The Solo 15 is a decent audio upgrade but there are better soundbases out there
Speakers: 4, RMS power output: Not disclosed, Dimensions: 548x86x70mm, Weight: 6.35kg, Dock connector: None, Networking: None
The Bose Solo 15 is now available in two different models, the standard Solo 15 that I’ve reviewed here and a Series II model. The main differences between the two, aside from the price, are the inclusion of Bluetooth and an improved universal remote control on the Series II.
The Solo 15 is available for around £250 while the Solo 15 Series II is priced around £360. Bluetooth is undoubtedly convenient, especially if you want to play music through the Solo 15, but that’s a significant price difference for quite basic upgrades.
Unlike the Bose Solo 5, the Solo 15 is a soundbase, rather than a soundbar, meaning your television can sit on top. The Solo 15 will happily accommodate a television up to 46in in size and certain models up to 50in depending on the television’s stand. The Solo 15 measures 629x356x76.2mm so you’ll need to measure the footprint of your television to make sure it will comfortably fit on top. Weight shouldn’t be an issue as the Solo 15 is rated at supporting up to 34kg. You’ll be hard pressed to find a television weighing as much as that, even older plasma sets.
Our reference 42in just about fit on top but the edge of its feet were level with the edge of the Solo 15. Once you enter the territory of soundbases, size becomes less of an issue and we wouldn’t have had any issues if the Solo 15 were slightly larger. At the size it is, it looks visually unbalanced with a larger television set on top. You can of course still use the Solo 15 if your television is wall-mounted, you’ll just need to place it on a cabinet or shelf below, wherein the smaller footprint might become useful.
Otherwise, the design is the typical minimalist Bose affair with plain black used throughout. It’s bordering on plain and unexciting, especially when compared to the visually stunning Philips Fidelio XS1 that looks far more premium.
Status lights are used to show what mode the Solo 15 is set to and there are no physical controls on the soundbase itself. Instead, Bose has included a universal remote control that can be programmed to control other devices in your AV cabinet as well as your television. This will help cut down on clutter and having to use multiple remote controls.
On the back you’ll find optical and coaxial digital inputs as well as analogue RCA phono jacks. There’s a USB port but this is for servicing only. There’s no HDMI, so you’ll need a TV that has digital audio outputs for the best-quality sound. Both optical and coaxial cables are included in the box, so setup is pleasingly easy: just connect the relevant output from your television to the Solo 15 and connect power.
The Solo 15 supports auto wake-up when it detects an audio source, too, meaning you don’t have to separately power it on along with your television. Annoyingly, it will only turn off after 60 minutes without an audio signal, which seems like a lot of wasted time especially as the Solo 15 powers on almost instantly.
Inside the Solo 15 are four drivers and a subwoofer. Two drivers are placed on the outer edges to help disperse the sound into a wider soundstage and the others are configured as a centre channel to help improve dialogue clarity. While watching films it meant that dialogue was easily intelligible, but there was also good degree of stereo separation.
There’s plenty of presence in the lower frequencies, meaning the low rumble of Interstellar’s spacecraft had impact, but I found that bass remained tight and controlled. You can also turn on the dedicated Dialogue mode, which dials down the bass in preference for clearer vocals. Aside from this, there aren’t any other preset EQ modes. Listening to a music source connected over the RCA inputs, the Solo 15 performed well with our test tracks. Crisp mids and trebles were delivered delicately over the bass and the sound filled the room without too much directionality.
In the end, the Solo 15 sounds good but its feature set and design is lacking when competing against superior soundbases.
|RMS power output||Not disclosed|
|Subwoofer option||Not disclosed Wattage (included)|
|Rear speaker option||None|
|Audio inputs||3.5mm stereo, coaxial digital, optical digital|
|Video playback formats||N/A|
|Image viewing formats||N/A|
|Audio playback formats||N/A|
|Smart TV apps||N/A|
|Price including VAT||£250|
|Warranty||One year RTB|
|Part code||Solo 15|