As a soundbar newbie, I was relatively sceptical about taking the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 for a spin. I already had a fairly decent TV (a 2017-era Samsung 4K TV) and I’d never really had any noticeable issues with sound quality. But then I hooked up the new soundbar, and I understood exactly what I’d been missing.
If you’ve never had a soundbar before and you don’t really want to spend more money on a “complete” entertainment set-up, the good news is they’re not necessary.
Modern TVs can produce crisp enough sound that you won’t strictly need to invest in an additional speaker. But if you’re looking to amplify your entertainment set-up and crank up the noise, you might want to consider adding in a speaker like the Bose Smart Soundbar 300.
While its $599 RRP might turn some off, its performance and sound quality provide plenty of reasons to invest.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300
WHAT IS IT?
The latest smart soundbar from Bose
Great, crisp sound quality and simple connectivity
Quick pricey, and the app integration is a nuisance
What’s good about it?
The best thing about the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 reveals itself the moment you take it out of the box: it’s incredibly easy to set up and use.
To hook it up to the TV, there’s a few options, including via an HDMI ARC cable (not included) or making use of your TV’s optical audio port (included). Once it’s hooked up to power and either connector is in it works right out of the gate, no fancy settings needed.
Once that’s done you can also use the device’s second most helpful feature: bluetooth. While its primary function is to jack up the boom on your TV entertainment, you can also use the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 as a regular speaker.
So if you’re streaming Spotify and you want to shake your whole house down, you can play it directly through the soundbar.
Regardless of what entertainment you choose to stream, this soundbar is more than capable of handling anything from dialogue to heavy rock.
Even at louder volumes, the sound remains crisp and clear — and the boomy rattle of the speaker serves to make explosions louder and more impactful.
It’s also very good at handling pop, rock and indie music. Individual instruments are extremely clean (as is speaker dialogue), and it’s particularly good at booming synthesiser-type music.
Lower bass notes and guitar riffs produce a satisfying boom in the soundbar and there’s minimal audio artifacting here. With the right tunes, you can easily transport yourself into a whole new fantasy soundscape.
It does lack boom for those deeper bass tones (and Bose sells seperate products to rectify this) but it isn’t a major problem, and most people won’t notice the issue.
The app also offers a range of settings to adjust the treble and bass on the soundbar if you need it. Personally, I felt the factory settings were perfect for my room set-up so after experimentation I left the default on.
But sadly despite the impressive quality, the soundbar does come with a few major caveats.
What’s not so good about it?
The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a directional speaker with a V-type sound spread, meaning you’ll need to be directly in the centre of the bar to get the best results.
Depending on your set-up, this may be difficult to angle because the speaker is quite chunky and may not fit underneath your TV.
My Samsung TV has two stands on either end, meaning the soundbar can’t neatly fit in this gap. Plus, my stand is quite small so the soundbar only just fits on top.
This is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but it is worth noting if you have a smaller set-up.
Another thing you may have trouble with is the app integration of the device. Out of the box, the soundbar works as it should. You’ll be able to use it as a bluetooth speaker or as a regular TV soundbar.
But if you want to unlock the rest of its features, including the ability to control the soundbar via Alexa or Google Assistant, you’ll need to use the Bose Music app.
And while the app itself is very straightforward and well-designed, it’s a pain in the arse to set-up and requires signing up to Bose Music and one (or both) of the smart assistants offered.
You don’t have to use the smart features of the devices (and personally, they weren’t useful for me so I was perfectly happy using the device via the included remote) but it does make the “smart” part of the set-up very cumbersome and difficult to navigate.
Once you’ve got the app fully set up, it’s easy to use — but getting there requires multiple painful log-ins and a fair amount of patience.
If you exit the app to check a password or anything of the kind, you also have to start the whole process again.
Consider whether you really need the smart features before you go through the motions.
Should you buy it?
For $599, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a fairly pricey device — but given its sound quality and the wonders it can do for your home entertainment set-up, it’s a worthy investment.
This soundbar absolutely rocks, and gives music and dialogue the extra, epic boom it needs.
With crisp sound and great clarity, it makes every piece of music and every errant sound more grand and imposing than the speakers you’ll find on your everyday TV. For most people, those TV speakers will be perfectly alright — but I don’t see myself going back after this.
This isn’t a product you really need, but it is one that’ll make your entertainment set-up that much better.
While there are cumbersome issues with setting up the “smart” part of the soundbar, out-of-the-box set-up is easy and very user-friendly. It’s a great option for a first soundbar, and effectively proves how a great speaker can elevate your entertainment set-up.