Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System Bar Review

Last updated on: 10-17-18
Bottom Line: as simple as it gets for upgrading default TV speakers, but not the best value. Doesn’t specify any kind of power/volume metric, nor does it come with or offer compatibility to a subwoofer.
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Important Specs Overview

Speaker type: powered, back ported
Continuous power/volume output: not specified by manufacturer
Unit weight: 4 lbs
Unit dimensions: 22 x 3 x 4 inches (width x depth x height)
Wireless: Bluetooth compatible
Warranty: 1 year

Review And Discussion

Bose has, relatively recently, become a highly popular consumer electronics company that often elicits ambivalent feelings – some claim that their products are overpriced and under built and/or performant, while others love their general slickness and design, even if it sometimes comes at a premium.

The Solo 5 is Bose’s dubbed all in one TV sound system. Despite it being a single unit, its intent is to be an all in one solution to upgrade default TV speakers, which in this day and age tend to be insufficient due to TVs now being so thin and small.

The selling point is the convenience – there’s no dealing with av receivers, speaker wires, or other such common ancillaries as you would with traditional passive home theater speakers, rather you simply plug it in via any standard connection (HDMI, aux, RCA) and it’s ready to go.

The design is par with the understated yet slick vinyl look of most Bose products. It can either be simply rested below the TV on a surface, or you can wall mount it, but a mount must unfortunately be purchased separately. Bose offers a 1 year warranty on its active speakers, which is pretty bare minimum but fairly standard for budget-tier soundbars.

Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition

Bose products are generally good, albeit a little pricey, so if you’re looking for a minimally fussy way to augment insufficient TV speakers, the solo 5 will be a perfectly decent way to do it.

Our main reservation is that, for whatever reason, Bose doesn’t give any kind of objective metric as to how loud and powerful the unit is, be it continuous power handling, max dB output, or anything of the like. This spec is important and almost always provided by speaker manufacturers, and we don’t understand why Bose doesn’t specify anything when they certainly do with many other speakers they produce. You can listen to it yourself, sure, but that’s always going to be subjective and dependent on the room, set-up, user, etc.

The other limitation is that there’s neither an included subwoofer nor an output to at least add a subwoofer. Their aim with the solo 5 is definitely simplicity and convenience, but, it’s hard to endorse such when other companies sell soundbars that actually include a separate subwoofer, and how hard is it to actually place one?

If you’re merely looking for something simple and compact to make the audio of, say, a bedroom or kitchen TV sufficient, the solo 5 is a viable choice, but not the best value. We’d recommend considering the VIZIO SB3821 (reviewed here) or any other of their popular sound bars – they have all the same features, good power/volume specs, and they come with a separate subwoofer, all at a fraction of the price.

But the audio world is highly capricious – maybe the Bose sound bar will wind up discounted at some point and be the best value, we’ve seen the sort of thing happen before and it’s certainly a possibility.