A soundbar can enhance your entertainment experience by enhancing the audio of TV shows, movies, and music. Not all soundbars are created equally.
Some feature superior sound quality over others, but it’s hard to know which perform the best unless you have experience with them. We’ve chosen the top two soundbars on the market today to compare the quality.
Our competitors are Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5 but which one is really better?
Sonos Beam Overview
The Sonos Beam is ideal for users who enjoy a range of onboard smart features. This soundbar is equipped with Wi-Fi and voice control. It is expandable for the addition of a speaker or subwoofer for further enhancement of sound quality via Wi-Fi. This versatile bar can work independently or as a part of a larger full-featured sound system.
The Beam enhances the sound quality over that of a regular television with four full-range woofers with the addition of a tweeter, and it has the capacity for achieving a surround sound experience. Three passive bass radiators complete the spectrum for fullness in audio quality.
The bass is ranked as good, but the addition of an extra subwoofer is necessary to rattle the floor according to Toms Guide. The good thing about the Beam is that it’s compatible with other speakers through Wi-Fi so you can. Even without the extra subwoofer, the bass quality is deep and rich.
The Beam is controlled through a downloadable app that can be downloaded on an iPad or your smartphone. You can also use your television remote to control the beam. It does offer the features of a voice assistant to use the soundbar to communicate with other smart devices in the home.
Alexa and Google Assistant
The Sonos Beam includes the Alexa voice assistant. Microphones that are built into the soundbar allow you to talk to other devices in your home. If Alexa picks up too much outside feedback from the television you can push a button to turn it off. The Beam is also made to support Google Assistant.
This feature was added as a free update in May of 2019 and it includes all of the basic voice controls for queuing music and shows, controlling devices in the smart home, or checking the weather, and more. You can only use Google Assistant or Alexa one at a time. You can’t communicate with both at the same time. It’s easy to manually switch between the two virtual assistants though, according to Tom’s Guide.
Bluetooth and Streaming
According to Soundbarstation, the Sonos Beam allows you to stream music through subscriptions that you already have. You can also use the airplay function with any of your Apple products that you use for playing stored music through other devices. The Sonos Beam does not feature Bluetooth connectivity. Instead, it accepts HDMI audio for access to Spotify, YouTube, and a variety of other services.
The performance of the Sonos Beam is highly rated with good sound quality and rich bass tones. This single unit allows you to control other devices with smart features through the downloadable app. It’s compatible with HDMI audio for a broad range of entertainment options. In addition to providing enhanced audio quality, this bar offers a broad range of other useful entertainment and smart features.
- Compact measuring 2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 in.
- Four full-range woofers for mid-range frequencies and rich, deep bass sounds.
- One tweeter for clear and sharp dialogue.
- Three passive radiators for richness in bass quality.
- The bass and treble controls provide customization of sound by an individual room or group of rooms.
- Five Class-D digital amplifiers for enhanced acoustic architecture
- Dimensions – 2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 in.
- Weight = 6.2 lbs
- HDMI ARC cable connection to TV
- Optical Audio Adapter for TV connection
- Top-panel features: Capacitive touch controls for microphone mute, play/pause, previous/next track, volume up/down.
- LED indicator light
- Threaded mount 1/2 in. / 10-32 socket.
- Five far-field microphone arrays for advanced beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation.
- Control of other home smart devices through voice-command features and built-in microphones
- Built-in Alexa support with integrated microphones
- Compatible with Google Assistant
- Attractive aesthetics with a glossy sophisticated appearance, smooth edges in a compact size
- User-friendly controls through the downloadable Sonos Ecosystem app
- Enhanced premium audio quality with full-range woofers and tweeter with rich deep bass tones
- Compatible with 5.1 surround sound systems and additional speakers
- Night sound feature for controlling volume
- Compatible with Sonos Wall Mount System for easy wall mounting
- Not Bluetooth compatible
- More expensive than comparable soundbars
Bose Solo 5 Overview
The Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System is a basic unit that is made to provide enhanced audio in one small and compact unit. This straightforward soundbar delivers enhanced audio to your TV in a one-piece unit that delivers on performance and user convenience. Bose reveals the limited frills features of the affordable Solo 5 soundbar.
- One-piece sound system
- Built-in Bluetooth technology for wireless streaming from your tablet or phone
- Only one TV connection required
- Universal remote controls for Bluetooth connections, Bass, TV, and more
- Dialogue mode for clear detailed sound
- Compact size
The Product Analyst gives the Solo 5 a thumbs up for enhanced audio quality over standard TV speakers. The dynamic range boosts the sound through a customized control panel with a frequency range from 61 Hz to 19 kHz. The dialogue mode is the most outstanding feature’s for hearing the words spoken in TV shows and movies with greater clarity. Two drivers control the two cone speakers in the center of the bar with a slight angular placement to achieve a wider field of sound projection.
The bass is not as deep or rich as some other soundbars. There isn’t a dedicated subwoofer to achieve a thundering bass sound. It’s adequate, but Bose could have done a little better with the addition of a dedicated subwoofer. You can adjust the levels of bass however to achieve a good balance in the overall sound quality.
The Bose Solo 5 soundbar comes with a universal control that allows you to control your TV, the soundbar, and a player with just one device. You can also adjust other devices that are connected to the TV with the universal remote. It is a handheld device that streamlines control of multiple devices in one handy unit.
Alexa and Google Assistant
The Bose Solo 5 does not offer these functions.
Bluetooth and Streaming
The Bose Solo 5 comes with built-in Bluetooth capability. This allows you to stream your favorite music from your smartphone or other compatible devices. You connect to Wi-Fi via Bluetooth.
The Bose Solo 5 is a basic soundbar that provides improved sound quality over traditional TV speakers. You can raise the volume and customize the bass treble and other ranges via the universal remote. The bar offers basic sound functions with Bluetooth streaming capability and the convenience of a handheld remote that controls other devices connected to your TV.
Although the bass tones are nothing remarkable, the sound quality is decent. The system sets up fast and easy. The dialogue mode, however, is the most remarkable feature of this soundbar.
- Lightweight at 3.73 pounds
- Universal remote compatible with the soundbar and other devices
- The remote is intuitive, clearly labeled, and user-friendly
- Dolby Digital
- Wireless Playback through Bluetooth
- Bluetooth compatible
- The Bose Solo 5 is very affordably priced at just $199
- Easy set up with one TV connection required
- Small compact size
- Lightweight at just 3.73 pounds
- No dedicated subwoofer for deep and rich bass tones
- You can’t add an eternal subwoofer to this soundbar
- There is a lack of stereo separation in the sound quality
- No controls for smart devices
- Limited input and outputs with no HDMI compatibility. There is an optical audio input and a coaxial input.
- No USB connection
- You cannot turn on the Bose Solo 5 soundbar without the universal remote. There is no backup panel for controls.
- Although the unit can decode Dolby Digital sound through the optical port, the sound is not as rich and comes crossed in a downplayed format.
Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5 Comparison
Which is the best value for the money?
The Sonos Beam retails for around $400 currently. It does provide users with a range of features and options that the Bose Solo 5 does not offer. The Solo 5 is priced at roughly half the cost of the Sonos Beam. If you’re looking for a soundbar that will improve the sound of your TV at a budget price, the Solo 5 is definitely the winner in that category.
What does Solo 5 have going for it aside from the price?
The Solo 5 has a universal remote on the plus side, but the downside of that is that you can’t turn the device on if you lose the remote. The Sonos Beam is controlled through an app that you can download on your smartphone or iPad devices. You’re less likely to lose control of the Beam than you are the Solo 5.
This doesn’t build much of a case for the Solo 5, but here are its redeeming qualities. This unit is made for casual users who want to improve their TV audio quality, but they don’t need to go over the top with smart features. It’s a basic unit that is fast and easy to set up, it’s affordable and it gives you better sound quality.
The best feature of the Solo 5 is the dialogue mode that makes conversations and music come through with a crisp, clear, and easy to understand sound. It’s lighter, more compact, and easy to operate if you don’t lose the remote. You can place it almost anywhere in the home because it doesn’t take up much space.
The benefits of the Sonos Beam
The Sonos Beam outperforms the Bose Solo 5 in almost every aspect. The only thing that the Solo has on the Beam is the universal remote and Bluetooth connectivity. Aside from those two specifications, the Beam provides a deeper and richer bass sound, with broader customization of sound range.
Bluetooth connectivity isn’t necessary because you can hook up to your TV’s HDMI and stream from any subscription service to achieve similar entertainment goals. You can also play downloaded music that has been saved on other devices. You’re going to pay twice as much for the Sonos Beam, but it’s clearly taken the lead in performance and useful features.
If you’re on a budget and can only spend a few hundred dollars to get sound improvement, the Bose is your best option, but if you want to go with a full range of exciting features and the best audio sound, it’s probably worth it to double the price and go with the Sonos Beam. Our final verdict is that the Sonos Beam is the official winner of the Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5 standoff.
We have come to the conclusion that the Sonos Beam and the Bose Solo 5 soundbars are each intended for users who have different preferences and requirements. Which is the best? This depends on what you’re looking for in a soundbar.
The Sonos Beam is best for users who prefer a few more bells and whistles including HDMI connection along with smart features for controlling other smart devices in the home. In this contest, the Sonos Beam emerges as the winner.
The Bose Solo 5 allows you to stream from your compatible devices via Bluetooth connectivity. That feature is not available in the Sonos Beam. Instead, streaming must be completed through subscriptions you already have. The Solo 5 wins if you’re invested in Bluetooth technology.