Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5, Which is better?

Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5, Which is better?

Today’s battle between the Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5 is going to be a good one. We have put the Sonos Beam up against other offerings from Bose such as the Bose Soundbar 700 vs Sonos Beam usually when we have put the Sonos Beam up against another soundbar the Sonos Beam has been the “weaker” product, but that is not actually the case here so it is going to be pretty interesting to see how things go when the Sonos Beam is the one that is not the underdog.

The Price

We have looked at soundbars at every end of the pricing spectrum. Ranging from ones like those featured in Our 4 Best Sounding Soundbars Under $1000 article to those that are in our 8 Best Compact Soundbars under $200 that are great for TV article. The thing is, price is very important. We all have different budgets or feelings about how much is a fair price and that is what we are looking at here. We are trying to see if both of these are giving you some good value for your money.

Sonos Beam:

Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - White

The Sonos Beam has a recommended retail price of $399.99 which is what it seems to be at the majority of places it is available. You can get this from Sonos themselves or you can check out Amazon. The thing with Amazon is that this thing seems to change prices all the time so be sure to watch out for that. This is sort of the middle ground when it comes to what is classed as a higher end soundbar. I do not think 400 bucks is a bad price at all and I can see why it is so popular. It is worth shopping around though, as I have seen this as low as $310 on special offer and if you look on eBay, you may even get lucky and get it for under the 300 buck’s mark.

Bose Solo 5:

Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control, Black

Ok, the first thing we have to mention here is that the Bose Solo 5 has been replaced by the more recently released Bose TV Speaker.

Bose TV Speaker- Small Soundbar with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote Control

The Bose Solo 5 was priced around the 200 to 250 mark when it was released which I think is a fair price for a soundbar of this quality. Its replacement the Bose TV Speaker can currently be found on Amazon for $250 so there is quite a big difference between that and the 400 bucks for the Sonos. I had a quick look on eBay and you can still find a Brand New Bose Solo 5 on there like this one which is priced at 280 bucks. There are some on there for under 200, but they are used. I had to come back and edit this part as Amazon currently has one listed for $170 which is an absolute steal!

The Verdict: I have to say that when it comes to the price, the Bose is the winner as it can be if you shop around half the price of what the Sonos Beam is. Even if you said that you wanted to get the Bose TV Speaker as it is the newer version, you are still looking at saving around 150 bucks! Just think of all the Blu-Rays or records you could buy with that extra $150.

The Design

I think the way that a soundbar looks is very important. These things are out on display all the time, so the last thing you want is a big ugly looking hunk of plastic. These are both pretty cool in their design and I do not see anyone having a problem with the way that either of these things looks.

Sonos Beam: One of the things that I think makes the Sonos Beam so popular is the way it is nice and compact. At 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0”, it takes up very little space so even if you have a smaller TV unit, you do not have to worry about it hanging over the edge.

While it is the black version I have played around with, check out this Sonos Beam video review that shows off the white version and you can get an idea of just how compact this is. I like the curvy design that Sonos has done with this as it gives it a very pleasing to the eye and elegant kind of look.

SAMSUNG QN32Q50RAFXZA Flat 32" QLED 4K 32Q50 Series Smart TV (2019 model)

I would normally tell you that this would look great with a smaller TV like this SAMSUNG QN32Q50RAFXZA Flat 32″ QLED 4K 32Q50 Series Smart TV. However, the more I think about it, the more I think that this would also fit in nicely between the legs of something like this bigger, SAMSUNG 65-inch Class Crystal UHD TU-8000 Series – 4K UHD HDR Smart TV. I would recommend that you do some measurements to try and give yourself a better idea of how it is going to look. One of the things that make the design of the Sonos Beam so interesting is the grille. While the majority of the soundbar is made from a solid plastic, the grille is fabric and gives it a very sleek kind of design.

While it may be the front of the Sonos Beam that gets the most attention, the party is really round the back if you know what I am saying. Here is where all your connections lay in wait. There is the power port here, but you also have your HDMI port as well. While you may think that only having an HDMI port and no optical port is a bad thing, Sonos does give you a special HDMI to optical cable so you are covered if you want to connect this to your TV with an optical cable.

Bose Solo 5:

Check out this Bose Solo 5 Review if you want to get an up close and personal idea about what this thing looks like. One of the interesting things about this and the other speakers that Bose offer is that they all have a similar kind of style. They all look cool, modern, and badass and this one is no different. I love the way that the metal grille wraps around the front of the soundbar. This is a signature look that Bose goes for and it never fails to impress me. The dimensions of this are 3.4 x 21.5 x 2.8 inches so there is a few inches in length that the Sonos Beam has over this, but they are quite comparable. The newer version, the Bose TV speaker comes in at 4.02 x 23.38 x 2.21 inches so there is not much between them at all.

Sony X80J 65 Inch TV: 4K Ultra HD LED Smart Google TV with Dolby Vision HDR and Alexa Compatibility KD65X80J- 2021 Model

I think the design of this is very cool and it is the kind of thing will effortlessly fit in with no matter what kind of TV you have. You could have this under a Sony X80J 65 Inch TV and it would look great. Also, I do not think it would look out of place under or above if mounted on the wall of a much more modest TV like this Hisense 32-Inch Class H4 Series LED Roku Smart TV. I really do not see any kind of setup where the Bose Solo 5 is not going to fit in and look awesome in the process.

On the back of the soundbar, we have our connections. As this is a slightly older soundbar its offerings as far as connections go are awesome. You have an HDMI port, but there is also an optical, AUX, and a coaxial port as well. There is no way in hell you are getting a soundbar made in 2021 with that many connectivity options. The Bose Solo 5 also offers you Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music from things like Spotify if you wish.

The Verdict: Look, the Bose Solo 5 wins this on the connectivity options it gives you alone! Amazingly, you have all these options. However, I do have to say that purely on looks, I would still give the win to the Bose Solo 5. I just think that it looks so awesome. It actually looks so awesome, that Bose still uses this similar design for their current soundbars now. The Sonos Beam looks great it really does, but for my personal taste, I find the Bose Solo 5 more appealing  

The Sound:

If I have said it once I have said it a million times! While modern TVs look all sleek, thin, and cool. This has come at the expense of the speakers. I do think that TVs released in the last couple of years are better, but you still need a soundbar if you want great sound!

Sonos Beam: I think that there is a very good reason as to why Sonos has such a good reputation. While Sonos certainly have more expensive and arguably better soundbars like the one featured in our Bose Lifestyle 650 vs Sonos Arc battle. I think that the Sonos Beam is a fantastic soundbar that offers far more power than you would think. It offers you a center, left and right speaker and when you sit in front of this it smacks you head on and gives quite close to cinema quality sound, really as close as you are going to get at this price range. One movie that sounded fantastic through this was Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a great showcase for this soundbar as it has an epic soundtrack, lots of action, and some more somber moments too, all of which the Sonos Beam handled very well.

I found that right out of the box the Sonos Beam was impressive and delivered kick ass sound. I found that the mid-range was near perfect and even at louder volumes it was still quite impressive considering its lack of size and having no subwoofer. Vocal clarity is very impressive and I promise that once you have watched something that has a lot of talking like a sitcom or a drama through this, there is no going back to your TVs speakers that is for sure!

There is no Bluetooth connectivity with the Sonos Beam which I think is a bit of an oversite, especially considering it costs around the 400 buck’s mark. This means that you cannot stream music via your phone through this. I can tell you first hand that for my wife this would be a huge problem.

Bose Solo 5: One of the most interesting things about the Bose Solo 5 when it comes to its sound is that it has a subwoofer built in. You would think that this would give it a really powerful bass, but that is not the case. Do not get me wrong, it is not bad or anything like that and actually the first movie I tested with this was Con Air and I thought that it handled the loud action scenes along with the quieter spoken dialogue very well. Nick Cage talks in quite a soft-spoken manner in this movie so it was a great way to test the clarity, which I can tell you was pretty solid.

If you are interested in this then I suggest you check out this Adjusting the BASS on BOSE SOLO TV Sound System video which showcases the bass capabilities a little bit.

I have to say that Bose have certainly improved a great deal over the years and I know we are comparing this to the Sonos Beam, but comparisons to the newer, Bose TV Speaker I do have to say that it lacks that extra bit of punch and spark that makes that such a great soundbar. Again, I am not saying this is bad or anything like that, but what Bose was going for here with the Bose Solo 5 has been improved on. I think if you were to get this and just keep everything at the middle of the road then you will be very happy with the sound, those that like to have their movies, TV shows, games, and so on loud, may not be completely blown away.

Like the majority (actually I think it might be all of them) of Bose soundbars, this one offers you Bluetooth connectivity. This is pretty huge in my house as my wife likes to stream music from her phone, she is one of those weirdos that would happily do away with all physical media! Anyway, this is a nice bonus of this soundbar, but again, you probably do not want to have it too loud when listening to music.

The Verdict: Side by side I have to give this one to the Sonos Beam. I think it delivers more power and even without a subwoofer, at louder volumes, it has more punch to the sound. The Bose Solo 5 is ok and certainly a step up from your TV speakers, but it is certainly not as good as the Bose TV Speaker or the Sonos Beam.  

The Remote Control

Some day we may be able to control our devices with our minds as if we were a mutant like in X-Men, but until that day we have to make do with remote controls and apps which is what we are taking a closer look at here.

Sonos Beam:

Check out this video unboxing and you will notice something rather strange as this gentleman is unboxing everything. There is no remote control! Sonos have moved on from remote controls and instead want you to use an app for their soundbars. In theory, I get what they are going for here. One less remote cluttering up the sofa is a good idea in theory, but it means you need to always have a tablet or your phone if you want to control the soundbar. The app to be fair is great and gives you access to many different sound altering features so you can play around and get the sound just the way you want it.

Bose Solo 5: Bose has some awesome remote controls, just check out my Bose Soundbar vs Sonos Arc article as well as the other Bose related content we have on the site to see how much I love the remote that comes with the 700! This remote is stacked! It is nice and large which I see as a bonus and it has all the buttons you could possibly need to control every aspect of the soundbar. Bose does have a great app, but I do not think it is necessary at all if you have this as the remote lets you tinker with the sound in many different ways as well as select from default presets.

The Verdict: As is the case with any Bose vs Sonos article that I have done, Bose wins this one hands down. Sonos have done away with the remote control and while their app is great. The fact that the Bose Solo 5 has such a great remote control makes that the clear winner here.  

What Is In The Box?

I just suggested checking out a video unboxing of the Sonos Beam so that was a bit of a spoiler. However, I do think when you are spending a few hundred bucks that it is important to know exactly what you are getting for your money. As well as a bunch of packing foam, this is what you will find in the box for these bad boys!

Sonos Beam: Of course, you have the actual Sonos Beam soundbar and the power cable, but there are a few other items in here too. They give you an HDMI cable along with an HDMI to optical cable so no matter your setup, you are ready to go. They give you a CD that contains the drivers for the soundbar in case you ever need them as well.

Bose Solo 5: One of the things that drove me nuts about the Bose Smart Soundbar 500 was that Bose did not throw in an HDMI cable! That is the same thing here! They do give you an optical cable, but you will have to make sure you have a decent HDMI cable if that is your preferred connection method. As well as the soundbar, power and optical cable. The box also has your remote control, a set of batteries, and the manuals which I normally would not mention, but as the remote is so complex it is worth taking a look at it.

The Verdict: While the Bose Solo 5 contains what you need, the fact they did not throw in an HDMI cable means that I have to give this one to the Sonos Beam. If you did not know about the HDMI cable issue and connection via optical cable is not an option, you would not be able to use the Solo 5 out of the box! The Sonos Beam on the other hand comes with everything that you need.  

Which is the Better Soundbar?

Both the Sonos Beam and the Bose Solo 5 are fantastic soundbars. If you have been using your TV with the speakers for a while, as soon as you set up either one of these you are going to notice a massive difference and wonder why you stuck with your TV speakers for so long. As far as a winner goes, I have to give this one to the Sonos Beam. While I love the design of the Bose Solo 5, the fact of the matter is the Sonos Beam produces a better sound than the Solo 5 does. Side by side, even someone who does not normally notice this kind of thing would be able to tell that the Beam is better.

If you are a fan of Bose, I would suggest that rather than going for the Bose Solo 5, you consider the Bose TV Speaker which is basically the new and improved version that sounds better than the Solo 5, but it keeps a very similar kind of style.

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