Bose Unveils Alexa-Enabled Smart Speaker and Soundbars

Senior Editor, Tom's Guide
Updated

Following other premium audio companies, Bose is entering the smart speaker market with the Bose Home Speaker 500, as well as two soundbars, all of which have Alexa built in.

The Home Speaker 500 will cost $400, while the Soundbar 500 will cost $550 and the Soundbar 700 will cost $800; all will be available this fall.

The ovular Home Speaker measures 8 x 6 x 4 inches, and is wrapped in aluminum. Inside are two speakers facing the opposite direction to help enable 360-degree sound. On the front of the device is a small display that shows album art of the music being played. That's it, unfortunately.

On the top of the unit are six touch-sensitive buttons for presets, such as stations or playlists. Other buttons on the top will let users play and pause tracks, as well as mute the microphones, so Alexa can't hear you.

MORE: Sonos One Review: The Best-Sounding Alexa Speaker

Using Bose's accompanying app, you can stream music from Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM. An update in early 2019 will add Airplay 2 support. 

At $400, the Home Speaker 500 will be one of the most expensive of its kind, rivaling the $350 Apple HomePod and the $400 Google Home Max. Bose being Bose, there are plenty of loyal customers who will probably pay up. We're interested to see how it compares to our current favorite-sounding smart home speaker, the Sonos One, which costs half as much.

The two soundbars Bose announced—the Soundbar 500 and Soundbar 700—also have Alexa built in. The Soundbar 500 measures 31.5 x 4 x 1.75 inches, has three drives in the front and one on each end, and uses what Bose calls ADAPTiQ technology to tailor the audio characteristics of the soundbar to match the room it's in.

The larger and pricier Soundbar 700 (38.5 x 2.25 x 4.25 inches) has four forward-facing drivers, and uses Phaseguide technology to "direct beams of multi-directional sound.

While it's in myriad other devices, we're just starting to see Alexa make its way into soundbars. The Sonos Beam ($400) was one of the first, and is $150 less than the Bose Soundbar 500. We're curious to compare the two in real life. Stay tuned.