Bose SoundTouch 10 Review
Bose SoundTouch 10
• Solid physical design
• Lots of connectivity options
• Direct internet streaming
• Well-designed app
• Balanced sound
• Synchronization across multiple SoundTouch speakers
• Account creation can be annoying
• No equalizer
• Volume is not high enough
• No AirPlay
• Distortion at high volume
• Not portable
• Too expensive
Very similar to Sonos Play speakers which were reviewed about month ago, the Bose SoundTouch series is in the same ballpark. It works on WiFi, it can stream from music websites directly and it can synchronize with multiple SoundTouch speakers located in various places in the house. With SoundTouch you will be getting a really good quality audio experience and maybe it would be your first step towards setting up a full WiFi based audio ecosystem for your home. The Bose SoundTouch series can be thought of as Chromecast audio connected to different-sized speakers.
The Bose SoundTouch 10 is the smallest speaker in the series. As you go up the line, the speakers get bigger and more powerful, with the 30 being the top of the line. The entire SoundTouch line has one thing in common: protocol and connectivity. If have all three speakers of the SoundTouch line and want to sync them with same music stream, you can do it.
When you buy the speaker, Bose gives you a remote control, power chord and a micro USB chord. The speakers do have a solid feel. It will definitely stand sturdy wherever you place it. The sleek design looks cool like most other Bose products. The speakers come in black or white.
On the front of the speaker you will find 4 status LEDs indicating WiFi connection, Bluetooth, auxiliary input and music streaming. For the black version, the speaker grill is black, whereas the area where LEDs are situated is grey. Thus, you have a grey-black combination playing across the speaker body which really looks quite clean.
On the top face of the speaker, you can see a keypad with numbers from 1 to 6. These preset buttons can be used to program each preset to stream from each corresponding audio stream. For example, if you have set number 3 to Spotify, pressing it will immediately begin streaming from Spotify. Apart from the presets, there is the power button, Bluetooth or aux input selector and volume buttons.
On the rear you will find a large vent for bass frequencies. Bass sounds good when it has lot of open area to resonate. Just underneath the vent, we can find auxiliary input jack and the USB service port, which is meant for firmware upgrades. The most prominent design feature you will find is the front and the back faces, which are curved, as are the edges. These tiny details do add up in a positive way. Unlike older SoundTouch Portable, the SoundTouch 10 does not have an inbuilt battery. Rather, it runs on mains power
Easy to use app
The SoundTouch app is available for iOS and Android. Before you begin playing music to the speaker over Bluetooth or WiFi, you will be asked to register and make an account. There is no way to opt out of making an account, which is a hassle. After registering you can proceed with either setting up WiFi or directly playing music over Bluetooth. Users have found the account creation process quite painful and time-consuming. Life would have been easier if it wasn’t mandatory. The app will allow you to enter credentials for WiFi, and once that is done you can simply start using it over WiFi. The speaker can also be configured over Windows PC using a USB cable.
The app is everything you need. It basically extends the functionality of the provided remote control. The SoundTouch app is neatly designed. On the left sidebar you can find a number of presets. Tapping on any one of them will begin playing music from the stream for the corresponding preset.
If you happen to have more than one SoundTouch device connected, you can see those on the bottom. The app enables you to select any one of the listed devices and play music on it. By doing so for every connected device visible in the app, you can play different music streams or tracks on each separate device. Each device may be placed in different rooms in your house.
The “Play everywhere” option will start streaming the same music track on each SoundTouch speaker connected to your app. The app achieves this functionality by multicasting over the WiFi network. When “Play everywhere” option is enabled, the app also allows the user to change volume of individual speakers or optionally set all speakers to the same volume level by moving a common slider.
Previously, playing Spotify stream was not possible on Android, but the new version add that support, which is a nice inclusion. The biggest downfall of the app is requirement of a working internet connection because it needs to access your Bose online account. This was not a smart move by Bose.
The Bose SoundTouch 10 is a mono aural device, which means you can place the speaker anywhere and expect pretty much the same spatial response. The driver inside the SoundTouch 10 is quite powerful and fills entire room with rich sound. Again, the amount of sound volume will vary based on your room size. Make sure you try out these speakers at the local store before making a purchase. After doing so you may want to buy a speaker a notch or two higher in the series, namely the SoundTouch 20 or SoundTouch 30.
Users with smaller rooms felt the sound was more than enough even at 50% while the volume may sound inadequate for a very large room. Having two or more of these speakers sitting across many rooms of your house, the kind of effect that will be created is amazing. It would be perfect for parties. Unlike Chromecast, Bose SoundTouch does not allow guest mode where guests can hook on the system to play their music on it.
The SoundTouch 10 offers no ability to change the tones except bass. Mids and the highs are fixed and balanced and most users have not felt the need to fiddle with those. The bass is quite balanced as well but the option to boost it or lower it remains available here. Speaking of bass, do not expect sub-woofer level of bass. This is not a sub-woofer – it’s simply a mono speaker.
The true power handling capacity of the speaker can be seen when it is pushed to the limits. SoundTouch 10 plays music quite well when the volume levels are at 70 to 80 percent, but after this point it starts showing some distortion and crackling. Distortion becomes more audible at 100% volume which is not expected from a brand like Bose. Although distortion is not too prominent, it can be heard if you have the ears to catch it.
Bose SoundTouch 10 not really worth it
The Bose SoundTouch 10 comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. The benefits being an appealing design, loads of connectivity options including WiFi, an amazing app, rich and balanced sound, ability to sync multiple speakers together while all this comes at a cost of $199 with no AirPlay, no ethernet port, somewhat difficult first time setup, no audio equaliser.
In my opinion, the SoundTouch 10 is really not worth $199. You could be better off buying a good speaker and plugging in a Chromecast Audio to do everything SoundTouch 10 does. If you really want to try out SoundTouch, the 20 and the 30 might be the way to go. Additionally, you can also check out SoundLink mini which is a very good wireless Bluetooth speaker. But if you are specifically looking for multi-room speaker system, the Sonos Play series could be considered an excellent choice.
The only tone control available in the Bose app is bass volume.
It's not battery powered. But everything else is wireless.
I'm no audiophile but to my ears the sound is excellent.
I already have 2 10's and 3 20's which run via Airplay - now I can't add this new 10 because its not supported.
- Speaker: 8.34" H x 5.56" W x 3.43" D (2.89 lbs)
- Remote: 4.5" H x 1.75" W x 0.5" D (1.76 oz)
- AUX input
- USB ports
- SoundTouch® 10 wireless music system
- Power cable
- USB cable
- Remote control
- Built-in Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth
- Wireless network compatibility: 802.11 b/g/n
- Supported audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless