Sonos Beam vs Bose Soundbar 500 which is a better buy?

Sonos Beam vs Bose Soundbar 500 which is a better buy?

I know that some of you may see this Sonos Beam and Bose Soundbar 500 battle that I have going on today as a bit of a strange one, however, I thought that it would be fun. We are looking at the original version of the Sonos Beam here as that is a fairer matchup against the Bose Soundbar 500. I think if we used the better and more recent Sonos Beam Gen 2, it would be way too one sided and no fun at all. Both of these are kind of the “lost” products from Bose and Sonos these days as both companies have moved on from these two soundbars. This is why I thought it would be a lot of fun to put them in the ring and fill the ring with tables, ladders, and chairs!


The Price:

As both of these soundbars have not been actually manufactured (well I think that is the case) for a while now. The price round in our Sonos Beam and Bose Soundbar 500 contest is kind of all over the price. However, as a thrifty Scotsman scouring the internet to save five bucks is always something that I find fun!


Sonos Beam:

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

I always go to Amazon first when looking at soundbars and I have to say that the current pricing of the Sonos Beam is freaking insane! As I write this they are asking $569 for it, this thing cost like $399,99 when it was first released. What makes this asking price even crazier is that you can get the Sonos Beam Gen 2 for ten bucks less and that supports Dolby Atmos! I see no advantage to buying the Sonos Beam over the Gen 2 whatsoever here! It would honestly have to be 200 bucks cheaper for me to even suggest it is remotely worth your while. You can find this on eBay for a lot cheaper to be fair, but I would still not pay more than 200 to 250 bucks for this soundbar.


Bose Soundbar 500:

Bose Soundbar 500 with Alexa voice control built-in, Black

I have to be honest and say that I do not think it took much time at all for Bose to kick the Bose Soundbar 500 to the curb. The Bose Smart Soundbar 700 was released and that became the number one (which itself has been surpassed) soundbar Bose offered. As I write this, you can get this on Amazon for a hair under $500. This is roughly the same price (I am pretty sure) that you would have paid for this when it was initially released so well done for retaining your value Mr. Bose Soundbar 500. Still, I can no way in good conscious tell you that in 2022 you should be spending 500 bucks on this soundbar. You can get a much better soundbar for that kind of money these days. The 500 is actually way harder to find on eBay than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 so there are not many deals to be had for this at all.


The Verdict:

There was this classic WWF match between The Undertaker and his brother Kane. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the referee and he declared himself the winner of the match. What the heck does that have to do with this? Well, these are two good soundbars, but neither one is worth the current price they are going for so I am awarding the Sonos Beam Gen 2 the win here!


The Design:

I am a massive fan of what both Sonos and Bose offer when it comes to their range of soundbars. Yet with that being said, I have to be honest with you fine folks and let you know that this is probably the easiest round in this Sonos Beam and Bose Soundbar 500 battle for me to call a winner in.


Sonos Beam:

Is there a company that makes curvier and more rounded soundbars than Sonos? I really do not think there is and even now, the Sonos Beam is a soundbar that I think has a very cool design to it. It is a soundbar that offers you big sound, but without taking up a ton of space in your living room or home theatre. Coming in at 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0”, this is a nice and compact soundbar. It is available in both white and black, black being the version I am specifically talking about here today. The curvy design that Sonos went for with this soundbar gives it a very modern and cool kind of style which I am just a huge fan of. It is made with a strong plastic that gives it a high-quality feel when you take it out of the box and plop it down wherever its new home will be.

In the front and wrapping around the sides is a fabric grill. This fabric grill really does look fantastic. However, fabric grills can be a pain in the rear end to look after, especially if you have kids and pets. They can be ripped very easily and pet hair and dust is attracted to it like a magnet. You will have to keep the maintenance up here to keep it looking in tip-top shape that is for sure. As we ask the Sonos Beam to turn around and wiggle its butt (ok that was weird to say) we can see that the back has a very simple design to it. You have a single HDMI port on here, but they do also give you their HDMI to optical cable which can come in handy if you want this hooked up via an optical cable. The remote control is a non-issue as Sonos does not give you one. Forcing you to use their app which is a good app, but I would have much preferred a dedicated remote control be included here, even if it was a very basic one.


Bose Soundbar 500:

If you really want to see what this soundbar is all about check out this Bose Soundbar 500 – Unboxing + Setup video from Bose that shows it all off from every angle. I think when it comes to soundbar design, Bose is my number one company on the market right now and the Bose Soundbar 500 is a great looking soundbar that certainly has that “Bose” style about it. Coming in at 31.5” x 1.75” x 4”, this is a fair bit wider than the Sonos Beam so that will be something you have to take into consideration. The top and bottom of the soundbar are made with a strong and smooth plastic that I really do like (although not as much as the glass one the 700 and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 has) as it gives the soundbar a very premium kind of design to it.

Speaking of “premium design” the metal grill that is not just on the front, but wraps around the sides is a Bose trademark and my favorite grill design of any soundbar that is on the market right now. Around the back, you have both an HDMI Arc and also an optical port there for you to connect it to your TV with. They do also give you a USB port and a subwoofer port which is designed with the Bose Bass Module 500 in mind. Bose also gives you a fantastic remote control with this that has a bunch of presets that each has its own dedicated button. It is very easy to use and it is a well made and great feeling remote to play around with while you are watching a movie. There is also the Bose app you can use which gives you a bit more control over the various features of the soundbar.


The Verdict:

While I do like the design of the Sonos Beam, this round is a very easy win for the Bose Soundbar 500. While I do think that Bose improved the design with the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 and then improved it even further with the 900. I still think that the Bose style and personality shines through with the 500 as well. I could have a soundbar that looks like this in my living room or home theatre and be perfectly happy with it!


The Sound:

As we all know the most important aspect of any of these soundbar battles that I do is the sound and that is no different for this Sonos Beam and Bose Soundbar 500 battle that we have going on here today. These are two very impressive soundbars when it comes to their sound, but I do feel that there is a clear winner here today.


Sonos Beam:

Before I give you my thoughts on the sound capabilities of the Sonos Beam, I want you to watch this Sonos Beam BASS IMPACT Test and Review – Listen to it HERE video. It talks about the thing that impressed me the most about the Sonos Beam and that is its power and the level of bass that it offers. For its small stature, this thing kicks some serious ass, a movie like Independence Day is made all the better when it has some booming bass and nice and loud sound like is provided by the Sonos Beam here! Another 90s disaster style movie I love that has great sound design is Twister and that brings me to something else that the Sonos Beam does very well and I am talking about vocal clarity. Even when there are all kinds of mayhem going on in any given scene, you can still comfortably hear what the characters are saying.

The Sonos Beam impressed the heck out of me so much that my wife yelled at me for how loud I had it. The movie in question that put her over the edge was the criminally underrated Treasure Planet from Disney.  Sometimes on less than amazing soundbars, as you crank that volume up, things can get tinny and distorted, but that is not an issue you will encounter when you are using the Sonos Beam. This thing offers you a very balanced kind of sound and the way it uses its room correction feature to make sure that the sound truly does feel like it is filling the room is very impressive.


Bose Soundbar 500:

Out of the main soundbars from Bose, I have to be honest and say that the Bose Soundbar 500 is probably the one I have spent the least amount of time with. It tends to get overshadowed by the more premium offerings and even the cheaper, Bose Smart Soundbar 300. I am not knocking the sound capabilities here at all and as a matter of fact, for this review, I watched the Jim Carrey classic, The Mask, and was very impressed, especially in the scene early on when he is in the club. It showed me just how much of a rich and balanced sound the Bose Soundbar could provide. I played around with the different presets too which is always fun to do and I did notice a difference, Speed is a movie I love and I noticed a massive difference on each of the different presets. By the way, what is it with me and the 90s movies with this soundbar?

Sticking with my 90s movie theme, I want to talk about Batman Forever and how it showcased just how good the vocal clarity provided by the Bose Soundbar 500 is. I liked how it kept things nice and clear, no matter what is going on. Batman talks in a softer tone in this movie and the 500 handled that perfectly. I do feel that you get a better more powerful sound here than you do with the 300, but it is nowhere near close to what the 700 and especially the 900 can do. Still, I do think that this is a damn fine soundbar and if you are willing to play around with the settings, you can get it perfect for any room that you decide to have it in.


The Verdict:

Both the Sonos Beam and the Bose Soundbar 500 sound great and will be a massive upgrade from your TV speakers or that never heard of brand soundbar that you got in Walmart for 100 bucks! They both do what they do well, but the thing is, they have both been surpassed by other soundbars. Still, when put head-to-head, I have to say that I feel the Sonos Beam offers more power and a more balanced room filling kind of sound than the Bose Soundbar 500.


Which Is The Better Soundbar?

I think that this Sonos Beam and Bose Soundbar 500 contest has been quite an interesting one. Between the two of these, I have to say that the Sonos Beam is a better overall soundbar than the Bose Soundbar 500. That is great and all, but these have both been surpassed and I have to be honest and say that at the current asking price these are going for, neither one of these is worth your money. Now, the leap from the 500 to the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is massive so they are not a fair comparison against the Beam or the 500. However, I do feel that if you are eyeing either of these up, you are far, far, far, far better going for the Sonos Beam Gen 2 which is a better overall sounding soundbar and also offers you Dolby Atmos as well. Plus, it is right around the same price (and in some cases cheaper) than what the original Sonos Beam and the Bose Soundbar 500 are going for.

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