Bose: a trademark of performance and quality for quite a while now. Ruling over the audio world, Bose has managed to establish itself the pioneer of luxury and performance in one single package. Perhaps if one were to look over the past decade or two, at the least, they can see the strides this company has achieved. While pure, hardcore audiophiles do not always agree with the sound signature, Bose products are typically for almost everyone on the market.
Bose Soundbar 700
An Elegantly Premium Soundbar
- Premium Build Quality
- Amazing Sound
- Wide Sound stage
- Support for additional peripherals
- Alexa Support
- Alexa use is a bit glitchy
- No Support for Bose Soundtouch Products
Size: 38.5” x 2.25” x 4.25” | Microphone System: Custom 8-mic array | App Control Bose Music App: Bose Music app | Built In Alexa: Yes
VERDICT: While the Bose Soundbar 700 is on the expensive side, it delivers quality sound like no other speaker. Filling up the room with all that power coming from a single speaker just feels surreal. Perhaps, those who can spend an extra hundred or two should really consider the Bose Soundbar 700. It would truly redefine media consumption.
Talking about a more specific product line, Bose’s home products have always been a bit heavy on the pocket. The product under discussion: Bose Soundbar 700, is no different. Boasting a premium price tag, the Bose Soundbar 700 is the bigger brother to the Soundbar 500. The question arises though, is it worth it. Perhaps, to answer that question, one would have to dig deeper into the product itself.
It’s an interesting experience, unboxing a Bose product. You can see a giant packaging with tonnes of space wasted for a tiny little product inside. Weirdly though, that is not the case with the Soundbar 700. This is a huge soundbar. For context, if placed under a 55-inch screen, it would cover the entire bottom lip, from left to right. So be wary of that before copping up that much cash.
Coming back to the packaging, the box is black with accents of white in the middle. Opening it reveals the soundbar, enveloped in a white, thin foamed sheet. The product with the sheet itself is surrounded by thick chunks of polystyrene protection. You have paid 800$ plus shipping for this product, this better get to you in one piece. Coming back to the unboxing, we set aside the soundbar itself and explore the other contents of the box. Inside the box, users can find the essentials such as the quick start guide and the user manual. This is paired with a cleaning cloth (microfibre) and a power cord. Some additional accessories include an HDMI cable, an ADAPTiQ headset, an optical cable and a universal remote control paired with batteries, of course.
These handfuls of accessories are included with it and each has its unique use for the product. One has to compliment Bose on this, they have surely included a lot of things with it, useful ones at that.
Design & Build
Perhaps build quality is something Bose has truly mastered in its years of producing audio products. While we may argue that the sound quality is not that outstanding anymore, the exterior is built rugged and made to last. As a Bose user myself, I can guarantee that bit quite confidently.
The Soundbar 700 is no different when it comes to Bose’s quality control. It is built like a tank but looks as sophisticated as a flower. The device comes in two colours: Black and White. In my opinion, try to go for the white one as the black one is a magnet for dust particles. Bose realizes this and therefore added a microfibre cloth in the packaging. The rest of the machinery is enveloped in a metallic housing which includes the audio drivers that pack the boost. On the top, there is a pair of buttons which can mute the voice assistant and the other is used as an action button. Below, there is a thin LED that shows the status of pairing or power indication for the soundbar.
Now going back to the rear side of the device, we find the I/O. Amazingly enough, it gives a wide variety of connectivity option: something that is rare in 2019. The Soundbar 700 boasts an HDMI port which is ARC compatible (this is where the Universal Remote comes in). Other than that there is an optical port there are other ports for the ADAPTiQ (explained later) headset, power chord, and an ethernet port to connect to the internet. The Bose Soundbar 700 supports a contemporary look with its molded metal grill and tempered glass while maintaining a sturdy structure, a homage to the Bose brand name.
Setting up the Bose Soundbar 700 could not have been easier. In fact, we placed a stopwatch to time the minutes it took us to take it out of the box and set it up. I am happy to say that we were a little shy of 7 minutes! Exactly, that is how straightforward the entire process is. A little disclaimer though, we have been doing this a lot and thus I may be underestimating the process somewhat (sorry).
You may start by either placing the soundbar under your TV or entertainment unit, or you may choose to hang it on the wall. Either way, Bose has you covered with both the options. Next, just plug in the power cord into the device and the other end into a power outlet. Next plug in the HDMI cable into the unit and the other end into the ARC port of your TV. Make sure you do this, if your TV supports it, for the Universal remote to be used for all your devices. Lastly, you may plug in the ethernet cable if you wish to.
Next, just turn it on, and download the Bose Music App on your smartphone. The App then runs a whole process with you on the screen to pair it to the device. This is where the ADAPTiQ headset comes in. Plug in the headset in the appropriate port and follow the steps on the App to allow for a completely immersive sound spread for the speaker. And that’s about it! Of course, you can further link your music accounts to it and perhaps add the supported external speakers or subwoofer to diversify the sound.
Connectivity & Performance
A soundbar may be elegant and beautiful, maybe sturdy and highly functioning but if it doesn’t perform well, what good is it. If it isn’t universally friendly when it comes to connecting it around the house, again, what good is it?
When it comes to connectivity, the Soundbar 700 is no slouch. Boasting the Boase Music App, interacting with the device is quite simple. Setting it up, via the App is even more simple and straightforward. Perhaps this is the strong suit of the device that you may connect to it via the App, over WiFi or the Internet (in general). If that wasn’t enough, Bose also included an active Bluetooth connection for devices to connect to and from. This is a similar approach to their SoundTouch lineup from three years ago. The device features, as mentioned above, an ethernet port for stable internet. This is because it features smart home assistance.
At the time of launch, Bose only included support for Amazon Alexa (the most rapidly growing home assistant) but now features Google’ Assistant as well (sorry Apple). While Apple does appear to be out of the picture, support for Apple’s Airplay 2 is still there. The inclusion of voice assistance is quite a big deal in the soundbar because it is considered as a home only product.
Coming over to the brawns of the 800$ beast. In short, the Bose Soundbar 700 definitely packs a punch. Carrying on the Bose name in typical fashion, it does not come off as a surprise that this product performs outstandingly. While weirdly enough, Bose does not give the exact specifications of its speaker, the device surely delivers.
In our testing, we ran the speaker through its paces in different scenarios and nowhere did it feel like it didn’t belong or we were pushing it out of its appropriate place. We tested it for Movies, Gaming, and Music. In all our tests, the speaker, in my opinion, passed with flying colors. There was ample clearness to everything we threw at it. Be it an action filled movie or game or a lyrically dominant music track. The Bose Soundbar 700 delivered and it kept on delivering. Perhaps that’s where we realized that Bose meant business when they worked on this, to make it an all-in-one living room package.
A product is only as good as it fairs against other competing products in the market. In today’s day and age, we live in a market which is virtually perfectly competitive. Gone are the days of monopolies ruling the world. With globalization made so easy with the advancement of technology, every company aims to one-up the competition.
Coming to our product, Bose has always faced a good level of competition from Sonos. To see which one of these comes out on top, we put them together while throwing the Bose Soundbar 500 into the mix as well.
Starting off with the Sonos Playbar, a direct competitor to Bose’s soundbar. Being market similarly as a smart soundbar for your living room, Sonos Playbar is a bit smaller as compared to Bose’s product. While that is the case, this most certainly does not mean it stands no chance. In our testing, we did notice that Bose’s Soundbar got to be louder, with the bigger size and in turn bigger drivers. However, for a particular volume, at the high levels, Sonos did manage to maintain clarity better than the Bose. Not to mention, the “connecting” bit of their marketing, Sonos does it so much better, without any hiccups. Another area where Sonos shines is connecting with other Sonos speakers. This is where Bose lacks a lot in comparison to the Sonos. Perhaps, this is a marketing thing by Bose itself to encourage people to transition to the new speaker line.
This is not to say that Bose is a total pushover. In our overall testing, the Bose Soundbar 700 was better than the Sonos Playbar, when it came to sound reproduction. Not only did it provide a wider sound stage, but also an overall louder sound. This allowed the Bose to provide a more widespread sound, coming from all directions. The 2019 update also allows more than just Alexa on the Bose, along with Apple Airplay 2 and Google Assistant, it gives it an edge over the Sonos. Even the Soundbar 500, supporting all these features, trumps the Sonos. While it may not have as elegant of design as its older brother, the Soundbar 500 features an excellent experience at a lower cost. The sound, not as exuberating as the Soundbar 700, is quite amazing and supports ample base to compete with Sonos’ Playbar.
Overall, both these products are excellent choices to go for. Not only to the consumers but for the competitors, it would keep the crazy competition alive, delivering excellent products to us. That is the biggest advantage of active competition in markets. Products that are evolving at a very rapid rate. In other words, “The future is Today”.
As we conclude, we must look at a couple of things. Who is this product for and should you buy it.
To analyze the first part of that question. Today, there is an abundance of different kinds of Soundbars in the market. We have to look at individual markets to understand, where is this product relevant. Basically what I mean is, in markets like Asia, an 800$ product would simply not be a good investment for a household whose monthly income is just around that figure. So our focus remains towards the European and the American market. Even there, with so many products from Samsung and other brands for less than half the price, one may wonder why people would be leaned towards it. In my opinion, people who consider the quality and the brand name of Bose to hold value, only they can justify the premium price tag and the little shortfalls that join the product, here and there.
Lastly, the question of whether it is worth it, should one buy it. To put this question into perspective, we have to lay down the pros and cons of the speaker itself. Going over the cons first, there are quite a few when we look over them. There is the biggest problem of the hit to the pocket one gets when buying it. For 800$ and god knows how many more for shipping, all you get is one single soundbar and a couple of amenities like the universal remote. When comparing it to the likes of Sonos, for a cheaper price tag, you are offered so much more. In terms of connecting to other Bose devices, like the Soundtouch lineup, there is not much to it. Bose has introduced a couple of speaker options and a subwoofer which runs an extra 700$ for the latter. It would not be very convenient for someone who is already spending so much on a mere soundbar and has other Bose Soundtouch products. Perhaps that is why many of the people prefer to go for Sonos instead. Lastly, when it comes to the voice assistant, in our testing we faced some glitches while interacting with Alexa. There were some instances where the device didn’t register our command at all. Again, the concern arises that for a product so pricy, marketed as a home-controlled device, should not be giving us these problems.
On the other hand, though, not everything is wrong with Bose’s Soundbar 700. After all, with all of the experience Bose has had with their audio products in the past, this does not come as a surprise that the Soundbar 700 sounds excellent. Delivering amazing surround sound, the device leaves little to no room for wanting an actual surround sound stereo setup. Among its competition, it does provide the richest sound, the widest sound stage. It can get loud, very loud with ample base even without the 700$ subwoofer (cannot stress the price enough). The elegant design, the touch controls and the wide variety of I/O allow the device to offer a truly contemporary experience. Backed up with a solid build and very effective customer support and warranty service by Bose, it is safe to say that the Soundbar 700 is one heck of a product.
To finally answer the question. It is worth it? Well, if you’re in the market for a new sound system for your living room and have an extra dollar or 500 to 1000 to spend then I’d say, look no further. Yes, it is pricy but the entire package as a whole is somewhat worth it if you look at the essence of the product. But, if you think that 800$ or even 500 is too steep for your pocket, I’d suggest going for a Sonos (black Friday deals can be amazing). Trust me, you will not be disappointed and as for Bose’s Soundbar, you won’t be missing much.
Price at the time of review: $800
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.