic presence is superb and sounds good across different frequency spectrums.
However, the bass is not that great and this is not s surprise, considering that there is no subwoofer in this speaker. Generally, speakers that come with subwoofers have the best bass output, so that maybe a little too much to expect in a small speaker.
Another drawback is the limited flexibility of the SoundTouch app, as it supports only a few apps and cannot play directly from the mobile device. Bose SoundTouch 20 doesn't support Spotify and other on-the-fly playlists and that can come as a dampener as well.
6. Mobile Application
A mobile application has become absolutely necessary in today's digital world. Fortunately, both SONOS and Bose understand this need for a mobile app and they offer one that is comprehensive and comes with a clean user interface.
SONOS has one of the best mobile applications in the industry today. It is simple to use and at the same time, is packed with all the features necessary to give a complete control over your audio system.
A highlight of this app is that it supports many streams including Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Tidal and more. This means, as a user, you have the best flexibility to play your favourite list of songs from any of the streaming services available today. You can also search for specific tracks, create a playlist and so much more.
Using this app to navigate through your speakers is also easy. Just open the app, click a button called “add speaker”, and click “press sync.” That's it. You're done adding a new speaker to your home audio system. It is really that simple to use.
Bose SoundTouch 20
The Bose SoundTouch 20 is good too, but it pales when compared to SONOS.
Though the app has a good structure and is user-friendly, the interface could sure be better. The overall design can be made more appealing, and hopefully, Bose would bring more changes in the subsequent versions to improve its interface.
Another major drawback is that Bose SoundTouch doesn't support many streaming apps such as Apple Music and Tidal, and this could be a spot of bother for those who want to directly stream music through their apps. But, there is a workaround for it. You can stream music through the Bluetooth if you're particular about playing music directly from your phone. All sound file formats such as MP3, WMA and FLAC are supported by SoundTouch.
Overall, though Bose's SoundTouch is good, SONOS is much better and provides greater flexibility to users.
Both the companies offer excellent support. Customer service representatives are readily available and you can reach out to them in case of any problems, queries or concerns. The response is quick with both the companies.
The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and are willing to provide the right assistance. So, in this aspect, there is no difference at all between the two companies.
Before we conclude, let's look at some key takeaways of both the speakers to give you a quick idea on how they fare.
Bose SoundTouch 20 has:
- Good multi-room functionality
- Robust and durable
- Well priced
- Offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Good volume and sound quality
- Poor bass and treble
- Doesn't support many streaming apps
- User-interface of the mobile application is not that great
SONOS Play:3, on the other hand, has some key takeaways and they are:
- Offers excellent flexibility to users to stream from different apps.
- Can be placed in a vertical and horizontal position, and there is no difference in the sound quality.
- Good multi-room support
- Excellent audio dispersion
- Bass is deep and good, but treble is not so great.
- A user-friendly mobile application that is easy to navigate
- A bit more expensive than Bose
In short, though both the speakers are similar in many ways, there are also some differences and this makes SONOS Play:3 the better of the two.
So, what is the final verdict? Well, SONOS Play:3 is definitely better in terms of audio quality and the ease of use of its mobile application. Since it also supports a ton of streaming apps, it gives a lot of flexibility to users to pick the playlist of their choice.
These superior features make SONOS the best of the two. Though it is more expensive than Bose SoundTouch 20, it is well worth the cost.
If you're thinking between the two, definitely go for SONOS Play:3.