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Bose Solo Soundbar Series II Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Review updated Jul 19, 2023 at 12:47 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Jul 19, 2023 at 12:47 pm
Bose Solo Soundbar Series II Picture

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is a budget-friendly 2.0 setup released in 2021. It's a newer alternative to the Bose Solo 5 with a similar offering of features. Its small, compact design is ideal if you don't have a lot of space in your setup. While it's a solid upgrade over your existing TV speakers, it lacks lots of features compared with Bose's pricier options, so you don't find many sound enhancement tools to customize its sound or HDMI support to control the bar with your TV remote. It pales compared to flashy Dolby Atmos bars with many features, but it's a fine choice if you want something simple.

Our Verdict

N/A Mixed Usage

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is acceptable for mixed usage. It's a simple 2.0 bar best suited for stereo content, including most music and TV shows. Its neutral sound means that most voices and lead instruments reproduce with clarity. However, like most small standalone bars, there's a noticeable lack of low-bass, so you don't feel the rumble in bass-heavy music or movies. Its 2.0 setup doesn't allow you to take advantage of more immersive audio formats, either. You have a few tools, like a bass adjustment feature, to customize its sound a little, but otherwise, this simple bar is quite limited in its offerings.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
Cons
  • Few customization tools.
  • No Dolby Atmos support.
N/A Dialogue/TV Shows

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is fair for dialogue-heavy TV shows and podcasts. Though it lacks a discrete center channel, you won't have issues following the conversation in your TV shows. There's even a dialogue enhancement mode to improve vocal clarity, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, sound enhancement features are otherwise limited, so you don't have an auto-volume feature to balance the volume between different programs and commercials, for example.

Pros
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
  • Dialogue enhancement tool.
Cons
  • Few customization tools.
  • No Wi-Fi, Chromecast, or Apple AirPlay support.
N/A Music

The Bose Solo Soundbar II is fair for music. Out-of-the-box, it reproduces vocals and lead instruments with clarity and accuracy, making it suitable for listening to many genres. However, like most small bars, it can't reproduce the deep rumble in the low-bass found with bass-centric genres like EDM and hip-hop. You won't find many sound customization tools besides its bass adjustment feature.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Few customization tools.
N/A Movies

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is disappointing for movies. It's a 2.0 bar, so you can't take advantage of more immersive audio formats found on most streaming platforms and Blu-rays. For example, there's no Dolby Atmos support. While it can playback 5.1 Dolby Digital content, it has to downmix it into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. You don't feel the rumble in the bass during action-packed scenes, either.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature.
  • Dialogue enhancement tool.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No Dolby Atmos support.
  • No discrete surrounds.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated Jul 19, 2023: Updated text for clarity. No change in test results.
  2. Updated Jun 02, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Updated the results for audio format support via ARC/eARC, HDMI In, and Optical. Added Video Passthrough to TV results as well.
  3. Updated Mar 08, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  4. Updated Mar 06, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  5. Updated Aug 01, 2022: Review published.
  6. Updated Jul 27, 2022: Early access published.
  7. Updated Jul 20, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  8. Updated Jul 15, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  9. Updated Jun 30, 2022: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

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Black Solo Soundbar Series II
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Black Solo Soundbar Series II
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Black Solo Soundbar Series II
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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This soundbar is available in 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version of this soundbar, let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is very similar to the 2019 Bose Solo 5. Both are 2.0 bars with limited features designed to enhance stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows. Their sound is quite similar, and while voices and lead instruments are clear, you miss out on the rumbling low-bass found in bass-heavy music and movies. It's a solid upgrade over your TV speakers at a budget-friendly price and a simple-to-use bar overall.

See also our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best standalone soundbars, and the best Bose soundbars.

Bose Solo 5

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II and the Bose Solo 5 are almost identical soundbars. Both have 2.0 setups, and their frequency responses are very similar, so you don't hear much difference in their sound. They offer the same sound enhancement features, too. Their design is slightly different, and the Series II's remote looks sleeker.

Bose TV Speaker

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II and the Bose TV Speaker are similar 2.0 soundbars. The TV Speaker is better overall, as it comes with a couple of extra features. It's better-built and has an HDMI ARC port, so it supports HDMI CEC to let you control the bar's basic features with your TV remote. Its stereo soundstage is better, too. These features may not be worth the value for some, and the Series II is a more affordable alternative.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is better than the Bose Solo Soundbar Series II. They're both small standalone soundbars with solid performances, but the Sonos has a better sound. It's better-built, with a more neutral sound out-of-the-box. Its soundstage is also much wider, so you feel more immersed in your audio. There's a discrete center channel to improve vocal clarity, and more sound enhancement features to help you customize its sound.

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is better than the Bose Solo Soundbar Series II. The 300 is a 3.0 setup, meaning it has a discrete center to improve vocal reproduction. It's better built, with more wireless playback options as well as an HDMI port for CEC support. Unlike the Solo, you can control its basic features with your TV remote as a result.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is a simple bar with a rectangular shape. It's mostly plastic, with metal grilles around the front and the sides. The port for the integrated subwoofer is in the rear.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked
Enclosure
Locked

The sub is embedded into the bar itself. You can see the port on the back of the bar.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
Locked
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

It's a small, compact bar that fits between the legs of a 55-inch TV stand. It's not very tall, so it doesn't obscure your TV screen.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Locked
Bar Brackets Included
Locked
Mountable Satellites
Locked
Satellite Brackets Included
Locked

You can mount the bar to the wall using the included brackets.

N/A
Design
Build Quality

The soundbar has a good build quality. It's made of similar materials as the Bose Solo 5, with good-quality plastic that feels solid and durable. The metal grilles on the front and sides help protect the drivers inside.

Design
In The Box

  • Manuals
  • Wall bracket (two pieces)
  • Mounting screws
  • Remote
  • Power adapter (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Power cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Optical cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
2.0
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II has a decent stereo frequency response. Its sound is quite balanced, especially in the mids, where most vocals and lead instruments reproduce. These instruments are clear and detailed in the mix as a result, making the soundbar suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. If you love bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop, you may want to avoid this bar. Like most small standalone offerings, it doesn't reproduce a lot of low-bass, even with its integrated sub, so you don't feel much thump or rumble.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Locked
Suggested Bass Setting
Lock
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

There's a bass adjustment feature on hand to help you customize the bar's sound. If you prefer a neutral sound with stereo content, we recommend using the bar with its default settings.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

The stereo soundstage is passable. It's perceived to be a little wider than the bar itself, but given the bar's small size, that isn't much. Its focus isn't very good, either, so sound effects like instruments don't seem to come from specific locations in the soundstage.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
Lock dB

This bar has fair stereo dynamics. Like most small bars, it gets loud enough to fill an average living room with sound. However, it's not loud enough for larger or more open spaces. There's some compression when you push it to max volume, too, which impacts the clarity of audio reproduction.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II has a decent stereo THD performance. There's little distortion at a normal listening volume, so audio reproduction is clean and pure. While there's a small jump at max volume, this is pretty normal, and distortion remains hard to hear. Even astute audiophiles won't notice much distortion at loud volumes.

N/A
Sound
Center
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is a 2.0 bar with no discrete center channel. Instead, it simulates a phantom center using its left and right stereo channels. The result isn't quite as clear as what you get with a discrete center, but still, you don't have any issues hearing dialogue in your audio. With its balanced frequency response, voices are clear and detailed in the mix.

N/A
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock
7.1 Rears
Locked

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II is a 2.0 bar. That means it has to downmix 5.1 surround sound content like Dolby Digital into stereo to play it. Unfortunately, it won't sound as clear or real as what you get with a bar with discrete surrounds. Audio sounds like it's coming from a speaker placed in front of you, and it doesn't seem like sound effects stretch around you. The sound is also a bit muddy and excited due to the excess bass and treble, which affects the clarity of sound effects.

N/A
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Locked
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
N/A
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Locked
Dialogue Enhancement
Locked
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Locked
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Locked
Bass Adjustment
Locked
Treble Adjustment
Locked
EQ
Locked
Surround Level Adjustment
Locked
Rear Level Adjustment
Locked
Height Level Adjustment
Locked
Virtual Surround
Locked

The Bose Solo Soundbar Series II doesn't have a lot of sound enhancement features available. Much like the Bose Solo 5, you only have a bass adjustment feature on the remote to adjust its sound. There's also a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices more clear and crisp, which you can also find on the remote. Even for a budget bar, it's pretty barebones though, and you don't have much ability to control its sound.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
Locked
HDMI Out
Locked
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
Locked
Full HDMI In
Locked
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
Locked
RCA In
Locked
USB for Files
Locked
Ethernet
Locked
Subwoofer Output
Locked

You can connect the bar to your TV over Optical, and there's an Optical cable included in the box to make it easy to link these devices. There's also a Coaxial In port for connecting to older devices. Still, you won't find any HDMI ports, which is disappointing if you want to use HDMI CEC to control the bar with your TV remote.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
PCM Channels
Locked
N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
PCM Channels
Locked
N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Locked
DTS
Locked
PCM Channels
Locked

This soundbar supports Dolby Digital, which is the most commonly-used surround sound format found on many different streaming platforms. Still, since it's a 2.0 bar, it downmixes it into stereo to play it.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Bose Solo Soundbar Series II Latency Video Sample
ARC
N/A
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

This soundbar has a fantastic latency performance. With its low latency, the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see, and there are no issues with lip-synching. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, though.

N/A
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Locked
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Locked
4k Max Refresh Rate
Locked
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Locked
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Locked
8k Max Refresh Rate
Locked
HDR10 Passthrough
Locked
HDR10+ Passthrough
Locked
Dolby Vision Passthrough
Locked
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
Locked
FreeSync Passthrough
Locked
G-SYNC Passthrough
Locked
ALLM Passthrough
Locked

Since there's no HDMI In port, you can't use the bar for video passthrough.

N/A
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Locked
Wi-Fi Playback
Locked
Chromecast built-in
Locked
Apple AirPlay
Locked
Spotify Connect
Locked

It's easy to stream audio wirelessly from your mobile devices via Bluetooth.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

This soundbar doesn't have a display, but some lights on the left side of the bar change colors based on the settings you use. For example, it shows when the power's on, when audio is muted, and whether or not dialogue mode is on. You can find a full listing in the bar's manual.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There aren't any controls on the bar itself, so you must use the remote to adjust its features.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is the only tool to control the bar's features, as this soundbar doesn't have a companion app. It lets you power the bar on/off, change the input, adjust the volume, and mute the bar. Also, you can activate dialogue mode and adjust the bass. The Bluetooth button lets you connect to a mobile device, too.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Locked
Google Assistant
Locked
Apple Siri
Locked
Microphone Mute
Locked

The bar doesn't support voice assistants, even when you connect it to a third-party voice assistant-enabled device like an Amazon Echo.