Bose has a wide array of soundbars that come in various setup configurations such as virtual surround sound or true surround configuration and so on. Depending on the model you will also get a diverse set of connectivity options with the soundbar, for example wireless network, Bluetooth or cable connection. The Bose Solo 5 that we are reviewing today is more of an entry level soundbar targeted at people who are simply tired of putting up with the lacklustre speakers inside their TVs. The new soundbar from Bose is simple to use, easy to install and pleasant to hear. For a bigger setup, go to the Bose SoundTouch 120 review.
A sound bar that fits anywhere
The Bose Solo 5 is a cuboid shaped device that can sit flat on any surface that could be placed anywhere around the TV. It can also be wall-mounted if you want that, but just remember that Bose does not provide a wall mount assembly.
The device sports a black colour with the trademark Bose logo sitting exactly in the center of the speaker grill. The speaker grill covers the front and the two side faces of the cuboid body and it is all made from metal. The edges on the front are curved which kind of increases the appeal. This design reminds me of the Bose Solo 15 which also has an identical construction.
The backside of the soundbar has the power jack, the optical input jack, RCA jack and the auxiliary input jack of 3.5mm. Almost all the inputs on this soundbar are analog in nature except the optical jack. While most modern set top boxes, gaming consoles and DVRs are capable of outputting audio over the HDMI port the Bose Solo 5 does not have one. An HDMI port would have proven to be a useful option for feeding HD audio stream to the soundbar.
The Bose Solo 5 is a really simplistic device meant to bring new life to TVs. The best thing I like about this sound bar is the need to connect only a power cable and a sound input cable, keeping the setup very minimal.
Bose provides a chunky universal remote that has all the buttons necessary to change the volume levels and stuff like that. It has 6 preset buttons which can be programmed to control 6 other devices that can take remote commands over IR link.
Decent sound performance
The Bose Solo 5 works great when you feed it with HD audio. If the source of your audio is a heavily compressed file, then it is going to be a not-so-optimal experience. The Dialogue mode feature of this speaker is something that is highly appreciated by many. It works by enhancing the dialogues by making them sharper and hence making them stand out. This feature may not work very well for a non-HD audio. Assuming that you have a good quality audio stream, dialogue enhancement will work wonders for people that have a problem hearing. Most users have claimed that this feature is the sole reason which makes this sound bar worth buying. Even without the dialogue mode turned on, the audio is quite crisp and full.
Looking at the music playback performance of the speakers, you can expect a decent bass and crystal clear sound. This indicates how sensitive the speakers inside are and that also means that a bad audio stream that has been compressed to oblivion will immediately become noticeable to your ears if you pay close attention. EQ is another thing that comes handy for tuning the speakers to your liking. Unfortunately, there is no way to enhance the bass except tuning the EQ at the source of audio, which could be your Bluetooth device or the TV itself. The bass response is quite punchy and responsive on the Solo 5. It is not too strong, just sufficient.
The speakers on the Bose solo 5 are located near the center of the sound bar which is the reason why you won’t get the directional response. Also, the speakers can pump a lot of volume which will easily fill up a medium sized room.
Should you buy the Bose Solo 5?
The Bose Solo 5 is a no nonsense, simple and straightforward device that brings new life to any TV with poor quality speakers. The Dialogue enhancement mode truly uplifts the voice from the ambient audio in the video. The Bose Solo 5 is more suitable for people having an HDTV connection at their homes because a bad audio stream will immediately make itself apparent.
For a heavy price £199 or $294, this sound bar does not seem to be of much value for money given that there are much better options out there that pack more features, more power and offer better connectivity options. For example, the Q Acoustics Media 4 Soundbar comes at £100 more but offers much better sound quality and loads of connectivity options.
For $394 you could also buy the Vizio S4251w-B4 soundbarthat offers a complete surround sound configuration for your home media setup. However you may be one of those people that likes to buy from the same brand. If that’s the case then the Bose Solo 5 sound system will suit you just fine and it’s unlikely you will be disappointed.