Bose Soundbar 700 Review, Price and Specification

The Bose Soundbar 700 is one of the premium sound bars that’s compatible with small TVs, but it lacks some of the more important features for its price. We had high expectations for this Bose Soundbar 700 review. Bose has a reputation for getting big sound from small boxes. At least on paper, it should be perfectly positioned to deliver some of the best soundbars out there.

Bose Soundbar 700 Review, Price and Specification

While all the other companies go big for their high-end models, this Bose delivers on the little box/big sound promise in spades, getting a lot more volume from its attractive compact form than you might reasonably expect.

It also looks smart, so it certainly seems like the thing to pair with the best TVs if you’re not planning on getting a huge set, but still hope your gadgets come with a premium finish – which all small and not cheap soundbars do.

However, the Bose Soundbar 700 lacks a few key features and in doing so falls victim to some strong competition, leaving it as a good, but not really great option.

Bose Soundbar 700 Features and Price

Bose is usually at the premium end of any audio product group it decides to venture into – and so it proves with the Bose Soundbar 700. At an official price of £799/$799/AU$1,199 for a one-body soundbar (meaning it ships with no external subwoofer or rear speakers), its price closely aligns with the Sonos Arc. To save on your order, it’s worth checking out our Bose discount codes.

The Soundbar 700 enjoys some truly premium features for a premium price. Especially great is its Adaptive Auto Calibration system. It lets you sit in the five most-used seating positions in your room with a little headset.

While the soundbar outputs multiple test sounds so it can optimize its sound for your room’s layout. It really makes a difference in sound effects and dynamics, so definitely take the time to run the routine.

There are other premium set-up and everyday use features as well, which I’ll discuss further in the Design and Usability section a little further down. The Bose Soundbar 700’s connections, though, aren’t as high-quality as I’d like.

Particularly unfortunate is the presence of only one HDMI, meaning you can only feed audio via HDMI from TVs with ARC/eARC HDMI outputs. You can’t route audio and video through the soundbar.
Because using it as a convenient switchbox Other connections include, thankfully, an optical audio input, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, complete with AirPlay 2.

It’s also a shame the Bose Soundbar 700 doesn’t have any support for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X object-based sound formats. I guess Bose could argue that such support isn’t necessary in a soundbar that doesn’t carry an up-firing driver, and ships without an included rear or subwoofer.

However, you can add optional external wireless bass and surround sound speakers to the Bose Soundbar 700 (although if you do, the price will more than double). Also, many other soundbars now – including some very cheap models compared to the Bose Soundbar 700, such as the Sony HT-G700 – use clever acoustic processing to try to give some sort of Dolby Atmos or DTS:X effect and do it well.

A final disappointment is that the Bose Soundbar 700 doesn’t carry nearly as many drivers as some of its similarly priced rivals. Just four, in fact, all located behind the center of the soundbar’s grilled front. The Sonos Arc, by comparison, has 11.

Although, they are custom-designed to maintain transparency from within a slim profile. And crucially, they’re backed up by innovative Phase Guide technology.

Where small transducers in two extended zones direct beams of sound to either side of the main driver, pushing the sound beyond the speaker’s physical confines in multiple directions. The rear ports, meanwhile, use a resistive screening design to create cleaner bass.

Body and Design

The Bose Soundbar 700 has a suitably premium look and feel. It’s solid and heavy enough to point to a well-made interior. Its tempered glass top edge looks cool and there are a few touch-response buttons on the front left corner.

Rounded corners and a wraparound grill soften the impact it has on your living room – as does its attractively small size. At 978x57x108mm (38.5×2.25×4.25 inches), it’s about the same width as a 43-inch TV.

Which is incredibly small for a high-end soundbar. The Sonos Arc, by comparison, is as wide as a 55-inch TV, so Bose carves a niche for itself with its compact nature.

Its setup is made pretty straightforward by the Bose Music app, available for iOS and Android. When you first fire up Bose Music and plug in the speaker, the app guides you through everything from adding your subscription music service and connecting the speaker to your Wi-Fi network to setting up Alexa or Google Assistant voice control.

Another premium touch is the Bose Soundbar 700’s remote. It’s unusually large, nice to hold thanks to its rubberized finish, and best of all, backlit, so you can still find the buttons you want in a dark room.

In fact, thanks to a built-in motion sensor, the backlight turns on as soon as you pick up the remote; You don’t even have to find a primary button to press. Button backlighting is even relevant, so that only the buttons useful for your particular set-up are illuminated.

One disappointment on the usability front is the soundbar’s lack of an LED display that helps you keep track of inputs, volume levels, and more.

There’s some compensation for this, though, in the form of a clever bright stripe running up the left side that lets you know when the soundbar is responding to your button presses or voice commands.

Sound Performance

The Bose Soundbar 700 manages to avoid distortions of all such confusing conditions, as much as possible, while still being able to go much louder, as you would on a smaller plane.

Trebles only sound harsh or sharp at all under absolute extreme pressure. And well-formed bodywork will never ring, no matter how hard it tries.

After that, the Bose Soundbar 700 projects to sound impressive outside of its tiny bodywork. There’s enough left and right dispersion to spread across even a large living room wall, creating a sense of cinematic scale beyond what any TV’s built-in speakers can do.

Even the Soundbar 700’s audio has a slight sense of excitement, despite its slender bodywork and lack of upfiring speakers. This slight verticality is especially useful for helping the conversation sound like it’s coming from the screen instead of the speakers.

The way the sound system is designed, with its four forward-facing drivers and ‘phaseguide’ multidirectional beam elements, means that despite wide dispersion, vocals still sound clear and locked to the heart of the soundbar’s sound. There is no unwanted voice channel ‘leakage’ in the wide soundstage.

The soundstage doesn’t always feel fully integrated, though. With film soundtracks, the placement of effects can feel a little fuzzy and the sense of space can sometimes become a bit muddy and one-dimensional, especially at the extreme left and right ends of the soundstage.

The Soundbar 700’s acoustic design can also cause some problems with music. Lead vocals sound good – clean, dynamic and clear. There’s also a strong sense of stereo separation and surprisingly.

I felt that the sound with music seemed freer from the limitations of the 700’s bodywork compared to larger movie mixes. But to my ears, some elements of the rich musical mix sometimes lacked a little definition, clarity and balance.

The Soundbar 700 lacks a bit of bite and attack, even with big movie soundtracks. For example, compared to some other high-end soundbars, the big boom effect may be lacking partly. Because the bass lacks range (without adding the optional sub, anyway) and vibrancy to deliver sudden hard hits, and partly because drivers can’t find enough extra gear to stretch and swell such powerful moments.

Thicker soundtracks at high volumes can start to sound a bit muddy, with the bass becoming a bit soupy. And finally, after getting used to premium soundbars like the Sonos Arc or the Samsung HW-Q950T offering precise and clearly defined height channel effects, the Soundbar 700’s much more generalized and limited verticality feels limited for its money.

Conclusion

There are many things we like about the Bose Soundbar 700. It’s a beautiful design, and pulls off that classic Bose trick of serving up much bigger sound – both in volume and soundstage size – than you’d think possible from this type.A small product. It also has some nice setup features.

As a single-box speaker, it lacks the raw power that a model with a subwoofer can give you, though you won’t mind. More importantly, though, it lacks the dynamic punch of the Sonos Arc.
HDMI throughput and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X decoding are disappointing in a soundbar that costs this much.

Finally, while it’s nice that you can optionally add an extra sub and rear speakers to the Bose Soundbar 700, these extras are extremely expensive – you’ll pay around £2,000/$2,000.

The price is actually similar to Sonos’ equivalent add-ons for the Arc, but compared to the Samsung HW-Q950T’s package which offers four boxes for around £1,200/$1,200, it’s steep. Bose doesn’t perform badly. It’s true that there are many options that perform better for the price.

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