Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System Detailed Review

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Sound
Features
Value for Money
The Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System is a must buy for those wishing to augment TV sound especially when space is a constraint. The sound fills a medium sized room satisfactorily. Dialogues are crisper and music is more enjoyable than TV. Universal programmable remote control gives it an edge over competition.

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System is a compact yet pricey soundbar low on features that is only meant to augment TV audio for daily viewing & light music and its only plus points are the handy universal programmable remote, multiple-device Bluetooth pairing and good mid-bass performance. unless you are a Bose fan, go for latest and better-equipped soundbars.

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System’s setup is very easy with aux., optical & coaxial input options for TV connection. It is priced at Rs. 22,050 and is suitable for use in bedroom, lounge or study. Bose Solo 5 greatly improves TV audio and dialogues become crisp and clear. Bluetooth connectivity offers upto 8 device-pairing. But don’t expect a full home theatre experience. Expectation-wise, think of it as a budget offering from a premium brand rather than a premium sound system.

  • Small footprint, easy connection
  • Improves dialogue
  • Treble & mids sound better
  • Removes the need for multiple remotes
  • Advanced Bluetooth streaming functions
  • No display on soundbar. All display is on TV
  • Lacking in ‘thumping’ Bass
  • Wall-mount bracket sold separately
  • Priced higher for India market
  • No HDMI

Introduction

Launch of Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System in March 2019 has marked the beginning of the company’s attempt to make inroads into entry level TV audio market. This is a clear strategy shift because Bose had been busy making products only for the premium lifestyle consumer category. Bose has been largely successful with the launch of this compact soundbar. Solo 5 TV Soundbar is now firmly placed as a ‘premium entry level’ audio equipment for the budget conscious. In comparison, Sony HT-G700 Soundbar offers Dolby Atmos and 4K HDR passthrough at a higher price point.

The Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System available in India is made in China and imported by Bose Corporation India Private Limited, Gurgaon. In the US, the same soundbar sells for USD 199, much cheaper than the India price.

Bose likes to call this soundbar, a sound system. I think I understand why it is not just a soundbar. Bose Solo 5 has a soundbar that is accompanied by a universal fully programmable remote control. This remote elevates its status from a mere soundbar to a ‘system’ that can control all your media devices with just one remote.

What is in the Box

  • Bose Solo 5 TV sound system (1)
  • Universal remote control (1)
  • Power supply adapter (1)
  • Power cable (multiple plug types)
  • Optical digital audio cable (1)
  • Setup Guide (1)
  • Device Code (1)

If you wish to wall mount the soundbar, you will have to purchase the WB-120 wall-mount kit separately. There is no HDMI connectivity. HDMI cable is not provided.

Key Features of Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System

The Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System available in all-black good quality plastic with an aluminum metal mesh in front. It has a minimalistic design and sits neatly under your TV set.

The Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System has a simple installation. With optical IN, coaxial IN or 3.5 mm RCA IN options to connect with your existing TV set. It does not have HDMI though.

The universal remote control is very handy. You can power on multiple devices with just this one remote, TV, cable box, DVD player or game system.

Bluetooth connectivity also allows you to stream music wirelessly from your phone. It stores upto 8 Bluetooth devices.

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System features Videostage® and TrueSpace® technologies. Bose claims these technologies deliver benefits of a five speaker home theatre through a soundbar.

First Looks, Installation and Wiring

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System is made of black plastic with metal mesh in the front. It comes in black color only. Two speakers, 2 LEDs and IR receiver are visible through the mesh. On the rear is a bass port towards the rear left. On the rear right are the inputs- 3.5 mm auxiliary, optical and coaxial. The power input jack is also place on the rear. On the rear are two female screw sets for mounting optional wall-mount. There is a USB port for ‘service’ for troubleshooting and software updates. The soundbar itself is very light, around 1.7 kg.

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System Rear Showing Input Ports

This soundbar is perfect for bedroom, kitchen, lounge or a study. But don’t expect it to become your main home theatre equipment if you are a movie buff. It upgrades your TV’s audio but it cannot replace your bookshelf speakers and amplifier.

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System is very compact and can easily be placed on the TV table or rack. The manual says not to place the soundbar in or near metal cabinets. If you wish to mount it on wall, you will have to either place it on a wall mounted long shelf or buy a wall-mount which is sold separately. The WB-120 Wall-Mount Kit is a two-piece equipment that costs approximately Rs. 2400.

If you have no option but to wall-mount the soundbar, I recommend that you buy this wall-mount because of its easy mounting & un-mounting design and also because it allows certain distance from wall which may affect sound because the bass port is at the rear.

Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System offers three options for TV connectivity– a 3.5 mm auxiliary IN, Optical IN and Coaxial IN. for Bluetooth enabled TVs, it can be connected with Bluetooth as well. You can connect your TV’s Optical OUT with the Optical IN of this soundbar using optical cable (supplied). The coaxial IN (supplied) is given as an additional option in case your TV does not have an Optical OUT. A 3.5mm RCA cable (not supplied) can be used to connect TV AUX OUT with soundbar AUX IN.

The power supply unit has not been built-in, which is why Bose has been able to keep a compact footprint. A separate adapter unit has been provided like the ones you get with laptops. The AC to DC adapter has to be plugged in to wall socket and the input jack has to be inserted into the power slot at the back of the soundbar.

One drawback is that the Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System does not have any display. All information is displayed on the TV. So if the TV is switched off, you will not know what is going on with the soundbar. For some who like to know volume and bass levels, this may be an issue. But that’s a minor glitch I guess because we are interested in it more when it is running! It does go into standby when not in use for some time.

Usage

Sound

Bose is known for its unique sound design. Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System has two drivers or speakers placed near the centre of the sound bar, firing outwards away from each other. The soundbar is designed so that air from rear of speakers travels along the interior and come out from sides and from a bass port at the back. Bose has been using similar technology in its high-end equipment as well.

Bose designs its audio with the idea that no matter what the room acoustics or room design are, the audio equipment will deliver sound that fills the entire room to allow you to hear equally well and with clarity, no matter where your position is in the room. This holds true in the case of this soundbar as well. This tiny soundbar is loud and clear at the same time.

Barring a few premium models, all in-built TV speakers fire either downwards or backwards. Soundbars have forward firing speakers and this is the reason why soundbars tangibly augment TV sound. Bose Solo 5 is a very significant step-up from your TV speakers. It delivers treble and mids with great clarity. Dialogues immediately become very clear and crisp.

Dialogue delivery is the high point of this Base Solo 5 Soundbar. For a true 5.1 channel experience, the Motorola MT150-HT51 is a budget option worth exploring.

Overall, this soundbar is simply great if you wish to enhance the clarity and audio of your TV. Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System excels in this department.

A few downsides on the audio-front need to be mentioned here. It lacks a bit in ‘thumping’ bass though, which is anyway expected from such a compact unit which does not have a separate subwoofer. There is no provision to add a sub-woofer as well. If you are used to playing thumping music at loud levels, this will most likely fall short of expectations. Another drawback is that although this soundbar gives room-filling sound, the stereo separation is somewhat compromised.

There is no HDMI or HDMI ARC/eARC. It is not Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos enabled as well.

Bluetooth

A feature worth special mention is the Bluetooth functionality on the Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System.

It can store upto 8 Bluetooth devices in its pairing list. So your family and friends (upto 8) can line up and play songs from this soundbar back-to-back. Connection to Apple TV is no problem.

Also, this soundbar allows 2 simultaneous Bluetooth connections. Bose Solo 5 TV Sound system supports multi-point connectivity through which I was able to seamlessly switch music between devices connected with it. The last two devices that streamed to this soundbar remain connected. This allowed me to pause one song from streamed devices and play another song from another connected device.

Universal Remote

The stand-out feature of Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System as compared to competitors is its fully functional universal remote control. This allows you to control any equipment like TV, cable box, DVD, Blu-ray player, set-top box, gaming device with just this one fully programmable remote.

For those tired of handling 3-4 remotes, this remote makes your and listening experience smooth and hassle-free. Just enter the program code of the equipment from the guide provided alongwith the soundbar, and you have full control of that equipment in just a few seconds.

You can control the bass level and dialogue level through separate dedicated buttons. This is a very useful feature. The Dialogue button enables you to toggle between dialogue mode and your default audio setting.

With just one press of this button, I was able to get optimal sound quality for dialogue-only programs such as news and talk shows. It automatically decreased the soundbar’s bass settings. This is a cool feature to have. An LED on the soundbar glows amber (orange) when dialogue mode is on.

The remote also has playback buttons like forward/reverse, next track/ previous track, play, pause, stop and record. At the bottom are four colored (Red, Green, Yellow, Blue) buttons for various functions. It has a numeric keypad which comes very handy while programming the remote.

One drawback is that the remote does not have any learning capability on its own and can only be programmed with pre-determined codes. So if a device is not there on its code list, the remote will not recognize it. Maybe through software updates, new code lists can be added by Bose.

The remote is powered by 2 AA batteries.

Verdict

The Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System is a must buy for Bose fans wishing to augment TV sound especially when space is a constraint. Its highlight is the bundled universal programmable remote control which reduces remote clutter enabling you to control multiple devices with this single remote. The soundbar is sufficiently loud for small sized room. standout feature is its ability to give clarity to dialogues. Treble and mids in songs are enjoyable while the bass output is limited. For those open to other brands, there are a lot of feature-packed soundbars to choose from that offer Dolby Atmos/ DTS:X and separate wireless subwoofers.

Specifications

Number of Speakers2
Speaker Power OutputNot Disclosed
Power Consumption36 W
SizeSize- 7.0 cm x 54.8 cm x 8.6 cm
Weight of Soundbar1.69 kg
Sub WooferNil
Input Port3.5mm RCA IN, Optical IN, Coaxial IN
BluetoothYes. Details not disclosed
Output PortNil
Specifications of Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System

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Gizmo Guru is India’s top guide to buying home theatre and hi-fi home entertainment related products.

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