Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Review and Full Specifications

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 box has a bevy of features and superb sound, but we suspect its full immersive capability can only be unlocked with more speakers.

Box to the gills with features, including Dolby Atmos support, room correction software, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast and built-in Alexa and Google Assistant. But while this all-in-one soundbar is a pleasure to listen to, it lacks the immersion and dynamics of its less-subtle competitors, meaning your reaction to the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a “Wow!” Could be “better” than that.

Luckily, this Bose soundbar can be augmented with additional speakers and I suspect the Bose Smart Soundbar 900’s immersive likely might be unlocked, when it’s paired with a Bose subwoofer and surround modules.

Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Review and Full Specifications

Body and Design

The all-in-one Bose Smart Soundbar 900 chassis has a total of nine drivers. Of which four oval-shaped 4 x 2-inch full-range transducers and a 1-inch tweeter supply audio for the left, right and center channels, while a pair of 1-inch “PhaseGuide”-enabled tweeters are designed to “in the room project sound  ,” according to Bose. 

Finally, two upfiring, 4 x 2-inch oval dipole transducers bounce Dolby Atmos height signal off the ceiling, an alternative to height speakers in your ceiling. The driver is powered by its keep Class-D amplifier.

Then, how does all that translate into a channel design? After some back and forth with Bose, I was told that the 900 supports playback of all 9.1.6 channels available in Dolby Atmos, but it renders 3.1.2 channels from the soundbar itself.” Fair enough.

Whatever its channel design, you can upgrade the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with additional speakers if you wish. For example, you could pump up the low frequencies with the Bose Bass Module 700 ($799), as well as add physical surround speakers with the Bose Surround Speakers 700 ($599).

Springing in for both a subwoofer and a surround speaker kit will bring the total price for the whole shebang to roughly $2,300—expensive, yes, but that’s Bose we’re talking about. Bose also offers a step-down Bass Module 500 ($499) and Surround Speakers $399 that will work with the soundbar. Measuring 41.14 x 4.21 x 2.29 inches (WxDxH) and weighing in at 12 pounds.

The Bose Smart Soundbar is slightly narrower than a 55-inch TV, with a low profile that A soundbar placed in front of a set will not block most of the screen’s bottom edge. In addition to placing it in front of your TV, you can also install it below your TV, but doing so will require an optional $39 mounting bracket.

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900’s most distinctive design touch is its clear glass top (with oval openings for the upfiring drivers), which gives the speaker a decidedly premium look. Said that , I found the reflection of my TV picture on the glass to be somewhat distracting. 

Input and Output 

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 has just two audio connectors, both of which are located in the first of its two rear cavities: an HDMI-ARC port that supports eARC (an “enhanced” version of ARC that allows for lossless audio formats like Dolby TrueHD. ) And an optical TOSLINK input for your legacy TVs.

Since the 900 doesn’t have a separate HDMI input, you’ll need to connect your video sources (such as a streaming video player, a game console, and/or a Blu-ray player)to your TV’s HDMI inputs and then sweep the audio to the soundbar. Instead of connecting the source directly to the soundbar.

In addition to HDMI and optical connectors, there is an Ethernet port for wired network connectivity, as well as a USB-C service port.

A second rear cavity contains proprietary data and bass jacks (the latter allowing wired connection to a Bose subwoofer), a jack for an IR receiver (in case you want to control the soundbar with a third-party universal remote) and an “ADAPTiQ” to calibrate the soundbar’s audio. Jack for using time (we’ll get to that in a moment).

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900’s left rear cavity houses its ADAPTiQ room-correction headband, an IR receiver, 3.5mm jack for data and a proprietary subwoofer connection.

Full Setup

Getting the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 up and running takes a few steps but is overall a smooth process. Once you place it in front of your TV (or install it underneath) and plug it in, you download the Bose Music app and sign in or create an account (you can sign in with Facebook or Apple if you prefer).

The app walks you through the process of adding the soundbar to the app and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network (which, for me, worked on the first try). With the Smart Soundbar 900 connected to your house network, the app lets you sign in to one or more music services Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Spotify are supported) before installing any available updates.

The app then asks if you want to connect any additional Bose speakers to the soundbar before starting ADAPTiQ tuning, which calibrates the Smart Soundbar 900’s audio to your room’s acoustics.

The ADAPTiQ process involves sliding what appears to be a black plastic headband over your head; The headband is connected to a long thin cable with a 3.5mm jack that goes into the ADAPTiQ port on the back of the soundbar.

Remote Control

On the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, the Smart Soundbar 900 grabs a glimpse of indicator lights, with just a thin light bar on the top-left edge of the speaker, sitting just below the glass surface.

The bar vibrates when you press the volume buttons on the remote and turns white when the soundbar is connected to Wi-Fi or paired with a Bluetooth device.

Audio Performance

I won’t leave you in doubt: the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 comes with excellent sound, refined, silky, and—characteristically Bose—sensible. This isn’t a soundbar that tries to wow you with jaw-dropping surround effects or big, bloomy low-frequency effects. In other words, the Smart Soundbar 900 has an audio signature that’s more velvet glove than punch in the face.

On the flip side, the surround and height effects of this Bose soundbar never blew me away, with the height signals generally sounding subdued and the overall soundstage focused front and center. A pair of surround speakers will undoubtedly tease out the surround effects, while you can always nudge the height channel settings from the Bose Music app.

It’s also worth noting that all-in-one soundbars that employ DSP to push immersion often add harsh, hissing audio artifacts to the process; However, the Smart Soundbar 900 never exhibited that problem.

Playing the UHD Blu-ray of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, I enjoyed the crisp, musical sound of John Williams’ memorable soundtrack, while the snow speeder zipping around the Imperial Walkers sounded smooth and tender (if that can be said of the clanking four-legged war machine). Conversation was always clear, and there was some clear bass from the roar of the Millennium Falcon’s engines as it pulled away from the trio of Star Destroyers.

As I mentioned, however, the overall soundstage felt forward-focused, with little in the way of surround effects. Height cues were subtle but noticeable (the hiss of snowfall from the crumbling ceiling of the Rebel base wasn’t as pronounced as I’ve heard on other Atoms soundbars), and the sound didn’t sound too dynamic to my ears.

In short, the sound I heard from the Smart Soundbar 900 was excellent, but it wasn’t as immersive as what I heard from competing all-in-one soundbars. Adding a Bose subwoofer and surround module can solve that problem.

Switching to UHD for Apollo 13 (a film with a DTS:X soundtrack, thus I set my Blu-ray player to PCM output), the thrilling launch sequence with James Horner’s rousing score was a joy to listen to, even if the virtual surround effects I gave me did not blow away.

The Saturn V’s engine roar was deep but not boomy, and like the Empire, I never had trouble hearing dialogue. I was particularly struck by the beautiful, ethereal music as the weightless astronauts removed their gloves and helmets just after launch. Simply amazing.

Back in Dolby Atmos with my UHD of Blade Runner 2049, I dialed in the scene when Kay’s spinner is shot by scavengers on the ground. The pitter-patter of rain on the spinner’s windshield is catnip for Atmos altitude cues, but the Smart Soundbar 900 had little impact, as did the whiz of incoming fire

When K’s disabled spinner hit the ground, the crunch of rocks and debris felt detailed and full, but again the soundstage felt focused on the screen rather than enveloping the room.

Musically, the opening title sequence sounded great, decent if not room-shaking bass. The Atmos and surround signals were somewhat subdued on those zooming title cards, but the “whoosh” never sounded hissy or jarring, a problem with many other all-in-one Atmos soundbars I’ve tested.

For music, I started with Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Zod” on Spotify, and while the track’s soundstage felt a bit cramped, I loved the timbre of Boss’s voice and the subtlety of his harmonica; The recording felt thrillingly alive.

For “Oxytocin,” the Smart Soundbar 900 delivered Billie Eilish’s breathy, seductive vocals with finesse, though the drivers labored a bit with the big bass line. Vlado Perlmutter’s performance of Ravel’s solo piano feels atmospheric and subtle rather than smooth for the Nimbus, while Chet Baker’s “Solar” could be the ideal demo track for the soundbar, with great presence and pop.


Silky, musical soundHeight and surround cues are quite subtle
Dolby Atmos supportReflective glass top
Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant
AirPlay 2 and Chromecast
Room correction

Leave a Comment