Bose Home Speaker 500 review: A New Level of Audio Brilliance in Smart Homes

The Bose Home Speaker 500 gives off an unparalleled sound quality that fills the room despite its size. The setup was a bit tricky initially, but the result was worth the effort. The speaker’s beautiful design and build quality truly complement any room decor.

Bose – a titan in the audio industry that’s been conjuring sonic marvels for years. Remember the SoundLink Revolve+? Now, they’ve unfurled their latest wonder – the Bose Home Speaker 500. The tag? $379.00. Is it just an exorbitant toy, or does it justify the cost? Time to sift through the specs and sounds.

Price and Availability

The Bose Home Speaker 500 immediately stands out from the crowd with its hefty price tag of $399.95 Its cost considerably outweighs that of its primary competitors, the Google Home and the Sonos One, even when combined. With such a significant financial commitment, what could the Home Speaker 500 possibly offer that would justify the price?

The Home Speaker 500 is a testament to Bose’s state-of-the-art audio technology and advanced features, attempting to bridge the gap between a smart speaker and an audiophile’s dream gadget. The marriage of high-end audio quality with Amazon Alexa’s voice assistant prowess is the brand’s strong suit, offering the possibility of a superior smart speaker experience. Ultimately, the perception of its value depends on the weight the buyer assigns to premium audio quality combined with intelligent features.

Design and Connectivity

The design of the Home Speaker 500 is both striking and refined. Its seamless elliptical shape and anodized aluminum casing command attention, reflecting room lighting for a dazzling visual effect. The speaker comes in both a glossy black version and a silver model, allowing for customization based on individual aesthetic preferences.

On the speaker’s facade is a small full-color screen, a distinctive feature that displays album artwork while music is played. While other smart displays like Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show offer broader display features, the Home Speaker 500’s minimalistic approach caters to those who prefer simplicity over information overload.

A light bar adds another layer of user interaction, changing color based on the type of audio input being used, providing both practical and aesthetic benefits. The speaker also includes buttons for basic functionality and preset programming, granting quick access to your favorite playlists, radio stations, or albums.

Bose Home Speaker 5002

Connectivity-wise, the speaker offers a plethora of options such as AUX cable connection, Bluetooth, or home WiFi setup. However, setting up the device on WiFi might be a potential challenge, as it did not function consistently across different smartphone models during our testing.

Smart Features

One of the key attractions of the Home Speaker 500 is the integration of Bose’s proprietary microphone technology. This technology allows the speaker to pick up commands even in a noisy environment. Its eight-microphone array ensures both near and far field listening, resulting in a seamless interaction.

As for the voice assistant, the speaker currently only supports Alexa but plans to extend support to Google Assistant, promising an added degree of versatility in the near future. The smart design ensures that only the closest speaker responds to voice commands, which is a relief for households with multiple Alexa-enabled devices.

In terms of smart features, the Bose Music app plays a significant role. Although its compatibility seems to vary across different smartphone models, when functional, it offers connections to multiple streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, TuneIn, and SiriusXM.

Audio Quality

The audio performance of the Home Speaker 500 is impressive. Its two custom drivers pointing left and right attempt to deliver stereo separation, although the claim of true stereo separation without a second speaker is somewhat debatable.

Despite this, the speaker’s soundstage still feels surprisingly wide, creating an immersive, room-filling sound. The sonic quality during our tests on tracks from The Strokes and Hot Chip was outstanding. The speaker revealed well-rounded, smooth synths, powerful bass lines, and defined beats. Though the speaker leans towards a warmer, analogue-style sound, it was generally well balanced.

It’s worth mentioning that while the Home Speaker 500 and Apple’s HomePod share similarities in sound output, Bose’s offering is subtler, especially when it comes to bass frequencies, likely making it a more appealing choice for discerning audiophiles.

Verdict

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is undoubtedly an intriguing piece of technology. Its sophisticated design, advanced features, and superior sound quality make it a worthy contender in the crowded smart speaker market.

That said, there are areas that require improvement. The current limitation to Alexa and the inconsistent setup process may dissuade some potential buyers. Moreover, the steep price could pose a considerable obstacle for those seeking value for money.

However, if the price point is not an issue and you prioritize audio quality and design aesthetics, the Home Speaker 500 emerges as a serious contender. It is certainly on par with, if not superior to, most smart speakers on the market, offering a more subtle sound than Apple’s HomePod, and a design that seamlessly integrates with any home decor. In conclusion, the Bose Home Speaker 500, while not without its flaws, provides an enhanced audio experience that may be worth the investment for those willing to overlook a few inconveniences. The promise of Google Assistant support and the potential improvements from Bose could cement its position as a top player in the smart speaker arena. The symphony plays on, and it sounds promising.

Bose Home Speaker 5003

Bose Home Speaker 500: Who it’s for?

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is perfect for audiophiles seeking top-tier sound quality and design aesthetics in a smart speaker. It’s also an excellent choice for those willing to pay a premium for a sophisticated, high-quality home audio system. It may not be the best choice for budget-conscious buyers or those seeking a simple, plug-and-play setup.

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FAQ

What connectivity options does the Bose Home Speaker 500 offer?

You can connect your device to the speaker via an AUX cable, Bluetooth, or set the speaker up on your home’s WiFi network.

Does the Bose Home Speaker 500 deliver true stereo separation?

Bose claims that it does, but our testing suggests it doesn’t quite measure up to a two-speaker stereo setup.

Can I use it as a portable speaker?

No, the speaker needs to be plugged in, so it’s not portable.

Can I control the speaker from a distance?

Yes, the speaker’s eight microphone array is designed for near and far field listening, allowing comfortable interaction even from the other side of the room.

8 Total Score
Final Verdict

If you appreciate superior sound quality, elegant design, and don't mind the price point or the potential hitches in the setup process, the Bose Home Speaker 500 is a worthwhile investment. However, if you're seeking a more budget-friendly smart speaker or one with a simpler setup process, you might want to explore other options.

PROS
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Beautiful design aesthetics
  • Seamless voice control via Alexa
  • Compatibility with multiple music streaming platforms
  • Strong and far-reaching microphone capability
CONS
  • Pricey compared to competitors
  • Limited to Alexa currently (with Google Assistant coming soon)
  • Some users might experience difficulties during the setup process
  • Simpler display compared to competitors
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