The Bose Solo 5 is a decent sounding soundbar when it comes to stereo content, but it won’t be great for a good surround sound experience. It has a fairly good and neutral audio reproduction, but this bar lacks quite a bit of bass, which can be partially explained by the fact that it’s missing a wireless subwoofer. This means it won’t be great for bass-heavy content. It also doesn’t support Atmos and height channels, which won’t be great for movies, and doesn’t even support DTS, which is quite common on Blu-ray discs. On the upside, this bar is well-built and will be a decent option for audio content like podcasts, audiobooks, and TV shows where dialogue is the most important factor.
The Bose Solo 5 is a budget 2016 standalone soundbar by Bose. It's a 2.0 channel bar that doesn't come bundled with a sub or satellites like the higher tier Bose Soundbar 500. It can also be wall-mounted unlike the Bose Solo 15, which is a pedestal speaker type that sits under your TV. The Solo 5's main competitors are the Vizio SB3821-C6 and the Yamaha YAS-1018.
The Bose Solo 5 is an all-black soundbar that looks very ordinary. It's made of solid plastic except for the metal grid that surrounds the front and the sides. There are no controls on the bar. Overall, it's very simple and doesn't feel premium. The subwoofer is embedded in the soundbar and the port is visible on the back.
There's no external subwoofer with this soundbar setup. The subwoofer is embedded in the soundbar.
The Bose Solo 5 is a fairly compact bar. It doesn’t cover the entire width of most TVs so most likely it'll fit nicely in front of the stand of your TV. Also, it's not very tall, so it shouldn't obstruct your view of the screen, unless your TV screen sits flush on your table, like in the case of the Sony A9G.
There's no subwoofer with this soundbar setup; the subwoofer is included in the bar.
This setup doesn't have satellites.
The back is very plain. On the right, you have a section for all the input ports and on the left the port of the built-in subwoofer. There are also two holes for wall-mounting, but if wall-mounted it could obstruct the subwoofer port.
The subwoofer in this setup is included in the bar. There's no separate subwoofer.
The Bose Solo 5 has a good build quality. It's made from solid plastic, aside from the metal grid that surrounds the bar on the sides and at the front. The subwoofer is embedded in the bar and its port is at the back. The entire build feels solid, although not too premium.
The Bose Solo 5 has a decent stereo frequency response, especially for its size, but it noticeably lacks bass. Its low-frequency extension is fairly high, which means this soundbar will have difficulty producing the low-end thump and punch of bass. On the upside, the rest of the response is well-balanced and vocals and instruments will be reproduced accurately. It has a fairly neutral sound profile, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have any features that let you modify the noise to your liking.
When listening to the Bose Solo 5, the soundstage is mediocre. The bar is very small and the soundstage size is about the width of the bar. On the upside, it's well-focused and sound isn't diffused, which is good because objects seem to be coming from a more accurate pinpoint location rather than from a general area.
The Bose Solo 5 can only get decently loud, which might be disappointing for some. It won’t do too well in large rooms or crowded environments. Also, when pushed to max volume, you get pumping and compression artifacts in the bass range, especially on bass-heavy content.
The THD performance is good. At a normal volume, it sounds clean and offers great fidelity of audio reproduction. Also, when pushing the bar to its maximum capacities, there's no big and noticeable jump in THD, which is good. However, there's a bit of audible bass port noise.
The Bose Solo 5 is a 2.0 soundbar setup that doesn’t have a dedicated center speaker. Its performance with a phantom center is still decent. The sound profile is still fairly neutral and accurate which won’t affect dialogue too much. It lacks a bit of bass, but this shouldn't matter too much since there usually isn't a lot of bass on center channels. However, it uses the left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which will sound more diffused and less clear compared to a discrete center. Note that when sending a 5.1 signal to the Bose Solo 5, it will downmix it to 2.0.
The Solo 5 performs poorly when sending surround content to the soundbar. Everything is downmixed to a stereo signal since this soundbar is a 2.0 setup and it uses the left and right speakers, which won’t do an accurate and clear representation of surround object. This means the result won't be very immersive and the objects will be perceived to come from the front instead of to your sides or behind you. The overall sound profile is hyped with excess in bass and treble, but the bar isn't able to get very loud.
This soundbar doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.
Unfortunately, the Bose Solo 5 is practically just a speaker that's plug-and-play, without any enhanced features to help you get a better overall performance. It mainly lacks Room Correction, meaning the soundbar sounds differently depending on your room. You can’t EQ it or even enhance the dialogue to make it clearer at low volumes. This soundbar is very barebones and doesn’t allow for much control or customization of its sound.
The Bose Solo 5 has a limited number of inputs so you must follow a very specific setup when connecting it to the rest of your devices. There's an Optical Audio In, which can be used for surround sound, and a Coaxial which can connect to older devices. There are no HDMI ports, but there's an Analog 3.5mm input where you can connect a mobile device or any other device that doesn't support Bluetooth. For a 2.0 system with more input options, check out the JBL Link Bar.
There's no HDMI ARC support on this soundbar.
There's no HDMI Input on this soundbar.
The Bose Solo 5 can decode Dolby Digital via its optical port but will downmix it to 2.0. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround content is very common in most streaming platforms and Blu-rays. The (not supported) DTS isn't widely common on its own; it's the fallback for the higher quality DTS-HD MA found on many Blu-ray discs.
The Bose Solo 5 allows you to play content wirelessly, only through Bluetooth. You can easily connect your smartphone or tablet for a great music experience, but you can’t connect to the network or cast to the soundbar from Chromecast built-in or AirPlay.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of Full HDMI In, you can't use this soundbar as a hub for your other devices.
The subwoofer in this setup is included in the bar. There's no separate subwoofer.
The interface of the soundbar is very simple. There are only two discrete LEDs behind the grill. One serves as status light that shows that the soundbar is working, and the other one is for the Bluetooth. The lights flash when there's a change in settings. There are no controls on the soundbar.
There are no controls on the bar. You can only control the soundbar through the remote.
The Bose Solo 5 comes with a very versatile, and very large remote control that can also act as a universal remote. You can only control the soundbar with the remote as there are no controls on the bar. Once you change the settings, a small led light behind the grill will flash to indicate the pressing of a button.
No app pairs with the Solo 5 soundbar.
There are no other features on this soundbar, except for a self-power off after 60 minutes of inactivity.
The Bose Solo 5 is an okay sounding soundbar. It's one of the smallest bars we've reviewed so far. It has a decent sounding audio reproduction, especially for its size. It won't get as loud as other soundbars and lacks bass as it doesn't have a subwoofer. See our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best small soundbars, and the best soundbars under $200.
The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The Beam has a 3.0 configuration with a dedicated center channel, which makes voices even clearer. The Beam gets louder and is also noticeably better built. Its soundstage is bigger and it has quite a lot of sound enhancement features, which the Solo 5 completely lacks. On the other hand, the Bose Solo 5 supports Bluetooth, while the Sonos believe in better performance over Wi-Fi.
The Bose Solo 5 and the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080 are very similar-sounding soundbars, but the ATS-1080 is slightly better. It gets louder and doesn't compress as much as the Solo 5. The ATS-1080 also has two built-in subwoofers. It has more connection options and has a dialog enhancement feature to make voices clearer. On the other hand, the Solo 5 is better-built and has a slightly better stereo frequency response, but most people won't notice the difference.
The Sony HT-S200F is slightly better than the Bose Solo 5. The Sony bar has a built-in subwoofer, but it doesn't give you that much more bass, unfortunately. The Sony can also get a bit louder and performs well at max volume, while the Bose compresses a bit in the bass range. The Sony offers a few sound enhancement features, which the Bose Solo 5 lacks completely.
The Bose Soundbar is slightly better than the Bose Solo 5. It's a 3.0 soundbar with a dedicated center channel, which makes dialog in movies clearer and easier to understand. It also has sound enhancement features like room correction, which the Solo 5 completely lacks. The Solo 5 has a slightly better stereo frequency response but overall, the Soundbar 500 will sound more natural due to the larger soundstage. The Bose 500 also has more inputs and supports DTS, on top of supporting eARC.
The Sonos Playbar is a better option than the Bose Solo 5. It has a dedicated center channel due to its 3.0 configuration, which results in better dialog performance. It can also get noticeably louder and is better built. The Playbar also has a room correction feature to optimize its audio reproduction. The soundstage of the Playbar is also wider. On the other hand, the Solo 5 supports Bluetooth, while the Sonos soundbar is only Wi-Fi compatible.
The Samsung HW-Q60R is a better soundbar system than the Bose Solo 5. It has a wireless subwoofer, a dedicated center channel, and side-firing speakers, while the Solo 5 is a simple 2.0 system. The Q60R gets loud, has more features, and overall sounds better. It also has tons of connection options the Solo 5 doesn't have and supports more audio formats. Other than price, there's no real reason to get the Solo 5 over the better performing Q60R.
The JBL Link is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The Solo 5 is rather straightforward, doesn't have many features, and is more of a plug-and-play type of soundbar. The JBL Link is also an Android TV Box and a Google Home speaker. Its stereo soundstage is also wider, and it has more inputs like full HDMI In ports and an HDMI ARC. It also supports wireless playback via Wi-Fi, on top of Bluetooth.
Okay for mixed usage. The Bose Solo 5 sounds decent, especially for its small size, but only with stereo content. It doesn’t get very loud and lacks quite a bit of bass too. It also lacks height channels and Atmos support, which makes it a sub-par option for movies. It also might not be the best option for bass-heavy music genres. On the upside, it has great mid and treble reproduction and will perform decently well for dialogue-oriented content like podcasts, audiobooks, and TV shows.
Decent for dialogue and TV shows. The Solo 5 has a good and neutral sounding sound profile, with accurate reproduction of vocals and dialogue-related frequencies. It doesn’t get very loud, but most people will find the bar to be loud enough for content like podcasts and audiobooks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a dialogue enhancement feature, but will still perform well for normal use.
Okay for music. This soundbar has a decent sound profile but noticeably lacks bass, which negatively impacts its performance with some bass-heavy music genres. The soundstage is also fairly disappointing due to the small size of the bar. You won’t be able to get the bar to be very loud, but it should be enough for casual listening sessions. It won’t be great for large rooms or crowded environments as at max volume, as the bar distorts and compresses bass quite a bit. On the upside, it’s easy to play content from your phone thanks to its Bluetooth compatibility.
Sub-par for movies. The sound profile is pretty good, but it's lacking sub-bass, which will affect movie scores quite a bit. This soundbar also lacks height channels and doesn’t support Atmos, which results in a less immersive experience than a high-end bar that offers it. The Solo 5 also has a mediocre soundstage due to its small size, but still sounds pretty decent with stereo content. Due to its configuration, all 5.1 surround content will be downmixed to 2.0. It also lacks support for DTS, even via optical cable, which is disappointing.