Advancements in technology have greatly enhanced the viewing and listening experience. Whether you’re watching a movie or playing a game, the depth of an audio system is a major factor that determines your experience.
In today’s home theatre system, a soundbar is an important device. Also known as a media bar, this is a type of loudspeaker that projects audio to viewers. Typically, it is long or tall to provide the best acoustics across a wider area. At the same time, these soundbars are handy and can be moved around anywhere.
Due to the enhanced listening experience they offer, soundbars are popular around the world today. Many manufacturers have entered this market to make the most of the opportunities in it. However, two companies that stand out Sonos and Bose.
Both the companies have come up with a state-of-the-art soundbar that provides excellent audio and elevates your viewing experience to new levels.
If you’re in the market to buy a soundbar which one should you choose? Sonos Playbar or Bose Soundbar?
Let’s find out.
Sonos Playbar vs Bose Soundar – Which is better?
Since both the companies are well-known names in the world of home audio, it is difficult to decide which of the two is better, simply on the face of it.
So, let’s analyze both these products across different aspects, so you can make the right buying decision.
The design is an important aspect as it enhances the aesthetic appeal of a product. The soundbar you buy should not only be functional but it should also look good in your living room or wherever else you place it. This means, it has to match the decor of your house or should be in such a way that complements your TV and other speakers you may have.
Sonos Playbar comes in the dimensions of 5.51 X 35.43 X 3.33 inches. It has a durable cloth cover on the front drivers and a perforated grill made of metal on the side drivers. There is a matching strip of metal that runs at the bottom, both on the front and back side.
There are two buttons on the right – one is for controlling the volume and the other is to play or pause music. These buttons can also be used to connect to your home Wi-Fi.
There are two Ethernet ports at the back side, one optical port and a connection for the power adapter. Besides these controls, there is also an integrated infrared repeater on the front side for capturing the signal from your TV remote. This signal, in turn, is sent to the infrared repeater located at the back, from where it is transmitted to the TV. This way, your remote signals will still reach the TV even if the speaker is placed in front of the TV.
Overall, the design is simple and elegant and the black and metal design combination go well with most decor.
Bose SoundTouch 300
Bose SoundTouch 300 measures 4.2 X 38.5 X 2.2 inches. The top part of the soundbar is covered in a glass while the sides are covered in a single piece of extruded aluminium. On the left top corner are LED indicator lights that can be used as Wi-Fi indicator, TV indicator, Bluetooth indicator and more.
Inside the speakers, you can find four full-range drivers, a tweeter placed in the centre and PhaseGuide arrays on the side to give you a nice surround sound feel. However, setting all this up for the first time can be a little time-consuming and may even be clumsy because the instructions tend to be confusing.
On the back side, there are HDMI input and output connectors, power input, optical input, Ethernet port, micro USB port and a few other openings for proprietary connections. There are no controls on the device for you to control, and this could be a little frustrating. You have to constantly depend on the mobile app to control the settings, and this may not always be feasible.
The overall design is sleek and can fit well in any decor. It is completely black, and perhaps that might be attractive to some users.
If you want to mount these soundbars on the wall, both the manufacturers require you to buy a separate kit, and both the kits cost more or less the same.
One difference between the two soundbars is the remote. While Bose comes with its own remote, you’ll have to configure your TV remote to control Sonos Playbar. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In the case of Sonos, you don’t have to add another remote to your bunch, rather you can reuse an existing one. This is one less hassle of maintaining an extra remote. But an extra remote such as the one offered by Bose gives greater flexibility for switching between devices.
Who is the winner in this category? Completely depends on your preferences. Both the models look appealing and are light enough to carry them around wherever you want. So, the choice depends on which of the two you like the most, and more importantly, which will fit into your decor.
This is the biggest factor because you would buy a soundbar only to enjoy high-quality audio.
In this aspect, both the products have more or less the same quality of sound, and that’s good news because you can choose either one you want and will still be able to enjoy great audio.
Sonos Playbar and Bose SoundTouch 300 have good bass, but they are definitely not the best. The future versions of both these products could improve on this front, but for now, it is still good. But, if you want to get that extra bit of bass and oomph, you should go in for a subwoofer to complement these systems. The good aspect is both the products are compatible with subwoofers and you can connect to them easily.
The mid-range and higher end notes are clear and detailed and the vocals are crisp as well. There is excellent clarity in the high notes as well and this makes any audio very enjoyable, again in both the speakers. So, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in the speakers in terms of audio output and sound quality.
Though some customers have opined that the treble could have been better, we found no problems whatsoever. The treble worked well even when the volume was kept at about 75% of the maximum volume. There were no distortions or loss of audio quality and that really made the sound original and clear.
One area where there is a minor difference is the surround sound. Bose SoundTouch 300 seems to be slightly better than Sonos when it comes to managing the surround sound, but again the difference is hardly perceptible. This could be attributed to the design of Bose soundbar. The PhaseGuide arrays on the side emit out the full sound that gives a more complete surround effect to the audio that comes from Bose SoundTouch 300. This is probably why it also sounds better than Sonos.
If you’re particular about the sound quality, you can always add more speakers and these soundbars will be compatible with them as well, provided they come from the same manufacturer.
Another downside with both these speakers is that there are no EQ settings or support for Dolby Atmos. The lack of these features can be a dampener for audiophiles.
Which product’s sound quality is better? Both are equally good, though Bose’s surround is better. Also, one problem is you need iOS to calibrate Sonos and that could be a drawback for those who use Android smartphones. So, taking these aspects into consideration, Bose may be slightly better than Sonos.
- Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
3. Smart Integration
Soundbars are becoming smart by the day, and this means, they can connect to any of the smart home systems such as Alexa, SmartThings, Stringify and more.
This means you can control the settings through Alexa from wherever you are, and you don’t even need the remote to control your soundbar. This is exciting and can open new opportunities to the way you want to use your soundbars.
In addition, Sonos can sync wirelessly to other Sonos speakers, and this means, you can have multi-room audio. This can be quite handy for you.
Bose SoundTouch 300 doesn’t offer the possibility for a multi-room audio. To make up for it though, it comes with Bluetooth capability, which means, you can simply pair it with your phone and play your favourite songs right from your phone.
Another significant advantage with Bose SoundTouch 300 is that you play your favourite songs from Spotify or Pandora directly, without any loss in quality. It also works well with SoundTouch 10 speakers to give you the perfect audio experience.
The winner? Bose may have slightly edged out Sonos, especially because it comes with the capability to connect to your phone and maybe even other devices through Bluetooth.
4. Mobile Applications
Sonos and Bose have advanced mobile apps that allow you to have a complete control over your listening experience. You can browse through popular music services, Internet radio stations and can instantly stream music from any platform to your soundbar.
Also, these mobile apps are user-friendly and easy to navigate. It does not require any prior experience and works well for people of all levels of technical knowledge. Bose comes with automatic firmware updates as well.
In addition to all this, the Sonos app comes with an alarm feature, which Bose doesn’t have. With this feature, you can set a wake-up tune and a tune to sleep. This way, you can wake up to your favourite music and even go to sleep with another favourite one.
In terms of mobile application, both are equally good, but if you’re particular about alarms, go for Sonos.
5. Additional Features
Both the products strive to go beyond the normal speakers and to give you a ton of useful functions that can make your day easier and better.
One of the aspects that need to be discussed here is audio calibration. Generally speaking, audio calibration is a process that ensures that all the speakers’ levels are balanced, This balance is essential for the right sound and to ensure that none of the speakers is too loud or too soft, as this could distort the listening experience.
In both Sonos Playbar and Bose SoundTouch 300, you can use audio calibration to improve the sound presence. However, there is a difference in the way both the speaker calibrate for sound optimization. Though they need manual calibration, the way they process sound varies greatly. Bose’s ADAPTIQ audio calibration uses your room’s acoustics to customize the sound. You can do this calibration through your headphones.
Sonos, on the other hand, can be calibrated only with an iOS device, as the company’s Trueplay technology uses the microphone in iPhone or iPad to measure how much sound reflects off the walls, furnishing and other objects present in the room. Based on this, Sonos calibrates the soundbar. All this takes around three minutes, at the time of starting.
One thing to note here is that you don’t need calibration at all, as both the speakers sound great even if they are not calibrated. But, just to know that such an option exists in case you want to try it.
Surprisingly, both the products cost the same! So, there is really no difference in terms of cost.
But keep scouring for online sites like Amazon, as there are times when you’ll get deals on these speakers.
Though they are priced a few hundred dollars less than other brands, they are still good and versatile. They also come with a ton of features when compared to more expensive brands. Above everything, the audio quality is top-notch, and this is probably why these two products are often touted against each other.
In all, both the products offer good value for money due to their aesthetic appeal, sound quality and ease of use. So, feel free to pick the one you like, going by just the cost!
- Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
Sonos Playbar vs Bose SoundTouch 300 – Pros and Cons
Let’s now quickly glance through the pros and cons of each product to get a better idea of how they can work for you. Understanding these advantages and shortcomings can help to make the right decisions, especially if you’re pressed for time.
Sonos Playbar Pros:
The advantages you get with Sonos Playbar are:
- Comes with an automatic alarm that will play your favourite sounds.
- Easy to install and use.
- Ideal for multi-room audio.
- Good quality audio with perfect treble and mid-range notes.
- Audio from all different genres was clear and sounded well-balanced.
- The mobile application has an easy to use interface and makes it easy to control the soundbar.
- This product comes with a remote for handling the speakers. This is sure to make it easy to handle the speaker from practically from your living room.
- The design is attractive. The product is also light enough to move it anywhere you like.
Sonos Playbar Cons:
The shortcomings of Sonos Playbar are:
- Does not have advanced Bluetooth connectivity, so it can be difficult to play songs from your mobile phones.
- Calibration only with an iOS device. This could be a drawback for those who do not use iOS devices. The company plans out to roll one for Android soon.
- No EQ settings and this could be a big turn off for audiophiles.
- Bass could have been better. Currently, you need a sub-woofer to enjoy the bass and this could prove to be expensive.
Bose SoundTouch 300 Pros:
The pros of Bose SoundTouch 300 include:
- Automatic firmware updates.
- Compatibility with Alexa.
- Better surround audio than many other products in the same category.
- The sound is well-balanced and the vocals are clear and crisp.
- The mobile application is well-developed and comes with settings to control the speaker.
- The design is sleek and all-black, which means, it will go well with any home decor. The glass on the top is particularly attractive.
- Comes with a universal remote. This is both good and bad. Good because you can use one remote to control your TV as well and bad because it is not as customized as it should be for a speaker.
Bose SoundTouch 300 Cons:
The drawbacks of Bose SoundTouch 300 are the following:
- No direct controls on the device, so all controlling should happen only through the app or through the remote.
- No dedicated remote, only a universal remote ships with it.
- No EQ settings.
- Setting up could take a little bit of time.
- Audio calibration can be a little difficult to set up, and headphones are the best way to do this calibration. It would help if the same can be done through the app.
This is the list of important pros and cons. If you notice, both the products are equally good at the advantages, and the shortcomings differ between them. So, the choice of a product depends on what features you would like your speakers to have. There is no winner or loser based on these pros and cons.
Sonos Playbar or Bose SoundTouch 300: Final Verdict
Both the products have amazing sound quality and aesthetics. They look sleek and nice and can be a great addition to any home. Bose SoundTouch 300 is all-black whereas Sonos comes with a metallic strip at the front.
The sound is well-balanced, though the bass requires the addition of a subwoofer. The treble, vocals and mid-range tones are crisp and clear, and there is no distortion even at high volumes. Extensive sound testing showed that there was not much of a difference, except that the surround sound was slightly better in Bose SoundTouch 300 than in Sonos Playbar.
However, there are no EQ settings in both the speakers and this aspect could be improved in the subsequent versions.
The mobile app of both the products are top-notch and come with convenient features that make it easy to control them. In terms of cost too, both the products are priced exactly the same.
So, which of the two is better? For the most part, both the products are the same, but we think Bose will slightly edge out Sonos in terms of audio quality. The surround sounds are better and overall, the sound seems to feel better in Bose than Sonos.
Though Bose does come with its own set of shortcomings, this verdict is based purely on audio quality, as this is the main reason why anyone would buy soundbars. That said, Sonos is good too and comes with a ton of features that make it easy to install and manage.
Bose SoundTouch 300 Soundbase and Sonos Soundbar are two top-notch, out-of-the-box devices that are the highest rated products on the market. If you’re looking for a quality soundbar, you have to choose between these two.
Going purely by audio quality, Bose is the better of the two. When other factors are taken into consideration, it is hard to decide the winner as both the products have scored equally well on most of the other fronts too. If already own a Sonos speaker, go for the Sonos Soundbar.