Remember the first-ever soundbar. It had a single speaker that gave users probably the best sound right-out-of-the box in its price range. With time and experimentation, they have made endless attempts at emulating home theatres. There are 5.1.4 and such odd configurations, which forces users to make space for the hardware, which was not how it was supposed to pan out.
The Bose Soundbar 700 is a return of sorts to the original soundbar formula, a single slab of well-made hardware that doesn’t push people to accommodate it. At $800, it is nowhere as cheap and has a lot of competition, with other OEMs going all guns blazing.
There are several weird omissions too, which can and will make you question the price tag. But if you can get past them, is the performance worth the price tag alone? We will find out for you.
This is our Bose Soundbar 700 review.
List of specifications
|Product Dimensions||2.25 x 38.5 x 4.25 inches|
|Amplifier output||Not specified by the manufacturer|
|Wireless Audio Protocol||Bluetooth 4.2
|Audio Decoding Codecs||Dolby Digital
|Subwoofer Type||Optional wireless|
|Connectivity||1 x HDMI eARC with CEC
1 x optical TOSLINK
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm IR (control)
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm (data)
1 x Micro-USB Type-B (service)
1 x RJ45 Ethernet (LAN)
- Premium glass-metal build
- Side speakers help in creating a wider soundstage
- Optional upgrades available
- No Full HDMI In ports is questionable for the price
- Not enough bass without the optional subwoofer
- AC power cord
- 4 “AA” batteries
- Remote control
- Quick start guide
- Bose ADAPTiQ headset for room calibration
- HDMI cable
- Safety instructions
- Optical digital cable
- Cleaning cloth
Design and build
When it comes to a soundbar design recipe, you can either create one that disappears in the background or something that steals the limelight altogether. The Bose Soundbar 700 (in white, especially) cannot be hidden even if you try your best.
The bar is 2.25 x 38.5 x 4.25 inches, which makes it reasonably wide for any TV below 50 inches. But it is not very high, allowing you to accommodate it below your television without being intrusive. Bose also packs in an optional wall-mount bracket for $40, if that’s the way you choose to display it.
Talking of the build, it is a mix of glass and metal, which makes it look premium and robust at the same time. Bose ships the soundbar 700 in two classic colors – black or white. It is your choice if you want to take a subtle way or choose flair.
Being glass, it is a fingerprint magnet and gets so full of smudges more often than not. The front left corner houses a touch-sensitive area, which lets you mute the built-in mic. There is a microfiber cloth to maintain the sheen of the glass in the package, which is a nice nifty inclusion. Bose also allows users to add a wireless subwoofer to the mix, though we miss it not being in the vanilla variant.
Overall, the Bose Soundbar 700 has an excellent build quality, which feels robust and premium. The addition of glass makes the overall package more enticing until it is covered with fingerprints.
The Bose Soundbar 700 comes with two touch-sensitive buttons, an ‘Action Button’ and another to manage the microphone. The bar supports virtual assistants, and users can activate the same using the Action Button. It can also be useful in muting timers and alarms. If you don’t want them to trigger automatically, you can use the other button to disable it altogether.
The Bose Soundbar 700 doesn’t have a display to boast about but has a set of lights that behave in a particular pattern. Even though it can be confusing to new users, the manual can help you understand its modus operandi.
Also present is a rubberized universal remote, which is unattractive and bulky. It goes against the rest of the package, but has all the options to manage other household devices. We are used to seeing small remotes with soundbars, and it is nowhere as close.
The bar also supports HDMI CEC and Power Saving options. The latter enables it to go on standby after 20 minutes of inactivity whereas the former lets your basic IR remotes to control the device’s essential features, such as power and volume.
The front and the sides of Bose 700 are clean, and it houses the physical connectivity options in two recessed areas on its underside. Even though it has a decent range of connectivity options, one weird and kind-of unacceptable omission is the missing Full HDMI In port. Getting past that, it has an optical port, HDMI ARC, and an Ethernet for wired connectivity. For wireless, you get support for Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay 2.
Also present is an IR input that can help you manage the device with a transmitter. The lack of Full HDMI In means that you cannot use it as a hub. Even the Analog Audio In is missing, which makes it incompatible with older devices.
A BASS port is present to let the users connect to an external subwoofer and an ADAPTiQ port to ensure better room calibration. Bose also ships the device with a DATA port to help with the regular updates.
If we speak of the audio codecs, there is support for Dolby Digital and DTS. The eARC port ensures that it can play them, but the 3.0Ch configuration results in downmixing. There is no Dolby Atmos or DTS:X on board, and we aren’t sure if someone who is paying so much will be happy about that. There is no 4K Passthrough support either.
Apart from the manual controls and CEC, the Bose Soundbar 700 also supports the in-house Bose Music app available on both iOS and Android platforms. The application is appropriate in itself, but cannot replace the physical remote because of limited toggles.
Till now, the Bose Soundbar 700 hasn’t been able to justify its price tag. Let us see if it shines in the performance department.
There are no satellite speakers, and even the usually available subwoofer is an optional attachment (which further bumps up the cost).
The bar is decent for mixed usage. Its overall sound is quite neutral and well-balanced, making it appropriate for a broad content gamut. It is a 3.0Ch configuration and there are two side-firing speakers, which gives an impression of the soundstage being more extensive than the bar’s length.
It can get loud enough (even though the brand doesn’t disclose the actual output level). The presence of a dedicated center channel makes it an excellent choice for dialogue-based content and podcasts. The default setup lacks bass, and it results in a below-par movie-watching experience. The sound hits the walls and reaches the user, giving a false impression of surround sound, but the imaging is not accurate.
Thankfully, we didn’t notice too much distortion even at higher volume levels. Combined with the excellent audio reproduction, it has the perfect recipe to enthrall the crowd in a large room.
There are no height channels in the package, which further worsens the surround-sound impact.
When it comes to sound enhancement features, there are a lot of them here. It bags all of it from the Bose Soundbar 500, which is not necessarily bad. There is room correction, dialog enhancement, bass, and treble enhancement features available. It uses the unique ADAPTiQ headset to apply sound correction, which we haven’t seen elsewhere. There are presets handy to tweak the overall output, but it lacks graphic EQ present in many of its competitors.
It is excellent that Bose thought of upgradability as a vital feature of the Soundbar 700, but the bar itself is no less when compared to its competitors. let us see how it fares –
Without the added accessories, the Bose Soundbar 700 had a tough time competing with the Samsung HW-Q90R. The latter is louder, has Atmos built-in, and reproduces bass better. There are more connectivity options onboard, and the inclusion of Full HDMI In makes it more versatile.
The Bose bar has a better overall build and has a great soundstage. It is upgradable, which should significantly boost the output.
The Sonos Arc is a direct competition to the Bose Soundbar 700. The most significant advantage that it has is the presence of Dolby Atmos, making the overall experience fuller and more immersive. The Bose bar steers ahead in terms of imaging and offers a better stereo experience. It doesn’t compress much and holds its own at peak volumes, which we cannot say about Sonos Arc.
Both are upgradable, but the glass-metal build ensures that Bose Soundbar looks better too.
With a dedicated center channel and two side-speakers, the Bose Soundbar 700 is an enticing option for people who prefer only the bar and nothing else. It is easily upgradeable, allowing users to enhance the experience with added equipment.
Even without those, it has a well-balanced overall sound, thereby catering to most genres efficiently. The lack of ample bass and the missing Dolby Atmos could have made the deal sweeter, though.
Here is the product link on Bestbuy.com to know more about the Bose Soundbar 700.