I have been meaning to put together this Bose TV Speaker and Bose Solo 5 article for a while. Bose is one of the best around when it comes to soundbars and it is actually the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 soundbar I have in my own home theatre right now. The Bose TV Speaker and the Bose Solo 5 are two of the more affordable soundbars from Bose. What makes this such an interesting matchup is that we have old versus new as the Bose TV Speaker was basically a replacement on the market for the Bose Solo 5. We are looking at if it is a significant upgrade or if you are better off going for the original!
The price category in our Bose TV Speaker and Bose Solo 5 battle is very interesting as there are some amazing deals to be had for these soundbars. These are still very well-made and high-quality soundbars, but the asking price is a fraction of what some of the higher-end Bose products go for and that is a huge reason why these have seen a surge in popularity recently.
Bose TV Speaker:
I am pretty sure that the Bose TV Speaker had a $279,99 asking price when it was initially released. I feel that this was a fair price at the time for a soundbar of this quality. However, as of me writing this the price someone is asking for this on Amazon is a flat 200 bucks and that is a very reasonable price for a soundbar of this quality. The asking price gets even better if you check out eBay. There are some phenomenal deals for this thing on there right now. You can easily find one of these on there in the $130 to 150 range which is great. However, I have seen pre-owned soundbars on there for under 100 bucks! I am not sure I would take the chance on a pre-owned one, but if you can get one for like 50 bucks, it could be worth the gamble.
Bose Solo 5:
For a while, the Bose Solo 5 was seen as one of the best “budget priced” soundbars on the market. On Amazon, as I write this the Bose Solo 5 is being sold for $185 which is a very fair price. However, you may want to spend the extra 15 bucks and go for the newer one. On eBay, there are a ton of these soundbars on there and the asking price is all over the price. I have seen used ones go for under 50 bucks which is just insane to me, but there is always a gamble going for a pre-owned soundbar in my opinion. There are many new ones on there too though in the $100 to $150. There are many deals to be had for this so be sure to do some legwork to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
The Verdict: Man, this is a tough one for me to call! These have prices that are all over the place so it is very hard to say for sure which one is the best deal. For me, I would probably say that the Bose TV Speaker is the winner as it is the newer soundbar out of the two. If you can get either one of these for under 100 bucks, you cannot go wrong at all.
We come to a fun category in our Bose TV Speaker and Bose Solo 5 showdown today, the design. Now, Bose did not reinvent the wheel when they released the Bose TV Speaker. To be honest with you their Bose Solo series was petty awesome to start with so I am glad that they did not radically change the design.
Bose TV Speaker: The Bose TV Speaker really is a cool looking soundbar. It is the perfect kind of soundbar for those that want a more compact sized soundbar. Bose themselves put out this great Bose TV Speaker – Unboxing + Setup video that shows this thing off really well. This comes in at 23.4″ x 2.2″ x 4″. So while it is a little less tall and deeper than the Bose Solo 5, it is a bit wider. It has a very cool style about it and it boasts a metal grille that does not just cover the front, it wraps around the side, this is a Bose trademark for the majority of their soundbars and it is something that I really do love. It gives the soundbar a very sleek kind of look. The top of the soundbar is plastic and has a nice shine to it, but it will be a magnet for dust and fingerprints. The Bose logo is on the top which I prefer to it being on the grille. In all, it has a very cool design and will look great in a home theatre or in your living room.
Around the back of the Bose TV Speaker on one side, we have the port for the subwoofer which is built into the soundbar. On the other side, we have the area where the hookups are located. This is a pretty solid selection of ports for you to make use of. There is an HDMI Arc port which is an upgrade as the Bose Solo 5 does not have an HDMI port. There is also an optical cable as well which is neat. There is an AUX port and there is also a USB port that can be used to upgrade the firmware. There is also a port called “bass” the idea of this port is that you would connect a standalone subwoofer like the awesome , Bose Bass Module 500 to it. One area where the Bose TV Speaker is a downgrade from the Bose Solo 5 is the remote control. They give you a simple credit card looking remote control that gets the job done, but it is very basic in comparison to what they did with the Solo 5. I wish they just reused the remote that the Bose Solo 5 came with. To be honest with you the remote control that comes with the latest Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a downgrade from the one that came with the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 so perhaps Bose figures more people are happy using their phone to control their soundbar these days.
Bose Solo 5: I think that Bose really did create something cool with the Bose Solo 5. This is a very stylish looking soundbar that comes in at 21.5” x 3.4” x 2.8”. This is not quite as wide as the Bose TV Speaker, but it does have a bit more of a “chunkier” kind of look about it. I am a huge fan of this speaker and it has a metal grille that does not just cover the front of the soundbar, but wraps around the sides too. It truly is a cool look and a huge reason as to why the Bose family of soundbars are my personal favorite that is on the market right now. The one main difference when it comes to the grill is that the Bose logo is in the middle of the grille. This is a personal preference thing, but I will say that I do prefer how the Bose logo is on the top of the Bose TV Speaker, it just looks a bit less distracting in my opinion. The top of the soundbar has a bit more of a plastic look about it too so that is not quite as attractive either.
As we flip this sucker around to see what is on offer on the back. The design is very similar to that of the Bose TV Speaker. You have your subwoofer port on one side of the soundbar and then the hookups on the other side. There is no HDMI port on here which for a modern soundbar may be a bit of a deal breaker for some people as this has fast become the standard. This is also missing the Bass port for connecting it to a standalone subwoofer as well. Your choices for connecting this are optical or AUX, most TVs these days do still have an optical port so it is not a huge deal it is missing the HDMI port in my opinion. There is also a handy USB port in case you ever have to do something with the firmware. One area where the Bose Solo 5 trumps the Bose TV Speaker is with the remote control. This remote control is awesome and actually can work as a universal remote control. It is packed with buttons, gives you full control of the soundbar and it has a very premium feel and look to it. To me, this is what a remote control should be like!
The Verdict: I do not want to rag on the Bose Solo 5, after all, we would not have gotten to the Bose TV Speaker without it. However, I think that Bose clearly learned from the Solo 5 and as a result, the Bose TV Speaker is the better designed and better looking soundbar. It has a more premium kind of look to it and it looks a bit less “plastic”. However, I do have to say that the remote control the Bose Solo 5 comes with is a million times better than what we get with the TV Speaker!
The final round in our Bose TV Speaker and Bose Solo 5 fight for supremacy is looking at how these things sound. We learned in the last round that Bose took what they did with the Bose Solo 5 and improved it for the Bose TV Speaker as far as the design went. However, did they do the same with the sound?
Bose TV Speaker: The value for money that you are getting with the Bose TV Speaker is pretty amazing. For a 2.0 setup, this thing gives you incredible sound that truly does bring your movies to life. I ended up watching, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (the fourth time since it has been released) with this and it was very impressive. You get a nice and clear dialogue with this that is vastly superior to your TV speakers that is for sure. However, the overall sound here is nice and balanced. For example, if there is a lot of “action” going on, but people are talking at the same time, you are able to take it all in. While the movie may have been a bit disappointing, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is another great example of how the Bose TV Speaker produces a nice and balanced sound. For the average Joe, this is probably going to feel very close to a cinema like experience.
I have heard some people say that at louder volumes they feel that the audio quality does dip a bit. To be real with you, I never encountered that and when I watched the very underrated (in my opinion and I say that as a huge fan of the games) Uncharted, I did end up turning the sound up really loud. It was not as clear at high volumes as say the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 soundbar is, but to be fair that is to be expected. In a direct comparison to the Bose Solo 5, I do feel that there is just a bit better sound produced by this and that it is noticeable, hey if my wife notices it, it must be there! It is also worth noting that like other Bose soundbars, the TV Speaker does have Bluetooth so you can stream music from your phone through it. My wife does this all the time with our 900 so it is a pretty substantial feature for the soundbar to have.
Bose Solo 5: Before I give you my thoughts on the Bose Solo 5, I suggest you have a look at this Bose Solo 5 Soundbar Unboxing which gives you a better idea of what this thing is all about. At the time the Bose Solo 5 was released, it was one of the best “modestly” priced soundbars you could buy. Even now, I think that the sound this produces holds up in regard to other compact, 2.0 setup soundbars. I decided to watch Ghostbusters: After Life through this the other day and was very impressed at the sound quality. It is decently balanced, can get pretty loud and for your person that just wants an upgrade from their TV speakers, this will probably blow their mind. It was the vocal clarity in particular that impressed me the most! Mean Girls is a movie that the wife and I have seen a million times, it never gets old and that was the movie that made me take notice of just how crisp and clear dialogue is when pumped through this soundbar.
The overall power that the Bose Solo 5 has is pretty impressive. I will say that I do feel it keeps the same kind of sound at medium and higher volumes so take that for what you will. For example, we watched the 80s classic Top Gun in preparation for Top Gun: Maverick (which I will be watching via my Bose Smart Soundbar 900) and I messed around with the sound multiple times as we watched it (much to my wife’s annoyance) and I noticed that the sound quality stayed pretty much the same no matter the volume we had it at. As is the case with the other soundbars in this range from Bose, you have Bluetooth connectivity here so you can hook up your phone and play your favorite tunes from Spotify or whatever you may use.
The Verdict: This round is actually way closer than you would think. I am picking the Bose TV Speaker as the winner here, it did have just a tiny bit better sound profile overall, but to be fair they were building on what the Bose Solo 5 already did so that was to be expected. However, I will say that it does not beat it by as much as you would think, the Bose Solo 5 managed to hold its own in this round very well!
Which Soundbar Is Better?
I am always up for looking at a Bose soundbar so this Bose TV Speaker and Bose Solo 5 article has been a great deal of fun to put together. I have looked at the Bose TV Speaker and the Bose Solo 5 many times before, but never have they gone head to head like this. I think that the big question is, is the Bose TV Speaker an upgrade from the Bose Solo 5? I would say yes! The Bose TV Speaker is the better looking and slightly better made soundbar so it is winning this contest. However, if you already have a Bose Solo 5 and want to upgrade to a similarly sized soundbar, I would look at something like the Sonos Beam which gives you Dolby Atmos in a similarly sized package, all be it at about double the price.