If you're looking for a single speaker that can turn your living room into an orchestral oasis, the Bose Home Speaker 500 is one of the best options on the market. In our testing it produced the crispest clarity and some of the most powerful bass, resulting in an expressive soundscape that hangs drama and emotion on every note. Add in all the functionality that comes with built-in Alexa capabilities, a convenient Bluetooth connection, and enough volume to power any party you'd like to throw, and you have a speaker with almost no downsides (apart from a hefty price tag). If you're looking to build a multi-speaker system we think Sonos offers a better blueprint in general, but if you're looking for one speaker to rule them all, this is it.
Bose Home Speaker 500 Review
Pros: Excellent Sound, Great volume, relatively compact, many connection options
Cons: Expensive, multi-speaker management leaves a bit to be desired
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is one of the best sounding speakers we tested, and has plenty of user-friendly accouterments to boot. If you just want one speaker, we think this is the best option out there. If you want to build a multi-speaker system we still like the functionality offered by Sonos a bit better.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 .
This is where the Bose Home Speaker 500 earned its throne with one of the top scores in the group.
Great Clarity and Separation
The Bose Home Speaker 500 offers some of the best clarity we've found in a home speaker. We were blown away at the Home Speaker 500's ability to clearly define and separate every note in music ranging from EDM to rock to classical to acoustic. Even in complex melodies, every instrument was clearly identifiable, occupying the exact space on the score it was meant to. This made the listening experience akin to a live concert, where every sound and note can be clearly attributed to a specific instrument and musician.
Deep, Resonant Bass
The Home Speaker 500 grounds that clarity with very powerful and punchy bass. Here again, the bass is a noticeable cut above that of most other speakers, and even beats out the Amazon Echo Plus and its external subwoofer. However, it is not the most powerful bass in our selection. That honor goes to the larger and slightly more powerful Sonos PLAY:5.
Overal Sound Impressions
With clear, booming bass and incredible definition, the Home Speaker 500 tends to bring out the best of whatever music you like to listen to. While we think the Sonos PLAY:5 sounds just slightly better overall, the difference is minor, and we think those looking for a single-speaker system will be happier with the Home Speaker 500.
The Home Speaker 500 offers pretty much all of the features one could want, and easy ways to control them.
Whether you want to play music over the Bluetooth connection, stream over WiFi using the Bose app, just tell the built-in Alexa to play a song, or physically hook up a device using the auxiliary input, we found the Home Speaker 500 incredibly easy to use. The built-in Alexa works just as you would expect it to on an Amazon built device and adds a lot of functionality to the experience (it's nice to be able to ask your speaker how cold it is outside and get a response). The small LCD screen even displays album artwork for a number of streaming services, adding a nice touch to the listening experience.
One area where Bose has upped its game is in the apps that accompany their speakers. compared to the older apps, Bose Music is much more intuitive, far less glitchy, and rarely crashes, if ever. It even rivals the Sonos app when it comes to managing multiple speaker systems. However, we would still suggest committing to the Sonos ecosystem if you're looking to use multiple speakers in your home. This is because Bose tends to make every new generation only compatible within that family. For example, SoundTouch speakers can only link to other SoundTouch speakers, and the Home Speaker 500 can only link to the newest offerings from Bose. In contrast, every Sonos speaker can talk to every other Sonos speaker, so you're much less limited in terms of kitting out your house with more sound.
The Home Speaker 500's 360˚ design is meant to flood all corners of a room with immersive sound, and it succeeds. It was one of the loudest speakers in our testing, again outdone only byt the larger Sonos PLAY:5. Even in large open spaces with a lot of people, the Home Speaker 500 can keep the party going.
The Home Speaker 500 offers all the connectivity you could want, including Bluetooth, WiFi, a 3.5mm auxiliary in, and of course smart commands provided by Alexa. This is one area where we again prefer Bose over Sonos, as Bose offers the Bluetooth connectivity that Sonos lacks.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is one of the most expensive speakers we tested. You can certainly get great sounding music for less from the likes of the Sonos PLAY:1 or the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4. However, if you want a single speaker that can completely knock your socks off when it comes to sound quality and volume, this speaker is well worth the price.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is the best home wireless and smart speaker on the market for those that want a single-speaker system. If you want to use multiple speakers at once, you may want to look at Sonos instead.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata