Bose Solo 5 Review

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The Bottom Line

The Bose Solo 5 Soundbar does a respectable job at improving vocal clarity and the overall mid to high range quality compared to the average TV sound. The on-screen conversation is more intelligible as voices have more character to them. However, if you’re looking for an immersive experience, the Solo 5 does tend to fall short in more categories other than the bass side of the spectrum.

bose solo 5 speaker review

At a Glance

  • Drivers: 2
  • Wall Mounting: yes
  • Weight: 3.73 lbs
  • USB: no
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • Size: 2.6 x 21.6 x 3.4 in

The Bose Solo 5 greets the eye with its slim, low-profile design and soft, rounded edges, providing a decent-looking addition to your setup. Coming in under 22 inches in length and 3 inches tall, respectively, this modest soundbar may be what you’re looking for relative to its competitors, who boast larger diameters. Paired with a remote for easy usage, it looks like this compact speaker fits right at home. 

Design and Features 

The Bose Solo 5 keeps things sweet and simple with its minimalistic approach to knobs and switches, making it an easy soundbar to set up and get going. It instead selects specific LED lights that operate according to what mode you’re in or what setting you’re adjusting via the remote. It also offers the option to be installed in a wall-mounted fashion, so within its simplicity is also versatility. 

The Solo 5 contains a black mesh covering the front side, behind which a pair of drivers sit slightly angled away from each other to help widen the stereo experience. Concerning the rest of the design, a tame black plastic finish is what you’ll find covering the sides and back. 

This soundbar was designed to be straightforward. Plug and play. This is most notable with its few options regarding user adjustments, like sound modes or EQ settings. However, a feature like its auto-wake function is not overlooked. It automatically turns the speaker on whenever an audio signal runs through it, highlighting the painless potential integrated into the model. 

Bose Solo 5

Audio Connections 

You’ll find the regular options, such as an auxiliary input and Bluetooth connectivity, and two digital inputs, namely coaxial and optical.

What does the Bose Solo 5 sound like? 

I think it is fair to say that size matters regarding sound quality in speakers. Here, we start to see some stumbling blocks in the Bose Solo 5. When it comes to hearing any bass, there is a noticeable lack thereof. So, if cinematic-style explosions are what you’re after, I think it would be better to delve deeper into larger soundbar options. 

On the plus side, the Bose Solo 5 Soundbar does a respectable job at improving vocal clarity and the overall mid to high-range quality compared to the average TV’s sound. The on-screen conversation is more intelligible as voices have more character to them. 

However, if you’re looking for an immersive experience, the Solo 5 does tend to fall short in more categories other than the bass side of the spectrum. Tense movie scenes are often lost since this speaker has a shallow dynamic range. You won’t be drawn into the quiet or foreboding moments of drama. 

With two speakers inside the Bose Solo 5, it would be ambitious to expect this product to deliver even a minor surround-sound experience. The drivers’ angle and placement are fairly close to each other, which explains why Bose then decided to angle them outwards left and right, respectively. This is done to widen the sound, but the results seem underwhelming and hollow, leaving much to be desired. 

Overall, users will only notice an improvement in their experience if they have heard their TV’s inherent speakers before the Bose Solo 5 soundbar. If you are running a small setup or are in a small room, this speaker could suit your needs, but if you’re looking for that next level of captivation, expectations will be hard to meet. 

Bose Solo 5 vs Sonos Beam 

A close competitor to the Solo 5 is the Sonos Beam. A slightly larger speaker, the Sonos beam picks up in many areas where the Solo 5 lacks. For one, the Beam comes in a 3.0 speaker setup, meaning that it has two dedicated left and right speakers and one situated in the middle for a tidy center sound image. 

It also has multi-speaker functionality, meaning that you can link your Beam to other compatible Sonos products and enjoy the same experience in multiple rooms within your house. 

There would be features you, as a customer, would utilize on both sides and some that you would never need to dabble with. So, let’s compare the specifications of each to understand a bit more about them. 

Comparison Chart 

Bose Solo 5vsSonos Beam
21.7 x 2.6 x 3.2”Dimensions25.6 x 2.6 x 4.0”
2Number of Drivers3
Underwhelming bassBass ExperienceDecent bass, although not
Clear vocalsVocal ExperienceGood vocal clarity
Improved stereo field
over small TVs
Stereo ExperienceEngaging stereo field
☑️ Bluetooth
☑️Optical Connection☑️
☑️Analog Auxiliary (3.5mm)
Multi-Speaker Setup☑️
Universal remoteExtrasApple airplay
Dolby Digital supported
Just under $200CostJust under $400

What’s in the box? 

Some useful additions are included with your purchase of the Bose Solo 5 Soundbar. Inside the box, you will find:

  • Bose Solo 5 Soundbar
  • Power cable
  • AA batteries
  • A fiber optic cable
  • Instruction manual
  • Remote control 

What’s worth noting is that the remote control is universal, meaning you can use it to control your TV, HiFi, or any other gear. 

The verdict 

The Bose Solo 5 soundbar and the Sonos Beam have pros, cons, and individual details, making them stand out. The real importance is revealed regarding the application you use them for.

The Bose Solo 5 has a slight edge if you are the type of person who loves to entertain guests. This is because the Solo 5 features Bluetooth and auxiliary connectivity options, which provide an easy pass-and-play appeal for enjoying music or videos. 

However, if you’re looking for a louder soundbar that would be a satisfactory sonic upgrade (and would be open to adding some additional speakers later down the road), then the Sonos Beam would be the choice for you. Comparatively having the greater listening experience, the Beam leans more towards that home entertainment romantic who appreciates a gripping movie or piece of music. 

So, these soundbars are for two different consumers, emphasizing how much you’re willing to spend (the Sonos Beam is almost twice as much as the Bose Solo 5). That being said, it’s still a close battle as to which one takes ‘best overall’ as the differences tailor themselves to suit different environments. 

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Author: Oliver Campbell

Oliver is an audiophile at heart who has been writing for Outeraudio and other related publications for almost a decade. He loves gadgets, street-cafes, doing a bit of DJing by invitation, and playing the saxophone whenever he has the opportunity.

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