Ok, So I know that you think I am insane in looking at the Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc. At the end of the day, one is a soundbar, one is a surround sound system. One costs a lot of money, the other costs a ton of money! It would appear that these two have nothing to compare them about. However, I recently did an article called, 4 Best Sounding Soundbars Under $1000 and the Sonos Arc featured on there, I have also put it head to head with the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 and now we are going to the extreme by seeing if your living room is better off with Sonos’s highest-end soundbar or a full-on home theatre surround sound system!
In this comparison review, we will be looking at the price, design, the sound produced, the remote control and what comes in the box. From these comparisons hope it will help you make a better informed decision on which is better for you. Lets start!
The Price: Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc
Oh Boy as my favorite mouse Mickey would say. I know that this is the real sticking point here today. One of these costs over four times what the other does so that is going to be very hard to compare. However, at the end of the day, I feel that we have to look at these and while comparing their prices against each other is what I am going to do. We do also have to say if they are worthy of their asking price on their own too.
Bose Lifestyle 650: Wow! The Bose Lifestyle 650 has an RRP of just under 4 grand! That is right four thousand dollars is the asking price for this. This is the highest-end surround sound system that Bose offer and they have gone all in with this. I know that for the majority of people out there four thousand bucks is completely out of the question. In all honesty, if I told my wife, I was spending this much money, she would flip her lid! However, even with the high price tag, I do not actually think you are “overspending” here. Bose are giving you everything they have with this and then some. If you do shop around, you can maybe shave as much as $1000 off that asking price so make sure you do. Just check out this awesome video review that shows you why this is priced the way it is!
Sonos Arc: Currently the RRP for the Sonos Arc is a rather hefty $799.99. This as of me writing this piece is the most expensive soundbar that Sonos offer and it is regarded as one of the best around. You are getting the highest-quality from Sonos here and I know that we have looked at the 5 Best Soundbars With Subwoofer Under $200 on here on the site. However, I can hand on heart tell you that there is a mountain of difference between the sound quality of a sub 200 bucks soundbar and this one here. Yes, this is very expensive for a soundbar, but just like the offering from Bose, it is far from being a rip off. You want quality, you have to pay for it.
The Verdict: It is one thing to say that there is a difference of say 50 to 100 bucks, but here we are talking about over three thousand dollars! My first car did not even cost close to three grand! Granted it was a piece of junk, but still. The thing is for what you are getting here, neither one of these is overpriced.
The Design: Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc
While sound is always the most important thing when it comes to speakers, you do also want them to have a bit of style about them too. There is no point having something gorgeous like this LG OLED65CXPUA Alexa Built-in CX 65-inch 4K Smart OLED TV and then a butt ugly soundbar you got for 20 bucks in Walmart under it. That is why we are looking at the design of these and how they will fit into your living room or home theatre.
Bose Lifestyle 650: Bose makes some of the best looking stuff around. Just look at my Bose Soundbar 700! My wife asked me if I wanted to get a room with it because I talked about how great looking it was. This is a bit harder to talk about than the Sonos Arc as there are so many parts to this. You have a 5.1 setup here. You have a center speaker, four wall speakers, a subwoofer, and a receiver and they all look awesome. They have a sleek black design to them that is curvier than the ship from Flight Of The Navigator. The receiver at first glance looks kind of boxy, but it has a very glossy and cool look. Granted the kid’s fingerprints will be all over that thing, but we can forgive it for that! The subwoofer is very round and has a futuristic style that I think is awesome. The center speaker and side speakers connect via cable and the subwoofer and rear speakers are wireless.
The four 4 OnmiJewel side speakers which give you your surround sound are amazing. I used to have this Sony surround sound system back in around 2002 that I loved, but the front and rear speakers were massive! Bose has managed to take their amazing tech and somehow cram it in these little speakers which look amazing. These are very stylish, but their size means that they can effortlessly blend into a room so they do not stick out like a sore thumb. I also have to mention that no matter if you want HDMI Arc, optical or Bluetooth, this thing has you covered. Not to mention, you can also use it with stuff like Alexa and Google Assistant too.
Sonos Arc: I think the Sonos Arc has a great look to it and its dimensions of 3.4” x 45” x 4.5” make it the largest soundbar that Sonos currently offer. It has a very smart look to it, but that length does of course mean you have to make sure that your TV stand can handle it. Can’t I just mount it on the wall? Well, you could, but you need a special Acrylic Wall Mount Bracket Kit for Sonos Arc to do so and this will run you around an extra 20 bucks. I really do like the design of this. Instead of being just all plastic, the front of the soundbar has a very cool looking grille that I love. It has a very “curvy” kind of look to it and I love the way it just sort of flows.
Round the other side of the soundbar is where you have your various connections. You have a power port as you would expect. There is an HDMI Arc on the back too. If you are wondering about an optical port, there is not one! Do not worry, Sonos has your back and they do include a special cable that will let you connect an optical cable to an HDMI. There are also the mounting holes which is where you can attach the wall mount should you decide to go this route with displaying it.
The Verdict: At the end of the day, this comes down to your own style (well, and money, but we are just focusing on the design here) and what you want. If you just want a standalone “speaker” then the soundbar is for you. If you have a home theatre and you want more, the 650 is for you. However, without sitting on the fence and if I had to say which one of these devices I like the design of better it would have to be the Bose.
The Sound: Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc
Being able to have the chance to check out something as epic as the Bose Lifestyle 650 was something I took very seriously. I have played around with the Sonos Arc a few times and have always been impressed. Still, I took this as an excuse to watch a ton of movies and the most fun I had was plowing my way through the awesome Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Collection which I highly recommend by the way as the 4K transfer on the original Jurassic Park movies is amazing.
Bose Lifestyle 650: Holy crap is this amazing! This is a surround sound system so the sound hits you from all angles. The kind of person that wants something like this is the same person that has a home theatre. This gives you as close to cinema quality sound as you can get. However, the first thing I tested with this was Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time. Hey, I know that sounds very strange, but I really wanted to hear the entrance music and the way a wrestling match would sound when hitting me from all angles and I can tell you, it gave me goosebumps as if I were there. I am sure people would have his in their living room and it would be amazing, but I do feel home theatres are what Bose are going for with this.
This is a 5.1 system. So, you have your five speakers and subwoofer. The most amazing aspect of the speakers was the four smaller ones. The power that these pack in such a small package is truly amazing. I have tested cheaper surround sound systems before and the smaller speakers can often sound kind of tiny, especially at louder volumes. That is not the case here. If you play something that has a lot of action, shouting, gunfire, and so on like Aliens you will feel like you are right in the heart of the action thanks to those rear speakers. No matter if it is a big action movie, something with more speaking, or a live sports event, the Bose Lifestyle 650 puts you right in the center of it.
Just like the majority (if not all actually) of Bose Soundbars that are on the market. This one does also offer you Bluetooth connectivity. I know it comes with a receiver so if you really wanted you could hook up a turntable or something to this. However, being able to stream your Spotify music through this is great. Oh, I also have to mention that the remote (more on that later) gives you many different sound presets that you can play around with too.
Sonos Arc: I came across this fantastic Sonos Arc Sound Test which I highly recommend you check out if you want to get a better idea of what I am talking about in my description of this soundbar. This is a very, very impressive soundbar. So, good that it made my 4 Best Sounding Soundbars Under $1000 list that I did recently. It truly is one of the best on the market and the best that Sonos offer. As you would expect from a soundbar like this, it is a 3.0 setup. By that, I am talking about a center speaker with two alongside it. The volume this thing can produce is very impressive. I am excited to go and see A Quiet Place Part II so I watched, A Quiet Place through this and was very impressed. What was great was the way it would give you the crystal-clear dialogue when they were talking softly and then it would blow your eardrums when something big would happen.
I know that some soundbars will say that they offer “surround sound” and Sonos are as guilty of this as anyone. Look, the Sonos Arc works wonders when it comes to filling a room with sound, but you do not get surround sound. Still, the sound this does give you is fantastic. I think this is at its very best when you are sitting right in front of it. Do not get me wrong, the sound is great no matter where you are in the room, but front and center it well and truly knocks you out!
I think that movies, video games, and TV shows as well all sound great coming through this. It can get very loud too which is great if you love your sound to pack a real punch. It has a nice amount of bass, despite not having a soundbar in there. The only negative with the sound comes from music. Hey, watching something on MTV sounds great, but this does not offer any Bluetooth connectivity so there is no way for you to connect your phone and stream music from it. At this price range, I do feel Bluetooth connectivity should have been included.
The Verdict: Look, the Sonos Arc is great, I did not list it as one of the best soundbars in its price range for no reason! As far as soundbars go it truly is one of the best. The power it offers, the way it can fill a room with sound gives this a truly amazing overall sound. However, when it comes to the overall “experience” that you get, there is no comparison with the Bose Lifestyle 650 and the Sonos Arc, but to be fair, we are talking about one of the best surround sound systems on the market.
The Remote Control: Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc
Being able to actually control your device is a pretty damn important part of it. That is why I wanted to have a section dedicated to how you control these things!
Bose Lifestyle 650: The Bose Soundbar 700 has one of the best remotes I have ever used with a soundbar so I was very excited to see what this was packing. Would it have a magic remote that would allow me to control time like in the movie Click? Well, no, it did not, but this thing still packs an amazing remote control. This thing is so feature packed I honestly do not know where to start. This is a media remote so as well as giving you complete control over the Lifestyle 650, you can also have it control other devices as well. It may be a tad complicated to do, but there is this how to setup and program a Lifestyle remote control guide which is very handy and I suggest you check it out.
Sonos Arc: Do you remember in Back to the Future Part II when Marty JR comes in and changes the channels by talking to the TV? Well, that is how I am guessing Sonos want things to go as there is no actual remote control with the Sonos Arc! That is right, just like the other more recent soundbar offerings from the good folks at Sonos they have done away with the remote. Instead, you have to download the accompanying app on your phone and tablet and control it that way. Do not get me wrong, the app has all you need to control every aspect, including different presets as well as changing certain settings yourself. However, I just think it is kind of lame that at 800 bucks they do not at the least give you a basic remote.
The Verdict: Look, even if the Sonos Arc did come with a remote control, I honestly do not think that it could come close to what is included with the Bose Lifestyle 650! This thing is so advanced that I am worried it may become self-aware and take over all of the tech that is currently inside my house! In all seriousness, once you have this remote, you can pretty much do away with all the rest that you have.
What Is In The Box? Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc
Both of these are very expensive, one more expensive than the other of course. However, when you are spending this amount of money you need to know exactly what you are getting so that is why we are taking a little look at what you can expect to find in the box when you get it.
Bose Lifestyle 650: Due to what you get the Bose Lifestyle 650 comes in a box that was so large I thought I would have to call in The Avengers to help get it into the house! In all seriousness, this is packing a ton of stuff so sit tight as we list it all. Inside the box, there is the receiver/console, your four smaller speakers, the center speaker, the bass module (subwoofer), and that awesome universal remote. That is the main aspect of what the Bose Lifestyle 650 is, but there is more in here! You also have all the sables you need, 2 wireless receivers, an IR emitter, an HDMI cable, a Bose ADAPTiQ headset for calibration and they even give you batteries for the remote and a screwdriver!
Sonos Arc: The Sonos Arc Soundbar is of course sitting in there ready for action. It also has the power cable as you would expect. There is also an optical cable so that you can connect it to your TV, but you do also get an HDMI to optical converter cable which is a nice touch. A standard HDMI cable is also included so no matter the style of your TV, you should be good to go with this right out of the box.
The Verdict: Both of these give you what you need to get started, although if I am being nit-picky, I do feel that for 800 bucks, Sonos could have thrown in a wall mount. The 650 though is just stacked. The fact they give you all that cable, the headset, and even batteries is awesome. Nothing these days hardly comes included with batteries!
What Is Better: Bose Lifestyle 650 or Sonos Arc?
Comparing a soundbar to a surround sound system is like comparing a bar of chocolate to a can of Pringles! Both are awesome, but it just depends on what you like best and what fits your current needs. Look, if you have a spare four grand and you can accommodate it, the Bose Lifestyle 650 is clearly the way to go. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of another surround sound system that is as high end as this. Of course, if you just want a soundbar, the Sonos Arc is one of the best around and there is a very good reason why so many people love it.