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Bose Home Speaker 500: Alexa-powered speaker is a Sonos rival

Thomas McMullan
29 Aug 2018
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Bose says its voice-controlled speaker, the Bose Home Speaker 500, has the “widest soundstage” available

At IFA 2018, speaker makers Bose unveiled a new lineup of home audio equipment: an Alexa-powered smart speaker, dubbed the Bose Home Speaker 500, and a pair of impressive new soundbars.

According to the company, the Bose Home Speaker 500 has the widest soundstage of any smart speaker currently available, and comes with integrated access to Amazon Alexa, “with other voice assistants to follow”. Here’s the rundown.

Pre-order the Home Speaker 500 via Bose

Bose Home Speaker 500 in brief

  • A Bose smart speaker with voice control
  • Integrated with Amazon Alexa – other voice assistants to follow, according to Bose
  • Apple AirPlay 2 streaming to be added early 2019

READ NEXT: The best Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled speakers to buy

Bose Home Speaker 500 release date and price: How much will it cost?

The Bose Home Speaker 500, as well as the Bose Soundbar 700 and Soundbar 500, will all be available in the UK from 20 September 2018. The Home Speaker 500 will cost £399.95, while the the Soundbar 500 and 700 will retail at £499.95 and £799.95 respectively.

Bose Home Speaker 500 features: What does it do?

At first glance, Bose’s new smart speaker looks a lot like a broader-shouldered version of the Amazon Echo. It takes the same design cues as the Sonos One, which similarly supports Amazon Alexa out of the box. Aluminium-wrapped body houses a dinky screen, which will show you album artwork, but not a great deal else. It’s not a touchscreen, but it should give a bit of colour while you’re listening to songs.

That listening experience is what Bose wants to emphasise. The company claims the Bose Home Speaker 500 has the “widest soundstage” on the market, with “two custom drivers pointed in opposite directions”. This is designed to reflect sound off surrounding walls, separate instruments and place vocals in the space of your living room.

Alexa comes integrated for controlling tracks and playlists with your voice, as well as all the other functionality of Amazon’s digital assistant. Bose hasn’t eschewed tactile controls either, with a platter of buttons on the top of the speaker to control playback. There are even “1 2 3 4 5 6” preset buttons for quickly surfacing saved playlists of radio stations.

The Bose Home Speaker 500 comes with in-built Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as the company says AirPlay 2 will be added in “early 2019” for streaming from Apple devices.  

Bose Soundbar 700 and Soundbar 500 features

Along with its smart speaker, Bose launched a pair of new soundbars. Both use Bose’s proprietary “ADAPTiQ” technology to acoustically adjust to their surroundings, and both include HDMI ARC support. We’ve yet to hear them ourselves, but Bose’s marketing material says the soundbars’ “PhaseGuides” send “multiple channels of a soundtrack or song throughout a space, placing discrete sound in places where there are no speakers.”

“Bose DSP, custom low-profile transducers, and QuietPort technology deliver exceptional detail and depth for your favourite tracks, crystal clear dialogue for Netflix, and dramatic realism for sports.”

The Soundbar 700 comes with an “intelligent universal remote”, whereas the Soundbar 500 is a thinner device, with a matt finish that’s “virtually invisible” and designed to fit neatly under a TV screen.

Bose Home Speaker 500: Early verdict 

Taken altogether, the speakers and soundbars are a clear challenge to the approach Sonos has taken with the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, as well as the likes of Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod. Like Sonos, Bose is promising the ability to access a number of smart assistants on the same device, although we’ll see how this pans out when it actually happens.  

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