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I Reviewed a Bose Smart Soundbar, Here Is What You Need to Know

Sonos Beam vs Bose Soundbar 300

I Reviewed a Bose Smart Soundbar, Here Is What You Need to Know

Key Points

  • The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a great option for those looking for a soundbar with a sharp design, outstanding Dolby Atmos sound, and voice commands.
  • Often discounted on Amazon, the Bose soundbar is a fantastic value when its price drops to around $600.
  • Bose’s Voice4Video technology allows for control of not just the soundbar, but also the TV and cable, with the help of Amazon Alexa.
  • The setup process for the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is painless, with a quick guide and the Bose Music app to assist.

As someone who really doesn’t love built-in TV speakers, a soundbar is an absolute necessity in my home. This is true in my office where I play games and watch shows after everyone is asleep, or in the family room where the big TV lives. No matter what, having a soundbar like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is an immediate boost to everything that comes out of a television. Even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade sounds better with a Bose soundbar. 

With its sharp design, outstanding Dolby Atmos sound, and voice commands, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a great option. Even though no soundbar is perfect, especially the beloved Sonos Arc, Bose offers just enough to make sure sound is felt all over a room. 

Let’s dive even deeper into my thoughts on the Bose Smart Soundbar 900. I’ll do my absolute best to try and help you determine if it’s the soundbar you should buy today. 

Best for Gaming
Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Dolby Atmos with Alexa Built-In
$749.00
  • Features two up-firing speakers
  • Sharp looking hardware
  • Improves next-gen gaming audio in a big way
  • Dolby Atmos soundbar
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 05:45 am GMT

What’s Special About the Bose Smart Soundbar 900? 

Pricing

At the Bose Smart Soundbar 900’s regular price of $899, it’s a tough sell compared to many of its competitors. Thankfully, Amazon regularly discounts the Bose closer to $600 and, at this price point, it’s a fantastic value. As I shopped around looking for soundbars to pick up and review, I happened to hit upon the Bose while it was discounted, which I was thrilled about. 

Generally speaking, both the black and white color editions go on sale together, though the black tends to sell faster. Personally, I like how the white stands out so I went with this model just to add a little something extra to the decor in my home. 

Design

If Sonos is regularly considered the best-looking brand for soundbars, it’s Bose that is a close second. I really love the eye-catching white color as it stands out in a sea of boring black soundbars. Technically, it’s an “arctic white” color, so it’s not a true white, but it still blends in a little better than a brighter white.

At 41 inches in length, there is no question this soundbar is going to stand out. Honestly, I am okay with that. I really want it to be a conversation piece because that’s what the sound deserves. However, what really captured my attention was the combination of metal, glass, and plastic. When I think of the Bose brand name, I expect a classy style from the days when I used to see Bose products inside Sharper Image at the mall. 

Thankfully, the combination of these materials is subtle enough to not stand out but classy enough to justify Bose’s price point. Rest assured I feel like you are going to get what you pay for. 

Sonos arc soundbar speaker
The design of the Sonos Arc is one of the biggest areas Bose needs to compete in order to gain new customers.

Voice Commands

One area where Bose pays a lot of attention is its Voice4Video technology. Labeling it as a Bose “exclusive” technology, it wants you to know this tech can help not just control your soundbar, but also your TV and cable. This is a pretty tall order as many soundbars highlight Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. In the case of the Bose 900, it has added both of those assistants here as well. Anyone buying this soundbar should be impressed by how well it works thanks to noise-rejecting microphones. 

However, the real emphasis is on Bose’s own voice control service. Taking full advantage of Amazon Alexa, Bose utilizes it as a background service to quickly jump to your favorite channel. You just have to ask Alexa. So, it’s a bit of a roundabout way of Bose claiming its own thing but also using Alexa to help make it function well. Regardless of how Bose markets this feature, it works really well. There is just something fun about making a call from your Bose soundbar by asking Alexa. 

Setup

When it comes to the setup process, I found the Bose 900 to be especially painless. What I quickly discovered is that a quick guide is available to help you connect your TV to the soundbar. Everything starts with plugging an HDMI cable from the soundbar to the eARC/ARC HDMI input on your TV. After this step, download the Bose app on your smartphone and it will walk you through the remaining steps. 

The Bose Music app even helps you set up Wi-Fi and calibrate audio performance based on the size of your room. This step was one of the biggest highlights for me as I tested out the Bose 900. I also liked how the Bose app offered at least a few different EQ adjustments to bass and treble, though I really have no idea how to make appropriate adjustments here. 

Bose does include an app for some basic functions, but if you have the app downloaded, it’s really not something you should plan to frequently use. 

Does the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Actually Work? 

It goes without saying there are a lot of soundbars out there that work well. The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is no exception. When it comes to sound, Bose delivers and then some. I made full use of the Bose bass levels and there was no question it created a virtual surround sound system. Watching Baby Driver and making full use of Dolby Atmos support comes together so, so well. I was super impressed by how good this movie sounded

I even jumped over to Star Wars: The Force Awakens for another go at a movie I know can deliver a big sound. As soon as the Star Wars crawl begins at the start of the movie, you feel the bass thumping in your chest. It’s just that good.

Quick caveat here as I am by no means a soundbar expert. With these movies, I don’t have a ton to compare to and I specifically have never tested a Sonos Arc. However, what I can objectively say is that the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 made everything I listened to sound better. 

Soundbar in a modern home. Listening to music and watching movies
Adding any soundbar to your home is going to give you an immediate increase in sound quality.

How the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Compares to the Sonos Arc

Best Smart Soundbar
Sonos Arc Soundbar
$799.00
  • Includes support for Alexa voice commands, AirPlay 2, and more
  • 3D sound with Dolby Atmos
  • Trueplay tuning technology produces sound optimized for your room's acoustics
  • Eleven high performance drivers
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 05:40 am GMT

Certainly, the biggest competitor to the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is the Sonos Arc. Look, the reality here is that this is completely subjective as to which one is better. You can look at technical specifications on paper, but they won’t change how soundbars sound to different people. In this case, the Sonos Arc is widely considered one of the best soundbars around. While I don’t have the right firsthand experience, I have talked to many Arc owners and they praise sound quality. 

The biggest challenge here is that at full price both the Bose and the Sonos are $899. The Bose receives more discounts through Amazon, so you are more likely to find it at a lower price point. Price aside, both soundbars offer Dolby Atmos sound, voice commands, a sharp design, and complete audio immersion. The Sonos has an edge in setup, which is true over all other soundbar brands. The Bose and Sonos both tie when it comes to daisy chaining with same-name products to create a broader multi-room sound. 

At the end of the day, the Sonos Arc is the biggest competitor to Bose as I can tell. The answer to which one is better, for me, is the Bose. I get the better voice command feature, a lower price point, and the Bose name. 

Where I Would Improve the Bose Smart Soundbar 900

As good as I have found the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 so far, it’s not perfect. Something I would have liked to have seen is more than one HDMI connection. Many Bose competitors like Samsung and Sony add more than one HDMI input, so this was a curious omission on Bose’s part. 

Another concern is that for older TV owners, Dolby Atmos isn’t going to be much help. You need a television that supports Dolby Digital Plus in order to take advantage of Dolby at all. If you don’t, the Bose is still a good soundbar, but you may want to look at alternative soundbar options. 

If you want the best sound, you do need an HDMI eARC input available. Not using this port won’t make dramatic differences in sound to most people, but it’s understandably noticeable to audiophiles. Another curious idea to me was Bose’s reliance on promoting voice command services. I am not someone who regularly uses voice commands, I just don’t see this as a huge bonus. I’d rather see a bigger emphasis on adding more features to the smartphone app rather than additional voice command features. 

Is the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Worth It? 

The question of whether the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is worth it is unequivocally, yes. If you have the opportunity to grab it on sale, it’s a double yes. There is no question in my mind that Bose delivers a bigger sound than any television speaker. The bottom line is that everything you watch or listen to will sound better. Between the improved bass, Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound, and its sleek design, the Bose is a great soundbar. 

I especially like that the Bose can be placed directly below a TV in an entertainment center or mounted below a TV on the wall. If you are on the hunt for a new soundbar and willing to spend a little more, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 will not disappoint.

  1. Bose Smart Soundbar 900 Dolby Atmos with Alexa Built-In
    $749.00
    • Features two up-firing speakers
    • Sharp looking hardware
    • Improves next-gen gaming audio in a big way
    • Dolby Atmos soundbar
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/23/2024 05:45 am GMT
  2. Sonos Arc Soundbar
    $799.00
    • Includes support for Alexa voice commands, AirPlay 2, and more
    • 3D sound with Dolby Atmos
    • Trueplay tuning technology produces sound optimized for your room's acoustics
    • Eleven high performance drivers
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/23/2024 05:40 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one reason to pick up the Bose Smart Soundbar 900?

The number one reason to pick up the Bose soundbar is its booming sound with great bass delivery. 

How often does the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 go on sale?

According to CamelCamelCamel, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is regularly discounted throughout the year. 

Does the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 come with a remote?

Bose does include a fairly basic remote with the Smart Soundbar 900. 

Does the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 include support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi?

The Bose absolutely includes support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and wireless streaming. 

How long should it take to set up the Bose Smart Soundbar 900?

Even for non-technical folks, you should be able to set up the Bose within five minutes. 

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