Today we are putting the Bose Soundbar 300 head to head with the Bose Soundbar 500 inside the 15-foot high steel cage… ok so maybe not the steel cage but you get what I am talking about. These are two of the most popular models of soundbar that Bose has brought to the market and today we are going to see which one is worth your money. Look, I know that these soundbars are more on the expensive side, but if you want a soundbar that is more on the budget side of things have a look at our, best soundbars with subwoofer below $200 article which has some great lower cost soundbars that also come with a subwoofer.
No matter what kind of product you are buying, 99/100 price is the first thing your eyes will be drawn to. That is why we review products at every end of the pricing spectrum. For example, if we stick with soundbars we have The Best Soundbars Under $600 and The Best Soundbars Under $200. We understand better than anyone that everyone’s budget is different. Neither of the two we are looking at today are what we could call “cheap” however, we still have to look at the average asking price for each of these.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300: We will start with the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 which as I write this tends to go for around the $399.99 price mark. I know this seems a lot, but you are getting a great deal of bang for your buck with this. Bose wanted to make as high end a soundbar as possible, but at the same time try their best to keep the price as low as they could and I think they nailed that here. It is worth noting that if you look on eBay, you can find these closer to the 300 buck’s mark.
Bose Smart Soundbar 500: Here we have the bigger brother which is the Bose Smart Soundbar 500 and this is an awesome soundbar. When this launched it was the most expensive soundbar from Bose, costing over 500 bucks. Once Bose launched the Bose Smart Soundbar 700, this one had its price slashed and at the higher end, you are looking at just under the 500 bucks mark. If you shop around on eBay and do not mind getting a refurbished one, you can find this for anywhere from 300 to 450 bucks.
The Verdict: Hmm, it is actually very hard to say which one of these offer you the best value for your money. The reason I say this is not a cop-out, but it is because Bose has moved on from these soundbars so finding one of these new from a place like Amazon is not all that easy. In terms of pure value for money, I do think that I would have to give a slight nod to the 300.
Next up we are taking a good look at just how cool and stylish each of these soundbars are. While the sound is always going to be the most important aspect of a soundbar. The fact of the matter is the majority of people are going to have their soundbar out on display so you want it to look sharp too.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300: We will start with the Bose Soundbar 300. This is a nice and compact soundbar coming in at 2.21″ H x 26.58″ W x 4.02″. This has that Bose look. It is mainly made of black plastic with the front and wrapping around the side of the soundbar having a very cool metal black grille that keeps the speakers hidden, but also looks very cool too.
What I think is great about the design of the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is that it has such a small footprint it is going to be great for smaller TV units. If you have a smaller TV, let’s say, 32-inches for example, the chance of that being on a super-wide unit are pretty slim so you will need a more compact soundbar and that is where this thing comes into play. It looks very stylish as all Bose soundbars do I have a hard time imagining that anyone would have a problem having this out on display in their living room or home theatre.
On the back of the soundbar, we have your various connections. You can use HDMI Arc or optical with this. There is also a port for a subwoofer and there is a micro-USB port in case you ever need to do any kind of update.
Bose Smart Soundbar 500: Next up we have the bigger brother, the Bose Smart Soundbar 500. The vital statists of this bad boy are 31.5” x 1.75” x 4”. At 31 inches long it is a fair bit longer than the 300 so that is something to keep in mind. You will need a TV unit that can handle this, unless you plan on wall mounting it of course. I think the fact that Bose gives all of their soundbars a similar kind of look is really cool.
The design is sleek and cool so it will fit in any home theatre room or nicely under the TV. Just like the 300, most of this is made of black plastic. You then have that cool-looking metal grill that covers the front and wraps around the side of the soundbar. I think that the fact this is longer gives that grill a much more striking kind of look. Of course, if that is a good or bad thing is all down to personal preference.
As far as the connectivity goes, you have the same as the 300 in the HDMI Arc and Optical along with the subwoofer port and the micro-USB. This does also have the advantage of having an ethernet port too.
The Verdict: Truth be told, these look pretty much the same. I would wager that your average Joe is going to not be able to tell these apart just from a separate picture where they are not side by side and you can see the size difference. Both of these look cool, but I do think the larger size of the 500 does make it a bit more eye-catching. In some of our other soundbar reviews like the ones in our, best soundbars under $400 you will notice that these all look radically different. Bose though likes to keep their things in a similar style and I like that.
Now we are getting into the real nitty-gritty in our Bose Smart Soundbar 300 vs Bose Smart Soundbar 500 contest. The whole idea of having a soundbar is to have better sound than your TV speakers and right off the bat, I can tell you that both of these offers that and more!
Bose Smart Soundbar 300: I think that as far as a 3.1 soundbar setup goes the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is one of the best on the market for power and value for money. A movie that my wife and I both love is The Greatest Showman and that was the first movie we tested with this. We sat with this right in front of us (well a few feet away, but you know what I mean) and I had my socks well and truly knocked off. The whole sound that this provided was fantastic and very rich, real and full.
If you are just wanting a stereo kind of setup with a soundbar, you cannot go wrong with this. While it does not have a subwoofer built in, the bass is better than you would expect, and at the end of the day, you can always add a subwoofer if you are that concerned about it. Even if you are watching something that is pretty action intense like Hobbs & Shaw you are going to be very impressed with the power of the sound that you are hearing through this soundbar.
Of course, if you are a music lover, you may want to know how this handles music. I connected this via Bluetooth to my phone and listened to some music from Spotify and was very impressed. I found that music was great and certainly 100 times better than the speakers on my phone.
Bose Smart Soundbar 500: Hmm, this did follow up from the 300 and I have to say that I do feel that the larger size of the Bose Smart Soundbar 500 gave it a slight edge in the sound department for me.
My sister got me the Back to the Future: Ultimate 4K trilogy for my birthday and that did the honors with this soundbar. Let me tell you, The Power of Love well and truly rocked my living room when blasting out of this. I had this turned pretty damn loud too and there was no distortion of any kind. It is the same kind of setup as the 300 with the left, right, and center speaker giving you a 3.1 sound setup.
Many soundbars say that they can offer your “surround sound” and I have found that to be a bit of a gimmick. However, one thing that the Bose Smart Soundbar 500 does do better than the 300 is fill the room with sound so you get a much more simulated surround sound kind of thing without having an actual surround sound setup. My son and I watched Independence Day Resurgence (nowhere near as good as the first by the way) and I was very impressed with how dynamic the sound was.
As far as music goes, I had a lot of fun with this. However, it is my wife I have to pass this to as she was rearranging her Disney ornaments we have in the living room (do not ask) and she ended up listening to Spotify on her phone for well over an hour through this soundbar and she said it was great.
The Verdict: The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 really does stand toe to toe with the larger more powerful 500 very well. I can even see why some people may like the sound that the smaller unit produces better. However, for me personally, I have to say that I think the Bose Smart Soundbar 500 does offer a better sound. The way the sound can fill the room was something that I found very impressive.
The Remote Control
Next up we are going to take a look at what the remotes for these soundbars offer. Even though the soundbars look similar, they come with two very different remote controls.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300: I was surprised at just how small the remote control for the remote for the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 was. This is a rather basic remote, but it more than gets the job done. It is similar in size and style to an Amazon Fire Stick remote. It can be used with Alexa and Google Assistant which is cool and there is a pretty neat app that you can download to your phone which gives you even more features, but to be honest, it is a bit annoying you have to download an app to use some of the features such as dialogue enhancement.
Bose Smart Soundbar 500: The Bose Smart Soundbar 500 has a fantastic remote control. This is way more feature-packed. It gives you direct access to a few different presets and in general offers far more control over the sound that the soundbar produces. It is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. It can also be used with the accompanying Bose app which gives you even more cool features to get the best out of your soundbar.
The Verdict: This is probably the easiest category for me to rate! The Bose Smart Soundbar 500 has a much better remote. It gives you more direct control over your soundbar. To be honest with you, you could probably live without the Bose app if you have the 500. If you have the 300, I do not see you ever using the actual remote over the app as it gives you such limited control.
What Is In The Box?
Want to know exactly what you can expect in the box when you purchase either of these soundbars? Well, here is where you will find that out.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300: As well as the actual soundbar. You get your remote and power cable as you would expect. They do also give you an optical cable, but they do not throw in a HDMI cable! Come on Bose, that is pretty tight if I am being honest.
Bose Smart Soundbar 500: In addition to your soundbar and power cable inside the box you can find your remote control, but as well as an optical cable they also give you an HDMI cable too! This comes with more, however. You also get a satellite brick and the accompanying cable. You also get a Bose ADAPTiQ headset which can help you calibrate the soundbar so it fits your room better.
The Verdict: You are definitely getting more bang for your buck with the 500, it is crazy that they did not throw in an HDMI cable with the 300 in my opinion. Just make sure if you are buying a refurbished unit that it is coming with all the goodies.
What Is The Better Soundbar?
Both the Bose Soundbar 300 and the Bose Soundbar 500 are great soundbars in their own way. I have to be honest and say that I feel what this really boils down to is how much real estate you have to play with. Look, both of these sound amazing, but if you do not have a lot of space the more compact nature of the 300 is probably going to suit you better. Yet, if I had to pick a winner (which is the whole point of this article) I would have to say that I preferred the Bose Smart Soundbar 500. I think that for movies especially it gives you a really great room filling sound.