Bose Smart Soundbar 300 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Oct 23, 2020 at 08:34 am
Bose Smart Soundbar 300 Picture
6.8
Mixed Usage
7.3
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.3
Music
6.2
Movies
Channels
3.0

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a small 3.0 setup from 2020. It has an excited v-shaped sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio content. While it lacks thump and rumble in its low-bass, there's a bass adjustment feature to help tweak its sound to your liking. However, there's no EQ or room correction feature, which is a little disappointing. The bar also doesn't support Atmos. On the upside, this setup can be expanded down the line as the manufacturer sells a bass module subwoofer and satellites separately.

Our Verdict

6.8 Mixed Usage

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is decent for mixed use. This bar has an excited v-shaped sound profile that's suitable for rock or pop music. While it lacks low-bass, which can affect the immersiveness of sound effects in movies, there's a bass adjustment feature to help tweak its sound. If you prefer vocal-centric content, it can produce clear and accurate dialogue. Unfortunately, the bar doesn't support Atmos.

Pros
  • Outstanding wireless connectivity options.
  • Bass adjustment feature available.
  • Can get loud with minimal compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No EQ or room correction.
  • Lacks low bass.
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
7.3 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is good for dialogue and TV shows. It produces clear and accurate dialogue, thanks to its decently balanced mid-range and dedicated center channel. There's a dialogue enhancement feature available via its companion app to further improve vocal clarity. You can also stream your favorite podcasts or audiobooks to the bar using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Apple AirPlay 2.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature available.
  • Outstanding wireless connectivity options.
Cons
  • No EQ or room correction.
7.3 Music

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is decent for music. It has an excited v-shaped sound profile that's well-suited for pop or rock genres. However, it lacks quite a bit of low bass. While it doesn't come with an EQ, it has a bass adjustment feature so that you can tweak its sound a bit. The bar can also get loud with minimal thumping and compression artifacts. You can also stream your favorite music using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Apple AirPlay 2.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature available.
  • Can get loud with minimal compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No EQ or room correction.
  • Lacks low bass.
6.2 Movies

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is acceptable for movies. It doesn't support Atmos and although it has an excited v-shaped sound profile, it lacks a thumpy low bass, which impacts the immersiveness of sound effects. There's no EQ either, which is a little disappointing. Luckily, you can adjust the bass. It can also get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature available.
  • Can get loud with minimal compression artifacts.
Cons
  • No EQ or room correction.
  • Lacks low bass.
  • Doesn't support Atmos.
  • 6.8 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.3 Music
  • 6.2 Movies
  1. Updated Feb 24, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Jan 13, 2021: Due to a change in our methodology, we updated DTS and DD+ support via ARC to 'No'.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a 3.0 setup from Bose's 2020 lineup. It's a small model that can be expanded down the line. Unlike the Bose TV Speaker, which is also from the same 2020 lineup, you can connect to the bar using Apple AirPlay 2 and use the Bose Music companion app with it. It also has a Wall EQ setting that's advertised to improve the bar's sound when wall-mounted. Its main competitors are the Bose Soundbar 500, the Bose Soundbar 700, and the Sonos Beam.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a small model with a black plastic top. It has a metal grille that covers its front and sides to help protect its speakers.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

This soundbar doesn't have a subwoofer in this setup. However, you can purchase the Bose Bass Module 500 separately, which is a small subwoofer that connects wirelessly to the bar.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't have any satellites. However, you can purchase Bose Surround Speakers separately, which wirelessly connect to the bar.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 27.4" (69.5 cm)
Height 2.2" (5.6 cm)
Depth 4.1" (10.5 cm)

While it's not as small as the Bose TV Speaker, this bar can easily fit between the legs of a 55" TV. It's not very tall either, so it shouldn't obscure your TV unless the screen sits flush to the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A

There's no subwoofer in this setup.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Proprietary

The back of this soundbar has one opening for the power cable and inputs. There are also holes so that you can mount it to your wall. However, you need to purchase a Bose Soundbar Wall Bracket to wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
No Subwoofer

There's no subwoofer in the Bose Smart Soundbar 300's base setup.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No

There are no satellites in this setup.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has a great build quality. It's partially made of plastic, which feels sturdy and durable. There's also a metal grille covering its front and sides to protect its speakers.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Manual
  • Optical cable
  • Remote with battery
  • Power cable

Sound
7.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
No Preset
Slope
-0.25
Std. Err.
3.34 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
54.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has a decent stereo frequency response. While it really lacks a thumpy low-bass, it's still able to produce punch and boom. Since it has a v-shaped sound profile overall, its mid-range is well-balanced while its treble range is bright, making it especially well-suited for rock and pop music. It's still balanced enough for most audio content though. It doesn't have any EQ presets; however, it does have bass and treble adjustments.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
No Preset
Suggested Bass Setting
-30
Suggested Treble Setting
-20
Slope
-0.21
Std. Err.
2.31 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.6 kHz
7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
1.95 dB

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300's stereo soundstage is good. The soundstage is wider than the bar itself, which is impressive for its small size. However, it doesn't have the best focus, so objects sound like they're coming from diffused or more general areas rather than accurate, pinpoint locations.

7.6
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
93.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.03 dB

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300's stereo dynamics are good. The bar can get loud, making it suitable for a large or crowded room. However, there's a little bit of thumping and compression artifacts, particularly in the bass range. It shouldn't be too noticeable to most users, though.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.36
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.19

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has a great THD performance. At a normal listening volume, the THD falls within good limits. If you push this bar to its max volume, there's a small jump in THD, particularly in the high-mids, but it can be hard to hear with real-life content.

8.3
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.19
Std. Err.
3.27 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
93.3 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.40
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.15

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has an excellent center channel performance. Since it has a dedicated center channel, it reproduces clearer and more accurate dialogue. It should also be loud enough for most uses.

3.9
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-0.97
Std. Err.
3.62 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
88.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.70
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.72
7.1 Rears
No

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has a poor surrounds performance. Since it's a 3.0 setup, it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't result in the most accurate or clear representation of objects in the surround image. The result is a bass-heavy sound that isn't very immersive as objects are perceived as coming from in front of you rather than from beside or around you.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't support Atmos.

2.6
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
No
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has poor sound enhancement features. It doesn't have an EQ or room correction features. On the upside, you can tweak its bass, treble, and center channel levels. There's also a dialogue mode that's available via its app as well as a 'Wall EQ' which is advertised to help improve the bar's sound when wall-mounted. However, we don't currently test this feature. For a small bar with more sound enhancement features, check out the Samsung HW-S60A.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has a couple of physical inputs. There's an HDMI ARC port so that you can connect it to your TV. While there's a micro-USB port, it's only for servicing the bar. This bar also has an IR port so that you can connect an IR emitter as well as a BASS port so that you can add-on a Bose Bass module.

6.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

Update 01/13/2021: We re-evaluated our methodology for ARC support and concluded that DTS and Dolby Digital+ support should be reported the same over an ARC connection as over an HDMI IN and Optical connection, so we updated our results from "Yes" to "No". Some TVs, like the one we initially used for testing, may convert this content, but other TV brands may not. Ultimately, your experience may vary depending on your TV.

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has mediocre audio format support via its HDMI ARC port. It supports some very common formats such as Dolby Digital, but it has to downmix this content into stereo to play it. It doesn't support eARC or Dolby Atmos.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

Unlike the Denon Home Sound Bar 550, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 doesn't have a Full HDMI In port.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

This soundbar only supports Dolby Digital via its Optical In port. This format is commonly found on Blu-ray discs as well as streaming platforms.

8.5
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
47 ms
Optical
45 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
Yes

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has outstanding wireless playback support. You can stream your favorite podcasts from your smartphone via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Apple AirPlay 2.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No

This bar doesn't have an HDMI In port, so it won't be able to do video passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No

There are no satellites in this setup.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 has a simple interface. There's a small light under the microphone icon to let you know whether the microphone and voice assistant is enabled or disabled. There's another light underneath the 'Active' button. This light changes colors depending on the bar's functions, including whether you're in setup mode, recovery mode, or if there's no internet connection available.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This bar has two touch-sensitive buttons located on the top left of the bar. There's a button to turn the microphone on/off, and an 'Action' button that activates voice assistant, as well as stops alarms or timers.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

This soundbar has a straightforward remote. You can control most of the bar's features but if you want to use the dialogue enhancement feature, Wall EQ, or bass adjustment, you need to use its companion app.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Yes (Built-in)
Google Assistant
Yes (Built-in)
Apple Siri
No
Additional Features
App
App Name Bose Music
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts As A Remote
Yes
Controls Soundbar's Settings
All
Casts Device Files
Yes

This soundbar is compatible with the Bose Music app. It offers a bit more functionality than the remote as you can access a few features that aren't found on the remote. You can set up voice assistant, adjust bass, switch sources, and even access a dialogue mode.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

This soundbar goes into standby mode after 20 minutes of inactivity. You can turn this feature off by using the app or wake up the bar by sending a sound signal via its Optical In port. You can also use your TV remote to control the basic functions of the bar.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 comes in one color variant: Black. You can see its label here. If you come across another Bose Smart Soundbar 300 that's different from our test model, please let us know and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a 3.0 setup from this manufacturer's 2020 lineup. This small soundbar can be expanded down the line with a separate bass module and satellites. Unfortunately, unlike the Bose Soundbar 500, it doesn't have any EQ presets. If you're looking for more soundbars, check out our recommendations for the best Bose soundbars, the best small soundbars, and the best soundbars for dialogue.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The Sonos has a more balanced sound profile and comes with a room correction feature as well as an auto-volume feature. However, the Bose is smaller, it can support more audio formats via its HDMI ARC port, and it has more wireless playback options. 

Bose Soundbar 500

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a better 3.0 setup than the Bose Soundbar 500. The 300 is smaller and able to deliver a better-balanced sound profile. It can get louder with fewer compression artifacts, and it supports more audio formats via its HDMI ARC port. However, the 500's surround performance is better and offers room correction and EQ presets.

Bose TV Speaker

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is better for mixed use than the Bose TV Speaker. The 300 has a better center and surround performance. It also offers treble adjustment, as well as more wireless playback options like Apple AirPlay 2. It also connects to the Bose Music app that gives you a bit more functionality.

Bose Soundbar 700

The Bose Soundbar 700 is a better soundbar than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The 700 feels better built, it supports eARC, and it has room correction as well as EQ presets. It can also get louder with fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, and it has a better surround performance.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The Sonos is a 5.0.2 setup with a more extended bass and more sound enhancement features. It also has better surround and soundstage performances, and it supports Dolby Atmos content. It can even be upgraded as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. However, the 3.0 Bose offers more wireless playback support.

Sony HT-X8500

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 or the Sony HT-X8500. The Bose is a 3.0 setup that's better-built and comes with built-in voice assistant support. It offers better soundstage and center channel performances, and it supports more wireless playback options. However, the Sony supports Dolby Atmos content, unlike the Bose. It also comes with a few more sound enhancement features, including auto-volume mode and EQ presets, and it has a Full HDMI In port.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a better soundbar than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The JBL is a 5.0 setup with a better surrounds performance and Atmos support. It comes with a room correction feature, EQ presets, and a Full HDMI In port, too. That said, the 3.0 Bose has a better soundstage performance.

Denon Home Sound Bar 550

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 or the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Bose is a 3.0 soundbar with a better soundstage performance and a discrete center channel. It gets louder than the Denon, too. However, the Denon supports Atmos content and comes with more sound enhancement features, including EQ presets and auto-volume mode. Also, it has a Full HDMI In port.

Samsung HW-S60A

The 5.0 Samsung HW-S60A is a better soundbar than the 3.0 Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The Samsung has two side-firing speakers, so it offers a better surrounds performance. Also, it comes with more sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ, presets, and an auto-volume mode.

Sonos Playbar

The Sonos Playbar and the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 are both 3.0 setups but the Bose is slightly better performing overall. The Bose has a better-balanced sound profile, more physical inputs including an HDMI ARC port, and it offers more wireless playback options. However, the Sonos has room correction as well as auto-volume/night more. It also has a better surround performance, even though it downmixes this content into stereo to play it.

+ Show more

Discussions