Bose vs. Bowers & Wilkins Soundbars: Which Are Better?

soundbar speakers

Bose vs. Bowers & Wilkins Soundbars: Which Are Better?

When creating a home entertainment environment, one of the most significant factors one considers is sound. Investing in other home entertainment systems like high-end TVs becomes more worthwhile with more than an adequate audio system. That is why many consumers opt to add soundbars to their home entertainment systems. Soundbars are incredible devices that produce high-quality sounds, primarily if you invest in one from a reputable brand. 

You likely have already come across a Bose or Bowers & Wilkins soundbar. Bose and Bowers & Wilkins are some of the most respected producers of audio accessories like speakers, amplifiers, and soundbars. Both brands have loyal customers who attest to their soundbars’ audio quality. However, that makes it challenging for many buyers to settle on one brand. 

With all that said, join us for an in-depth comparison of Bose and Bowers & Wilkins soundbars. Read on!

Bose vs. Bowers & Wilkins Soundbars: Side-by-Side Comparison

Bose SoundbarsBowers & Wilkins Soundbars
DesignModern and rectangular-shapedContemporary and circular-shaped
Sound QualityExcellent sound quality with decent bass and outstanding trebleGood quality sound with average bass and decent treble
ConnectivityBluetooth, HDMI, and Wi-FiBluetooth, HDMI, digital optical input
Smart FeaturesVoice command, smartphone appVoice command, smartphone app 
Virtual AssistantsGoogle Assistant, AlexaAlexa
SubwoofersPairs with Bose bass subwoofersPairs with Bowers & Wilkins bass subwoofers
Number of ModelsFiveThree
Immersive Sound
Bose Soundbar 500
  • Supports Dolby Digital, DTS
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Apple Airplay 2 compatible
  • Control with your voice, the Bose music app, or the included remote
  • Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant
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11/27/2023 05:01 am GMT
Effortless Connectivity
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3
  • Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD
  • HDMI eARC input
  • 24-bit hi-res quality
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth aptX Adaptive, and Spotify Connect
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11/26/2023 08:46 pm GMT

Bose vs. Bowers & Wilkins Soundbars: What’s the Difference?

Bose and Bowers & Wilkins often come to mind when thinking about the best audio peripherals manufacturers. Below is a breakdown of the differences between Bose and Bowers & Wilkins soundbars.

Brand Reputation and History

A brand’s reputation and history significantly contribute to attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. That is why makers of high-end audio devices like Bose and Bowers & Wilkins closely monitor their manufacturing process and how they advertise their businesses.

Bose is a Massachusetts-based audio device manufacturer primarily owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Amar Bose founded the company in 1964 with the help of funding from his thesis advisor Professor Y. W. Lee. By focusing on innovative ideas that tailored audio equipment to how people perceive sound, Bose built a loyal fanbase and a significant market share of the audio equipment industry. Today, Bose is one of the most popular audio device manufacturers, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue.

On the other hand, Bowers & Wilkins is a British audio equipment manufacturer founded by John Bowers in 1966. Today the company is a subsidiary of Masimo. Historically, unlike other companies in the industry, Bowers & Wilkins pours a considerable amount of its revenue into research and development projects, which have yielded several patents. 

As a result, the company has gained a reputation for building high-quality and high-end audio devices. This brand also rates favorably among audiophiles, unlike Bose, which they consider to have just above average sound quality for its prices. However, Bowers & Wilkins are relatively new to manufacturing soundbars, putting the company at a slight disadvantage over its rival.

Best Value
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System
  • With universal remote control
  • Black
  • Bluetooth
  • Control bass, TV, Bluetooth connections, and more
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11/27/2023 05:37 am GMT

Design and Build Quality

Bose soundbars have stylish and modern designs meant to blend into any environment, from minimalist to maximalist interior décor. The rectangular soundbars enable them to stand out in a minimalist space thanks to their crisp edges and corners. You will almost certainly notice the soundbar as soon as you walk into the living room. At the same time, their reasonable size allows them to fit into most spaces regardless of the interior design. For example, the soundbar can perfectly fit in the space below your TV.

On the other hand, Bowers & Wilkins soundbars tend to be more ornamental and attractive than Bose’s. The soundbar is cylindrical with a small flat middle section to allow placement on surfaces. The cylindrical shape is contemporary and avoids conforming to the rectangular shape adopted by its competitors.

We cannot fail to highlight the unique fabrics used on Bowers & Wilkins soundbars. A diamond-shaped honeycomb fabric is used to cover the soundbar and they have cylindrical metallic end caps on either side. Ultimately, the Bowers & Wilkins soundbar has a better design that avoids generic shapes and can act as its own art piece in a room.

Audio Quality

What is the point of spending several hundred dollars on a soundbar if it doesn’t amplify your audio experience? Buy a soundbar that allows you to feel the heft of sound produced by music, movies, or games. One of the best options is a Bose soundbar. Bose soundbars incorporate several audio technologies and powerful speakers to deliver high-quality sound.

Bose soundbars deliver well-balanced and immersive sounds thanks to their 5 or more channel speakers. The result is powerful bass and complementary treble sounds that amplify audio outputs. Bose soundbars also support Dolby Atmos, which creates 3D surround sound, thus contributing to an immersive sound experience.

We must also applaud Bose’s research and development efforts focused on achieving the best possible audio quality. The company has several proprietary in-house technologies like Bose TrueSpace, which, together with upward-firing transducers, deliver high-quality surround sound. TrueSpace also up-mixes non-Dolby Atmos sounds to multichannel sounds, creating enveloping sounds that draw your attention to the audio-visual experience. Other audio formats supported by Bose soundbars include Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD.

Bowers & Wilkins soundbars are less impressive than Bose soundbars regarding sound quality. Unlike Bose soundbars, which offer up to 5.1 channels, they are a three-channel system. Bowers & Wilkins soundbars deliver satisfactory sound quality; however, it differs from what one would expect from the company. The soundbars produce decent treble sounds and almost flat bass sounds. Bowers & Wilkins soundbars have somewhat subpar bass levels, preventing listeners from experiencing the full audio experience.

Another shortcoming of the Bowers & Wilkins soundbars is the missing HDMI ARC/eARC port in some models. For example, the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar lacks an HDMI port, meaning it cannot support lossless audio technologies like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus.

Crisp Dialogue
Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar
  • 3 channel soundbar
  • Crisp, clear dialogue fills the entire room
  • App and voice control available
  • Dolby Digital Audio supported
  • 96 kHz sound resolution
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11/26/2023 01:11 am GMT


Always account for device connectivity when shopping for a soundbar. Otherwise, you risk buying a soundbar that only connects to your TV, which would be a waste of money. A soundbar with limited connectivity options also prevents you from enjoying the full scope of your devices’ capabilities. 

In this case, Bose soundbars offer several connectivity options, including Bluetooth version 4.2 with a range of up to 30 feet. The Bluetooth feature is ideal for buyers with large houses and when hosting large gatherings outdoors. Bose soundbars also have an optical input, facilitating digital-to-analog (DAC) circuitry.

Moreover, Bose soundbars have an HDMI (eARC) enhanced Audio Return Channel port, allowing connections to multiple devices. This means you can connect your soundbar to your TV, receiver, and mixer. Lastly, their Wi-Fi feature supports several functions, like wireless music streaming, voice commands, and a USB port to enable service diagnostics.

On the other hand, Bowers & Wilkins soundbars have limited connectivity options despite their high price points. The company’s soundbars have an optical input port, an Ethernet port for physical internet connections, Wi-Fi for wireless connections, Bluetooth version 4.1, and a USB port for servicing.

Some Bowers & Wilkins soundbars lack an HDMI eARC port. The lack of HDMI eARC means the devices
don’t have automated lip-sync; therefore, users must fiddle with delay settings to ensure audio matches video. In addition, it means Bowers & Wilkins soundbars do not support multichannel lossless audio.

Overall, Bose soundbars offer more connectivity options than Bowers & Wilkins soundbars, making them the better choice for connecting to other devices.

Soundbars elevate your home audio experience, but be sure to get one with the features and specs you need.


Device Compatibility

Through Bose SimpleSync, Bose soundbars can pair up wirelessly with compatible Bose Smart speakers like the Bose portable smart speaker and Bose home speakers. The soundbars are also compatible with the Bose Music App. You can use the app to control streaming services and adjust the soundbar’s volume. Lastly, you can pair Bose soundbars with most TVs and smartphones, which is evidence of the company’s resolve to make its devices meet most users’ needs.

Like Bose soundbars, Bowers & Wilkins soundbars pair with Bowers & Wilkins subwoofers for upgraded sound, including improved bass, which, as noted earlier, is one of the limitations of Bowers & Wilkins subwoofers. Similarly, Bowers & Wilkins soundbars are compatible with the Bowers & Wilkins Music app. It allows soundbar owners to set up their devices, connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and access multiple streaming services and podcasts.

Regarding compatibility, both the Bose and Bowers & Wilkins soundbars are versatile. However, Bose soundbars have the upper hand in connecting to devices via HDMI.

Amazing Value
Bose Solo Soundbar Series II (Black)
  • Bluetooth connections for your music, podcasts, and more
  • Dialogue Mode allows for voice clarity
  • Compact, user-friendly soundbar
  • Better sound for your music, games, or movies
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11/27/2023 05:01 am GMT

Smart Technology

Bose soundbars have several in-built smart features to improve user experiences. They include Chromecast built-in to allow content streaming via smartphones and tablets, Apple Airplay to connect with Apple devices, and Spotify Connect, which allows Spotify content streaming via the Spotify app.

Bose soundbars also come in-built with voice assistants, namely Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You voice your command, and the soundbar does the rest. The device also has noise-rejecting microphones meaning it can capture your voice commands, even when playing loud music or videos. In addition, Bose added their proprietary Voice4Video feature, amplifying Alexa’s functionality. 

Like the Bose, Bowers & Wilkins soundbars have in-built Spotify Connect and Apple Airplay, though they do not have Chromecast. However, they support Roon, a music streaming and management software. Bowers & Wilkins built-in Amazon Alexa into its soundbars for voice control, but it did not include Google Assistant.

Overall, Bose soundbars offer more smart technologies to improve user experiences than Bowers & Wilkins soundbars as their limitations can inconvenience some customers. 

Bose vs. Bowers & Wilkins Soundbars: 8 Must-Know Facts

  • Amar Bose founded Bose in 1964 in Massachusetts, USA, while John Bowers founded Bowers & Wilkins in 1966 in Worthing, England.
  • Bowers & Wilkins soundbars do not come with remote controllers. Controls are only available on the Bowers & Wilkins Music app.
  • Most Bose soundbars have an infrared (IR) remote to control volume, Bluetooth connectivity, music, and play/pause functions.
  • Bose soundbars offer voice control functions through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, while Bowers & Wilkins only offer voice control through Amazon Alexa.
  • Depending on the model, Bose soundbars offer three- or five-channel speakers, while Bowers & Wilkins only offer three-channel speakers.
  • Both soundbar brands allow sound upgrading through their respective smart speaker options, like subwoofers.
  • Bowers & Wilkins soundbars are pricier than Bose soundbars.
  • Bose soundbars incorporate audio technologies like Dolby Atmos and Bose TrueSpace to create immersive audio.
Crystal Clear Audio
Bose Smart Soundbar 700
  • Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Deep bass
  • Bose Voice4Video Technology
  • Connectivity via Bluetooth connection, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, or Spotify Connect
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11/26/2023 07:40 am GMT
Effortless Connectivity
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3
  • Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD
  • HDMI eARC input
  • 24-bit hi-res quality
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth aptX Adaptive, and Spotify Connect
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11/26/2023 08:46 pm GMT

Bose vs. Bowers & Wilkins Soundbars: Which Are Better?

Bose and Bowers & Wilkins have stellar reputations as audio equipment manufacturers, resulting in a thin line between which is better than the other. However, when reviewing soundbars made by both companies, there is a clear distinction between their products.

Bose makes superior soundbars compared to Bowers & Wilkins because its soundbars’ audio performance delivers better bass depth and richer treble sounds. Moreover, Bose soundbars have better technology for enhanced audio performance and more connectivity options. 

Bowers & Wilkins is disadvantaged because the company is relatively new to producing soundbars. That means their products still have flaws, and that will take time to resolve before they can compete on a level playing field.

Ultimately, it is all about preference. Both companies have very loyal client bases willing to overlook certain flaws.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which company makes better speakers, Bowers & Wilkins or Bose?

Bowers & Wilkins makes speakers with better sound quality, especially for professional spaces like theatres and concert halls. In contrast, Bose speakers are more appropriate for the home setting.

What are the best audio equipment manufacturing companies?

The audio equipment manufacturing sector is very competitive, and some of the most notable companies include JBL, Klipsch, Sonos, Sony, Bose, Samsung, Bowers & Wilkins, and Sennheiser.

What is the average lifespan of a soundbar?

Most soundbars have an average lifespan of five to ten years, depending on build quality and how you use it.

Is it necessary for soundbars to have in-built subwoofers?

A high-quality soundbar does not need an in-built subwoofer as it consists of multiple speakers producing immersive sound. However, soundbars with a subwoofer will often generate better sound.

Can you connect a soundbar and speakers from opposing companies?

Connecting a soundbar from one brand to speakers from another is possible. However, you might experience a drop in sound quality because each company uses in-house technology to build hardware and software that may interfere with compatibility.

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