- The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 has weak bass output.
- Treble frequencies can sound harsh and brittle.
- It lacks HDMI inputs and only has an HDMI eARC output.
- The smart speaker functions only work with Alexa.
- There are limited in-app music services to choose from.
Are you looking for reasons to avoid a Bose Smart Soundbar 600? Bose’s mid-range soundbar is one of the most affordable avenues to get high-fidelity Dolby Atmos sound for your favorite shows and movies. That said, there are some rather glaring flaws with the device that might give any potential consumer pause. Before you spend money, make sure to read up and see why you might want to skip a purchase.
What Is the Bose Smart Soundbar 600?
Bose’s Smart Soundbar 600 is a mid-range soundbar meant for Dolby Atmos listening. It has a retail price of $499, making it one of the more affordable ways to get spatial audio listening. You get plenty of control of spatial sound with Bose’s TrueSpace technology, which can help fill a room with sound. The soundbar is also voice-activated, working like a high-end smart speaker for media playback.
|Bose Smart Soundbar 600
|Two for voice control
|Optical Audio, HDMI eARC, Subwoofer, USB service, Rear Firing Speakers
Reason #1: The Bass Output Is Weak
Bass will always be lacking in a compact soundbar like the Smart Soundbar 600. If you’re expecting to have that low rumble from Atmos-compatible films or enjoy listening to music, it will definitely be noticed. As such, it makes for a solid soundbar for films and shows, but you’ll want a subwoofer.
The weaker bass output is one of the largest reasons to avoid a Bose Smart Soundbar 600. You can certainly augment its playback capabilities. However, to get anything approaching a reasonable bass response from the device, you’ll have to push the volume quite high. That introduces other issues with the treble frequencies, sadly.
Reason #2: Treble Frequencies Can Sound Harsh
To go along with the weaker bass response, treble frequencies can sound quite harsh and brittle. This is especially noticeable at higher volumes, where audio compression starts to occur, and artifacts and distortion can be heard at the higher end of the frequency spectrum.
- Features two upward-firing transducers
- Bose TrueSpace technology analyzes signals other than Dolby Atmos, like stereo or 5.1, and upmixes them
- 5 speakers (including 2 upward-firing)
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Chromecast built-in compatibility
- Includes remote control and the Bose Music app
You could certainly run an equalizer of some sort on your streaming device or music player to combat this, but nothing is going to fully erase the issues. The speaker itself shines at around the midpoint for volume.
Still, if you’re looking for solid audio at high volume, this might be another one of the reasons to avoid a Bose Smart Soundbar 600. Users can compensate for the weaker bass with the purchase of a subwoofer. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tidy and easy solution for the harshness of the treble frequencies at higher volumes.
Reason #3: It Lacks HDMI Inputs
There isn’t a ton of connectivity at play with the Smart Soundbar 600. Bose has an HDMI eARC output on the rear of the device, but no inputs. Your primary input is going to be an optical audio port, which doesn’t really have the bandwidth to support lossless audio in an Atmos format.
HDMI does support the higher throughput needed for lossless audio in Atmos. While the capabilities of the speaker on a playback side don’t really change, the odds are heavily stacked against it when it comes to lossless playback using Atmos.
Reason #4: The Smart Speaker Only Works with Alexa
One of the biggest features touted with the Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is the smart functionality. Unfortunately, if you were looking for a little customization, you’d be left sorely wanting. The smart speaker functionality of the Bose soundbar only works with Amazon’s Alexa.
As such, if you’re well-versed in the Amazon ecosystem, you’re fine. However, users who are familiar with Samsung, Google, or Apple digital assistants will be left in the cold. This is a strange omission, but it isn’t one of the biggest reasons to avoid a Bose Smart Soundbar 600.
Reason #5: You Have Limited In-App Music Services
All of the administration of the Smart Soundbar 600 is done entirely through the Bose app. This is a supremely easy-to-use app and one that you’ll be growing quite accustomed to when purchasing it. Bose’s app is robust in terms of functionality, but somewhat lacking in terms of music services available for the soundbar.
As such, the biggest recommendation is to use the Bluetooth functionality of the device to play your chosen music. This isn’t an ideal solution, but it is workable. Realistically, this isn’t one of the reasons to avoid a Bose Smart Soundbar 600. However, when placed together with the other flaws, it can be the final straw for some users.
Alternatives to the Bose Smart Soundbar 600
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
- 3D surround sound with Dolby Atmos
- Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant
- Smart Trueplay tuning
- Easily expandable system
The second-generation Sonos Beam is arguably the most compelling alternative to the Bose Smart Soundbar 600. The Sonos soundbar retains the compact size and affordability of the previous generation but has a definitive boost in terms of overall sound clarity.
The Beam doesn’t do Atmos quite as convincingly as the Smart Soundbar 600. However, it does come with Ethernet and HDMI connectivity, giving it a bit of an edge over Bose’s offering. All said, this is one of the best soundbars you can get on the market today. The Sonos Beam is a fine soundbar but lacks crucial support for Android users. The TruePlay app used for configuration is only usable on iOS.
Polk Audio Signa S4
The Polk Audio Signa S4 can be found for around $100 less at retail when compared directly to the Bose soundbar. While it is cheaper, there are some trade-offs, as you can imagine. The soundbar has limited configuration settings, meaning most of the deeper tweaking will need to take place elsewhere. It does lack some responsiveness with the overhead audio, which will be felt in better Atmos mixes.
Bass response is better overall, thanks to the inclusion of a subwoofer. It is Atmos-compatible, meaning you’ve got a certain degree of flexibility with the detached rear-firing speakers and sub. If you can live with the limited audio settings, this is a great soundbar for general use. However, you’ll be relying on wired connections to get full use out of the soundbar, as it lacks Wi-Fi capabilities.
VIZIO M-Series 5.1.2
Vizio’s M-Series 5.1.2 is a mouthful to say out loud but is one of the more compelling soundbars on the market. Like the Smart Soundbar 600, it is prepped for Dolby Atmos playback. The device itself comes with a pair of rear speakers, a subwoofer, and the main unit itself.
There are some trade-offs with this one, as well; namely, you’ll have to do some cable management for the rear speakers. If that seems reasonable, then you’ve got a great Atmos soundbar with superb bass response and volume handling at higher levels.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is a great soundbar for most users. However, for those looking to eke every bit of performance out of their home audio, it can be a bit lacking. The overall lack of bass at low to medium volume and the audible distortion on the treble frequencies when pushing the volume do hinder the device quite a bit. That said, make sure you demo your chosen soundbar before purchasing.
|Reasons to Avoid a Bose Smart Soundbar 600
|1. It has weak bass output.
|2. Treble frequencies can sound harsh and brittle.
|3. It has no HDMI inputs, only an HDMI eARC output
|4. Smart speaker functions only work with Alexa
|5. There are limited in-app music services to choose from.
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