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Bose SoundTouch 10 review

Richard Easton
11 Dec 2015
Bose SoundTouch 10 front
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

The SoundTouch 10 crams useful Wi-Fi multiroom and Bluetooth functionality into a compact speaker but sound quality is disappointing

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Specifications

Speakers: 1, RMS power output: Not disclosed, Dock connector: None, Networking: Bluetooth (SBC), 802.11n, Dimensions: 141x87x212mm, Weight: 1.87kg, Streaming formats: UPnP, SMB

One look at the overwhelming number of Sonos, Raumfeld, Philips and Samsung speakers will tell you Multiroom is big business, but it's not until recently that the ability to re-broadcast a Bluetooth-connected device to every speaker in your house has become commonplace. Granted, Samsung's SHAPE series has long had Bluetooth, but that only worked with a single speaker in isolation. Now, Bose has joined the Bluetooth fun with the SoundTouch 10.Most multiroom speakers connect to your home network and pull music directly from streaming services, such as Spotify or Google Play Music. Music streaming is as hotly contested as multiroom, and is why Sonos, with its wide compatibility list, leads the pack. Bose supports Spotify, Deezer and internet radio, which pales in comparison. However, with Bluetooth, you can essentially have any audio source, whether that's a streaming service, podcast app or even YouTube, playing from every speaker in your house. The only caveat being that your connected device will need to remain within Bluetooth range of one of the speakers. The SoundTouch 10 is the smallest speaker in the range, only being a fraction larger than a Sonos Play:1 or Raumfeld One S. It's available in either black or white, with a matching remote. The controls are easily located on the top of the unit, making the SoundTouch 10 a decent bedside speaker. There are six preset shortcuts, volume controls and a source select for toggling between Bluetooth and auxiliary. It would have been good if the rubberised buttons were backlit, however. Annoyingly, there are no play/pause or track skipping buttons on the speaker, although these are on the remote control. The remote also has thumbs up and down buttons, although I could never work out what these actually did. They're also not replicated anywhere within the app. Between the remote, speaker buttons and the apps, playing music is pleasingly simple. The 3.5mm auxiliary connection for wired devices on the back is something usually lacking from other multiroom speakers.

Setup and App

With no wired connection, you need to use the SoundTouch mobile app (available for iOS and Android) or desktop application (for Windows and OS X) to set up each speaker. The app adds your Wi-Fi settings so the speaker has internet access, letting you connect to any networked PCs or NAS devices. It's cleanly designed, with sliding panes and presets that match the physical buttons on the speaker. Sliding up from the bottom brings controls for grouping your speakers, or sending music to every speaker on the network. The Explore menu slides in from the right, letting you chance audio source and access settings.Spotify can either be used natively within the SoundTouch app, similar to how it works with a Sonos speaker, or through the Spotify app using the Spotify Connect protocol. I actually prefer this, as it means you can control playback without being connected to your home network (as long as you've connected to it at least once) and 'hand off' playback to the speaker. This way, you can listen to Spotify through your smartphone while out of the home, then pick up where you left off through the speaker once you get home.Adding presets is pleasingly simple as well; pressing and holding one of the buttons saves a track, playlist or internet radio station. The preset buttons are particularly useful for anyone who has a specific routine, such as waking up or getting home, where you want specific music to play.1449770353365

Sound Quality

Disappointingly, the SoundTouch 10 is only a mono speaker with a single transducer inside and, unlike its rivals, there's currently no way to pair two in stereo. Bose says this should be coming in a future software update. Music unsurprisingly sounds very narrow as a result. All the wonderful stereo separation in Pink Floyd's 'Money' is lost, making the track feel lifeless.The sound is also warmer than I would like, becoming muddy as the bass encroaches and overpowers the mids and treble. The speaker lacks delicateness in its delivery, with vocals also often becoming lost in the swirl of sound. For a speaker of such small stature, it does at least manage to deliver loud volumes but distortion creeps in as the volume increases.

Conclusion

The SoundTouch app is one of the best I've used, so getting music playing is delightfully simple, and being able to use Bluetooth helps get around compatibility limitations. However, the speaker is let down by lacklustre sound quality and mono output. It's adequate enough for a small speaker, especially if you're only looking to add one to a bedroom or kitchen, but you'll be left wanting if you're looking for a primary speaker used for most of your listening.In the end, if you're looking specifically for a small multiroom speaker, the Sonos Play:1 is still the one to beat, with superior sound quality and stronger integrated service compatibility, or alternatively the Raumfeld One S, but both come at the sacrifice of Bluetooth compatibility.

Hardware
Speakers1
RMS power outputNot disclosed
Audio inputs3.5mm stereo
Audio outputsNone
Dock connectorNone
USB portNone
Memory card supportNone
NetworkingBluetooth (SBC), 802.11n
NFCNo
App supportiOS, Android, Windows, OS X
Battery capacityNone
Dimensions141x87x212mm
Weight1.87kg
Streaming
Streaming formatsUPnP, SMB
Supported serversUPnP, SMB
Audio formatsMP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless
Internet streaming servicesSpotify, Deezer, Internet Radio