Bose Solo 5
Compact yet Powerful
- Bluetooth connectivity on the fly
- Small and compact form factor
- Dialogue mode helps make speeches more audible and clear
- Lacks powerful bass
- No EQ tuning capabilities
Inputs: Optical Audio Input, Coaxial Audio Input and 3.5mm AUX Input | Power Consumption: 30 Watts | Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes | Speaker Channel Type: Stereo | Number of Speaker Channels: 2
VERDICT:One of the most compact soundbars in the market, the Solo 5 has quite some features packed in it. Although it misses out on powerful bass and EQ tuning options, other features make up for it. With Bluetooth connectivity without needing to disconnect cables, high volume and a very durable build, the Solo 5 comes out to be quite a good solution to additional speakers for your TV.
Bose has made some significant contributions in the audio department with their high-quality products. From headphones to speakers, Bose has also made soundbars worth mentioning. A soundbar is essentially an all in one speaker fitted in a small compartment. With our experience, we’ve always been blown away by not just the sound quality that Bose offers but the build as well. The Solo 5 soundbar by Bose doesn’t fall behind as well. It is a compact, small set of speakers that’s perfect for people with little real estate to spare.
A big bonus point for the Solo 5 is its compact and tight size. With that, it can easily be placed almost anywhere in the room without much worry. Moreover, it’s very easy to use and install thanks to it taking only minutes to get it up and running. The remote, which has a lot of customization and modification options, can also be paired with your television set’s remote. One more cool feature that comes in really handy with the Solo 5 is its Bluetooth connectivity. Along with being able to connect via wires, the Solo 5 can also be paired up with devices having Bluetooth. There is no need to remove the connections either as you can set it to prioritize Bluetooth connection over the wired one. All of these and more make up the Solo 5 soundbar by Bose which has a rather inexpensive price tag.
Although the Solo 5 provides a considerable volume and bass boost from the normal TV speakers, the bass is not enough. The sound quality of these speakers lack the depth and crisp that you’d normally expect from Bose speakers. Movie explosions, high bass oriented audio end up in a muffled bass with this soundbar. Along with a lack of presets, the Solo 5 also does not have EQ tuning options. With all of that being said, we still have much more to discuss the Solo 5 soundbar by Bose. So scroll down and keep reading what we think about the Solo 5. It just might help you finalize your deal.
The Bose Solo 5 soundbar houses a black body with largely minimalistic design patterns. This 55 cm tall and 7 cm tall soundbar comes out to be one of the most compact one we’ve seen so far. For starters, there are no buttons on the Solo 5. All you’ll see is a black grille at the front with some of it leaking out at the sides. This simplifies matters as there’s no need to get up from your seat to change settings through buttons. And at the back, are all the ports you could ever need from a soundbar. The Solo 5 feels extremely well built and sturdy so you need not worry a thing about the construction department. Bose has done a great job and credit where it is due. The rear also has screws for wall mounting too.
Behind the metallic black grille are two speaker drivers for the sound. These two drivers are placed symmetrically close to the middle and have been angled for a wider sound On the front side of this soundbar, there are a couple of LEDs at the bottom to indicate the status of certain features. There is no subwoofer for better bass response. Which is where the sound quality of the Bose Solo 5 lacks a little, but more on that later. There are no control buttons on the Solo 5 and that’s because that feature falls down to the remote. With this soundbar, you also get a rather large remote that is universally compatible with all devices.
Upon opening the box, you’ll find a universal remote control compatible with nearly all devices thanks to the variety of IR databases stored in its directory. It has volume control, power, bass boost along with some other additional buttons. These additional buttons include changing channels, playback controls and many more. With all these and the remote’s universal connectivity, you only need the Solo 5 remote to control all your devices. The top of the remote has 6 light blue labeled buttons which can be programmed to switch controls between separate devices. Keep in mind that unlike the Xbox One’s Kinect, the PS4 does not use IR sensors so this remote will not work with that.
The remote, although filled with many options, lacks choices for sound options. You’ll find that the Solo 5 has, what Bose calls, a dialog mode. What that essentially does is turns down the bass and ups the treble. This is useful for those with hearing problems as it emphasizes spoken words and makes dialogues more clear. With bass adjustments and this dialogue mode, there isn’t much room for exploring the sound quality of this soundbar. We would’ve liked to see some more presets for dedicated tasks. Unfortunately, that is not available with the Solo 5.
Setting up the Solo 5 soundbar is a piece of cake. Connect all the needed cables and you’re good to go. Additionally, you can also use the optical connection for sound. The digital optical connection basically uses light to transmit the data i.e, sound. This soundbar is compatible with not just TVs but consoles and computers as well. Another cool little feature is the Bluetooth connectivity options.
The Solo 5 soundbar is capable of saving 8 devices for quick connections via Bluetooth. You do not even need to remove the cables or any such thing. Simply pair this soundbar with your device via Bluetooth and you’ll be playing audio from that. And when you want to disconnect, simply do so with your connected device and the Solo 5 will prioritize the wired connection inputs.
Although the Solo 5 has quite a small and compact size, it packs in quite a big punch. Judging from the size alone, this soundbar will easily deceive you in terms of how loud it is. When the volume level is set to a full 100%, you’ll easily be able to listen to the sounds while sitting far away. And it’s not just the volume but the great audio of the dialogues as well. Even without the dedicated dialogue mode turned on, the sound is crisp and clear to hear. Most users with hearing impairment disabilities have found the dialogue mode alone to be the sole reason worth purchasing this soundbar. The magnitude of how well this dialogue mode works depends on the quality of audio being fed into this soundbar. Of course, it would’ve been an even better experience with an HDMI port.
The two speakers located inside this soundbar are located at the center. There is not much wiggle room in between the two drivers. Which is why the Solo 5 lacks the stereo separation that otherwise would’ve been very beneficial. This essentially means that the overall soundstage is narrow and not omnidirectional. The speakers are angled somewhat outwards to compensate for that. And it does but only to some extent. Due to a lack of stereo separation, the Solo 5 fails to deliver as immersive experience as some of the other soundbars on the market.
Also, it should be noted that most soundbars that are paired with television sets come with are a speaker and subwoofer combo. Bose’s Solo 5 does not fall into that category. Therefore, the Solo 5 will not be able to deliver that immersive 3D sound experience that you might be expecting. Moreover, as there is no subwoofer, the bass levels are not as strong as we would’ve liked. For an ordinary user, this feature might not that big of a deal but an audiophile will definitely find this to be a dealbreaker. The bass mode on the remote can make up for this lack of bass but it only does so slightly. An option for EQ tuning would’ve gone a long road in helping with this but the Solo 5 does not have EQ tuning capabilities.
In order to test out the bass in real time, we connected our TV with the Solo 5 soundbar and watched John Wick. What better and enjoyable way to test out high paced action sequences, right? For starters, the volume was sufficient and loud enough to be heard from far away from the soundbar. However, we noticed that the bass lacked that punch that we were hoping. The effects of an omitted subwoofer came to show during these tests as the explosions sounded muffled. The bass boost mode did help in minimizing these muffles but it was still not as clear as we had hoped. Thankfully, the dialogues were easily audible even without the dialogue mode turned on.
The Solo 5 soundbar by Bose is a simple and uncomplicated one that does its job. It lacks the big punch and powerful bass boost that you’d expect compared to previous Bose products. Its low price and inexpensive price tag make it quite a big improvement from the traditional TV speakers. Moreover, with the loud volume control, the Solo 5 really is able to make its mark.
The sound quality, however, bears nothing too extraordinary. Audiophiles might end up getting a little disappointed with the lack of EQ tuning and low bass. But for an everyday user looking to invest a bit in a better auditory experience than the normal TV speakers, the Solo 5 soundbar by Bose might just be what you need.
Price at the time of review: $200
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.