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Bose Home Speaker 500 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 03, 2021 at 09:13 am
Bose Home Speaker 500 Picture
7.3
Music
7.1
Videos/Movies
6.6
Podcasts
9.1
Voice Assistant
5.6
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
No

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a wired-only speaker designed for home use. It has Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistants built-in, and it can hear you clearly even if you aren't close to it or are in a noisy environment. Out-of-the-box, it has a fairly neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, and it also has bass and treble adjustment features in its app to help you customize its sound.

Our Verdict

7.3 Music

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is satisfactory for music. This speaker has a fairly neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, with a balanced mid-range that reproduces clear vocals and lead instruments, though they can sound a bit dull. It also lacks a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you love bass-heavy genres like EDM. Fortunately, there are bass and treble adjustments in the Bose Music app to help you adjust its sound more to your liking.

Pros
  • Amazing soundstage performance.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.1 Videos/Movies

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is decent for videos and movies. Thanks to its 360-degree design, it has an open soundstage that can immerse you in your audio from all angles. It has a balanced mid-range that reproduces dialogue clearly, though it may also sound a bit dark. Unfortunately, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't really feel the deep rumbles in action-packed scenes. Also, while it gets loud, there's some compression when you play it at max volume.

Pros
  • Amazing soundstage performance.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.6 Podcasts

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is okay for podcasts. Its balanced mid-range reproduces clear and accurate dialogue, though it may sound a bit dull or veiled due to the underemphasized treble. However, there are bass and treble adjustments in the Bose Music app to help you tweak its sound. While it gets pretty loud, unfortunately, there's some compression present when you play it at max volume.

Pros
  • Amazing soundstage performance.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • No multi-device pairing.
9.1 Voice Assistant

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is incredible for voice assistant support. It has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, which you can activate using your voice. It can hear you clearly even if you're in a noisy setting or far away. You can also mute the microphone, which is handy.

Pros
  • Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Excellent far-field performance.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
5.6 Outdoors

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is wired-only, so it isn't really suitable for outdoor use.

  • 7.3 Music
  • 7.1 Videos/Movies
  • 6.6 Podcasts
  • 9.1 Voice Assistant
  • 5.6 Outdoors
  1. Updated Mar 03, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Feb 26, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Bose 500 is a wired-only speaker that's meant to sit vertically. It has a very similar design to the Bose Home Speaker 300, but it's a bit bigger, and it comes with a display screen on the front. The display shows the time as well as information about the music you're listening to. It comes in two different color variants.

4.3
Design
Portability
Volume
226 inยณ (3,702 cmยณ)
Weight
4.9 lbs (2.2 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
No

This speaker isn't very portable. It's wired-only, so you have to keep it plugged into a power source for it to work. It's also a bit bigger than the Bose Home Speaker 300, so you may not be able to carry it with one hand.

6.7
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The Bose Home Speaker 500 has a fair build quality. It has an aluminum body with a grille to help protect the drivers, as well as a plastic top with tactile buttons. There's also a color LED screen on the front. Overall, its build feels solid and durable. However, it doesn't have any advertised rating for water resistance, so you should be careful if you plan to use it near water.

8.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
Yes
Microphone On/Off
Yes (Tactile)
Additional Controls
Yes

The Bose 500's controls are great. There are tactile buttons to help you adjust the volume and play/pause your audio. You can also press the AUX button to activate the input once a device is plugged into the speaker. Pressing the play/pause button twice skips ahead to the next track, and pressing it three times skips back to the previous track. There's also a 'Voice Action' button to activate the voice assistant, a Bluetooth pairing button, and six preset buttons that you can program using the app. The mic mute button stays red when it's turned on, which is handy. The color LED screen also displays volume adjustments, pairing information, and information about the track you're listening to.

Design
In The Box

  • Bose Speaker 500
  • Power cable
  • User manual

Sound
6.9
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.62
Std. Err.
3.50 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.0 kHz

The Bose 500 has fair frequency response accuracy. It has a fairly neutral sound profile, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly and accurately. However, they may also sound a bit dark due to the underemphasized treble range. This speaker also struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. However, there are bass and treble adjustment features in the app to help you customize its sound more to your liking. If you're looking for a speaker with a more extended low-bass, consider the Denon Home 350.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
8.7
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
2.41 dB
Stereo
Yes

The Bose Home Speaker 500 has an amazing soundstage performance. This stereo speaker has impressive directivity thanks to its 360-degree design, resulting in an open, spacious soundstage. For a speaker with an even better soundstage performance, check out the Sony SRS-RA3000.

7.2
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
90.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.19 dB

The Bose 500 Speaker has decent dynamics. It gets pretty loud, so it's suitable for using your speaker in a large room or at a crowded party. However, there's some compression present when you play it at max volume, especially in the bass range. If you're looking for a home speaker with a better dynamics performance, check out the Yamaha MusicCast 50.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery

This wired-only speaker doesn't have a battery.

10
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
Built-in (Wi-Fi Only)
Google Assistant
Built-in (Wi-Fi Only)
Siri
No
Voice Activation
Yes
Microphone Mute
Yes
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Excellent

The Bose Home Speaker 500 has an exceptional voice assistant performance. It has built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant, which you can activate using your voice. However, using Alexa only, you can directly make commands to other Bose smart products, Amazon Echo products, or anyone in your contacts list. The speaker can hear you clearly even if you aren't very close to it, or if you're in a noisy setting. You can also mute the microphone if you don't want it to hear you.

7.7
Active Features
App
App Name
Bose Music
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The Bose Music app is good. Though it doesn't have a full graphic EQ like the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM, there are bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound more to your liking. You can also use the app to pair it with other Bose Home Speakers to play audio across different rooms in your house or at a crowded party.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

This speaker has an AUX port so you can wire your smartphone to the speaker. There's also a micro USB port on the bottom, but it's just for servicing the speaker.

8.1
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
57 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
88 ms
Bluetooth Range
195.2 ft (59.5 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

The Bose Home Speaker 500 has great Bluetooth connectivity. While it doesn't support multi-device pairing, it has low latency with both Android and iOS devices, making it suitable for watching videos and movies. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

8.1
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Unspecified
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
45 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This speaker is Wi-Fi compatible and it supports Apple AirPlay. It has low latency via AirPlay, making it suitable for watching videos. However, it doesn't support Google Chromecast.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose Home Speaker 500 comes in 'Triple Black' and 'Luxe Silver' color variants. We tested the 'Luxe Silver' variant, but we expect the other color variants to perform similarly. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a wired-only speaker for home with built-in Google Assistant and Alexa capabilities. It has a similar design to the Bose Home Speaker 300, but it's a bit larger and comes with an LED screen on its front. It offers an outstanding voice assistant performance, and it's also compatible with the Bose Music app, which has bass and treble adjustments for sound customization. See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best home speakers, and the best speakers for iPhone and iPod.

Google Home Max

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Google Home Max. The Bose is better-built and it has a better soundstage performance. Also, its voice assistant does a better job understanding you when you're in a noisy environment. However, the Google has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box.

Sonos One Gen 2

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Sonos One Gen 2. The Bose has a better soundstage performance, and it gets louder with less compression at max volume. It also supports Bluetooth, and its voice assistant performs better in noisy environments. However, the Sonos comes with the Trueplay tuning feature, and it can also be paired with a Sonos soundbar.

Sonos Five

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a slightly better speaker than the Sonos Five, though they have different strengths. The Bose offers exceptional voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, and does an excellent job of hearing you when you're far away and in noisier environments. It also has fewer compression artifacts at max volume, and has a wider sounding soundstage than that of the Sonos, thanks to its 360-degree design. However, with its Trueplay feature turned on, the Sonos has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a thumpier and punchier bass than that of the Bose. 

Apple HomePod

The Apple HomePod and the Bose Home Speaker 500 are very similarly-performing speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Apple has a better soundstage performance and a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. However, the Bose offers bass and treble adjustment features and a mic mute button. It also supports Bluetooth, while the Apple only supports Wi-Fi.

Amazon Echo Studio

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Amazon Echo Studio. The Bose is better-built and it has a better soundstage performance. It supports Apple AirPlay, and it has lower latency when paired with iOS and Android devices over Bluetooth. Also, its voice assistant does a better job understanding you in noisy settings. However, the Amazon gets louder with less compression at max volume.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Bose Portable Smart Speaker overall, though they have different strengths. The Home Speaker 500 can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It can get louder with less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. That said, the Smart Speaker is battery-powered, and much more portable than the Home Speaker 500. It also offers a slightly better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box.

Yamaha MusicCast 50

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a slightly better speaker than the Yamaha MusicCast 50. The Bose offers a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage, so your audio sounds clean from most angles. It also has Google Assistant and Alexa built-in and does an excellent job of understanding your commands from far and in noisier environments. However, the Yahama has can get louder than the Bose, with less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio during louder listening sessions. It's also more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured in its companion app.

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is a slightly better speaker than the Bose Home Speaker 500 overall. The Sonos has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than that of the Bose. It's also battery-powered, making it easier to take outdoors with you. Additionally, it's better-built with an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. That said, the Bose offers a wider-sounding soundstage thanks to its 360-degree design, and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono which is more immersive. 

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II overall, though they have different strengths. The Home Speaker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It can get louder than the Revolve+ II with less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio during louder listening sessions. It also offers incredible voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, and can understand your commands from far and in noisy environments. Its companion app even features bass and treble adjustments to tweak its sound. That said, the Revolve+ II is battery-powered, and has a built-in carrying handle making it more portable. 

JBL Charge 5

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5 overall, though they have different strengths. The Bose can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and has better directivity resulting in a wider and more immersive-sounding soundstage. Its companion app features bass and treble adjustments you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It also offers incredible voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. That said, the JBL is battery-powered, making it easier to take with you when you're on the move. It can also be paired to up to two devices at once, so you can easily switch between audio sources. 

Bose Home Speaker 300

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Bose Home Speaker 300. The 500 is better-built, and it supports stereo content. Its LED screen displays the time and information about the track you're listening to. Also, it gets louder, though both speakers have some compression when you play them at max volume. However, some users may prefer the 300's slightly smaller size.

Denon Home 350

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker for most uses than the Denon Home 350. The Bose has better controls, a more immersive soundstage and it has outstanding built-in Alexa and Google Assistant support. It also has lower iOS and Android latency via Bluetooth. However, the Denon can get louder and you can connect two units to create a stereo pair. It can also reproduce more low-bass, which some users may prefer.

Sony SRS-RA3000

The Bose Home Speaker 500 and the Sony SRS-RA3000 are similar speakers with different strengths. While the Bose has outstanding voice assistant performance, and a better selection of controls, the Sony has a remarkable soundstage that can be perceived as spacious and open. Its companion app also features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to customize its sound to your liking.

Sony SRS-RA5000

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony SRS-RA5000. The Bose offers outstanding voice assistant support, with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. It also has a slightly wider-sounding soundstage and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, the RA5000 supports Sony's 360 Reality Audio surround format and has an 'Immersive Audio Enhancement' feature you can use to create a virtual soundstage, though we don't test these features. Its companion app also features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

Klipsch The Three II

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Klipsch The Three II overall. The Bose has better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. It offers outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and can understand your commands from far and in noisy environments. It also has a better-balanced sound profile and comes with bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound to your liking. That said, the Klipsch can get louder than the Bose.

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