Not all modern home speaker systems have both quality sound and good connectivity. The Bose Home Speaker 500 is on the pricier side, but it boasts excellent and wide stereo sound in a great-looking package. It’s also very easy to use.
We’re going to take a look at the design, connectivity, Bose Music app, and sound quality to see what makes the Home Speaker 500 one of the best Bose speakers out there and worth the high price tag.
All in all, the Home Speaker 500 looks very impressive, with a seamless elliptical shape and an anodized aluminum casing that, if you opt for the silver model, reflects the light in your room beautifully.
On the front of the speaker is a small full color screen that displays album artwork as you play music – the screen also has auto-dimming so you won’t be blinded when you’re using it in low light conditions.
The screen can also display the time, which is a nice feature, however smart displays like the Google Home Hub and the Amazon Echo Show, not only display the time but artwork, news and so much else. That makes Bose’s simpler display feel ever-so-slightly obsolete.
The speaker’s grille is precision drilled for both audio accuracy and a high quality finish, and overall, it looks really attractive.
Although the Home Speaker 500 has been optimized for voice control via Amazon Alexa, there are buttons for basic functionality on the top of the speaker, as well as six preset buttons that you can program to play your favorite playlist, radio station, or album after one touch.
You can store presets using the Bose app, although next year Bose says it will be updating the speaker to allow you to create presets using your voice.
The speaker also features a light bar, which glows as you interact with Alexa, and also changes color depending on the type of audio input you are using to play your music (for example, blue for Bluetooth).
It’s really aesthetically pleasing, and looks good enough to be a design focal point in the home without clashing with your style of decor.
One of the main selling points of the Home Speaker 500 is its utilization of the company’s proprietary mic technology, which allows the speaker to pick up commands even when music is playing loudly – it contains an eight microphone array designed for near and far field listening.
Right now, the Home Speaker 500 only supports Alexa, but Bose plans to update the new range to support Google Assistant this year. (Don’t worry, if you have a lot of different Alexa-enabled devices in your home, you don’t have to worry about all of them going off at once when you make a command – only the closest speaker to you will respond.)
In terms of audio, the Home Speaker 500 sounds really impressive. This is partly thanks to it’s two custom drivers that point left and right – Bose says that this allows true stereo separation without needing to buy a second speaker.
When it comes to music playback you have a few different options; you can connect your device to the speaker via an AUX cable, wirelessly connect via Bluetooth, or set the speaker up on your home’s WiFi network.
There’s a lot to like about the Home Speaker 500: It sports a sleek, sophisticated design, a nifty display, and it sounds fantastic. Its room-filling sound will likely impress audiophiles and casual listeners alike, although we don’t think it quite delivers true stereo separation like Bose claims it does.
That being said, it’s a shame that the speaker is currently limited to Alexa, but Google Assistant functionality should be coming to the Home Speaker 500 soon if Bose is true to its word.
Overall, the speaker is on par with Apple’s smart speaker and sounds a lot better than the vast majority of smart speakers on the market. If you don’t mind a potentially tricky setup process and a steep price point, it’s well worth considering.