BOSE Soundbar 700
Described as the ‘best Bose soundbar to date’, which is saying a lot as seeing they are the market leaders and have released some corkers in the past few years.
It is solid in perfectly delivering films, music and dramatic box sets, whereas some others on the market excel in one area and are poor in the others. ADAPTiQ audio room calibration optimises the system’s acoustic performance to the unique characteristics of your room, so no matter how much furniture or how minimalistic the room is, you will still get perfection delivered.
A remote control is included, but with Amazon Alexa built-in, you don’t need to reach for it when you want to turn the volume up or change the song on Spotify. You can even ask it a question as normal. Thanks to the eight integrated microphones, it won’t struggle to hear you when you’re snuggled up on the sofa.
Should you already be a Bose multi-room speaker fan, you can connect these up to your soundbar. This allows you to either listen to music around the home in every room or adapt it into a home theatre system for surround sound if your room is on the larger side. If you connect up the Bose Bass Module 700 and Surround Speakers (sold separately), you can get even deeper bass.
Connectivity is a bit of a pain as you have to meticulously follow the instructions on the app – skipping a step or jumping ahead and guessing how its done will do you no favours. But once it is all set, the control is seamless and sound quality is exceptional. A little pricey, but relates to the superior jump in sound quality.
- Inputs: HDMI x1, Optical TOSLink x1, USB Input x1
- WiFi: Yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Dimensions: 5.7 x 98 x 10.8 cm
- Weight: 4.8 kg
Bose® Sound Bar 700 User Manual
- Colour choices
- Great sound no matter positioning or room type
- Choice of input connections
- Can be hard to adjust to get perfect sound from bass module if using
Immersive sound for the size, and definitely the best on the market at the moment. Worth the price tag if you want something which won’t let you down
Sonos Beam Compact Smart Sound Bar
Another soundbar with Amazon Alexa voice recognition. Fab if you’ve not quite jumped on the smart speaker bandwagon yet or are already a firm fan and reaching for remotes is simply something you will no longer do.
There is no limit to what you can listen to using this bar. 9pm BBC dramas, weekend movie marathons, podcasts, video games and playing the Top 40 music chart from your chosen streaming service is all dealt with issue-free.
Ask Alexa the time, weather or the score of the Manchester United match when you’re in the middle of the task, and she will hear you and respond thanks to the five far-field internal microphones.
It is only 65.1cm long, so there is a high chance it is compact enough to sit comfortably on your TV cabinet without hanging over the edges. You just need to plug it in and connect to your telly using an HDMI cable, and that is that.
Other Sonos speakers can be connected up as well, so you can create surround sound or multi-room music. If you have an Apple device, AirPlay 2 will allow you to stream music straight from your phone. Just ask Siri. There is no Bluetooth for connecting other brands, however.
It is simple to set up and produces decent bass despite the lack of subwoofer. It is beautifully made, and to say there is great sound, the price isn’t too extortionate. Perfect if you want to spend that bit more on a quality product but don’t want to break the bank.
- Inputs: HDMI x1, Optical x1, Ethernet x1
- WiFi: Yes
- Bluetooth: No
- Dimensions: 6.85 x 65.1 x 10cm
- Weight: 2.88kg
Sonos Beam Compact Smart Sound Bar User Manual
- Nice size for sitting in front of TV
- Streams radio and music well
- Even the packaging is high quality
- Very iPhone/iPad reliant to make full use of functions
A premium item and brand for a mid-range price - we have nothing much negative to say
Samsung Sound+ HW-MS650 Smart Bluetooth Soundbar
Ideal for any TV’s which are 32” and above, this bar features Dolby 5.1 sound support, so it is all you need for immersive crystal clear audio.
You can connect it to your telly via an HDMI or optical cable, or with Bluetooth if compatible. Or, if you happen to have a Samsung TV, then they can both be connected wirelessly.
The Multiroom app for iOS and Android smartphones will allow you to stream music from your gadget straight to the soundbar, so you can start the party or settle down with a nice book and calming playlist.
Automatic sound selection caters the settings towards what it is you are watching, so if there is a drama with a fair bit of whispering, then you’ll still be able to hear. Likewise, if one movie scene is quiet and the next is booming, you aren’t going to have a shaking room. The nine speakers all have their own dedicated amplifier, so you get no less than you deserve.
It is a soundbar which is highly recommended by plenty of dedicated audio sites on the internet and has a host of glowing user praise too. The reason it doesn’t top our list is only that it isn’t multi-room compatible, nor is there voice control. But not everybody needs these features, so if you don’t, the lower price for missing out on them is well worth the quality.
As a bonus, it can be hung on the wall using the included fittings for an even more minimal layout.
- Inputs: HDMI x1, Optical x1
- WiFi: Yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 106 x 13.1cm
- Weight: 6.2kg
Samsung Sound+ HW-MS650 Smart Bluetooth Soundbar User Manual
- Every little detail in sound
- Wall fittings included
- One Remote included for controlling all tech products
- Slight faint hiss sound when at lower volumes
Misses some luxury features but the price tag is relative, and we would still be more than happy to have it in our homes
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System
Amazon’s Best Seller and a firm favourite of those who want the luxury of better sound without forking out hundreds of pounds. In fact, this soundbar is the best we found for under £200.
We would say it is the best option for anyone who simply wants to boost the ordinary volume levels of their TV without having to turn the volume up or replay scenes. Dialogue mode makes every word clearer and soundtracks richer, while still boosting the bass without it becoming overpowering.
Talking of bass – sometimes, having all of this automatically controlled for you can actually be annoying. It is nice to have an immersive action scene, but there are the odd occasions where you want it to be remaining on screen as opposed to in the room. Well, with the Solo 5, you have the control. Just press the dedicated button on the remote to change levels. You can also increase it if the music requires. Perfect for listening to the latest house music.
Bluetooth lets you stream music from other devices, and you have freedom of choice over which audio cable to use when connecting to the telly. Whether optical, coaxial or analogue, it will automatically detect and adjust to suit. It even comes with a selection.
The remote will also allow you to control any other Bluetooth connected devices linked to the television to make control more effortless. The instruction booklet included is very informative and clear, so even if you are a bit of a technophobe on your first foray into the speaker bar world, it will be set up in no time.
- Inputs: Optical x1, Co-axial x1
- WiFi: No
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Dimensions: 7 x 54.8 x 8.6cm
- Weight: 1.6kg
BOSE Solo 5 Sound Bar User Manual
- On the compact side
- Remote can control other items too
- Power off after 60 minutes of inactivity
- Voices and talking are notably clearer
- Best for everyday sound as opposed to films/games etc
Good sound for the size and price - not the fanciest or highest performer, but there is a noticeable improvement, and a lot of people will like that control is placed more in their hands, yet it is largely plug-and-play
Sony HT-SF150 Bluetooth Soundbar
The latest Sony soundbar system is over 10x the price of this one, and while it may unarguably deliver a better sound, we’d still say you can’t go wrong with this Dolby option if you’re on a budget. In fact, it pleasantly packs a punch.
Suiting screens over 32”, it gives everyday viewing a boost and is described as delivering virtual surround sound. This difference is notable, and the built-in bass speaker will also do most of the job of a separate subwoofer by adding a deeper boom, so you can keep everything minimalistic.
If you have audio files on a USB, it can play these simply from plugging it into the dedicated input. Same applies to if these are on a compatible MP3 player or iPod. There are presets for every occasion, from movies to football games and dramatic television marathons.
When comparing to the higher-end soundbars, the sound isn’t quite on par. But this is hardly surprising. We say quite because we were still surprised by just how good it was. There is a cinematic feel to it, and getting it all going is easy.
If you want something cheap but cheerful and for a budget price under £100, then the notable improvement in sound clarity is worth it. The size is unobtrusive, and the choice of input will suit the majority of households.
- Inputs: USB x1, Optical x1, HDMI x1
- WiFi: No
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Dimensions: 6.4 x 90 x 8.8cm
- Weight: 2.4kg
Sony HT-SF150 Bluetooth Soundbar User Manual
- Setting up is simple
- Sleek basic design
- Slight buzz given out on higher volumes
Our budget buy choice, but don’t be put off - the sound is still quality and perfect for most eventualities