I've owed 2 Bose Smart Home 500 Speakers and the Soundbar 500 since their release date and at almost a month of using them I'd like to share my thoughts. I started with Bose about 2 years ago when I purchased my first Soundtouch 10, after a move I purchased a second ST10 and Soundtouch Link for my computer's soundbar. They all worked great together and for the most part accomplished my goal. I'm a big smart home fan and use Amazon Alexa pretty much exclusively for my music needs around my apartment. The Alexa/Soundtouch app(s) kind of worked, but never met my expectations/hopes. Here comes Bose's new line of smart home speakers!
Overall, I'm very pleased with the new speakers from Bose. Obviously they sound fantastic! I live in an apartment with a SH500 in the kitchen, the other in the bathroom and the SB500 in the living room with the TV. They do a fantastic job of filling my apartment with quality sound. I like that I can also adjust the bass per speaker for a little extra oomph. Living in an apartment, I feel a dedicated bass module would be too much. For music services I have the Amazon Music Individual Plan and Pandora Plus. Here's some of my thoughts so far:
- The bose ecosystem works great with Pandora, I really can't think of any flaws so far. There is no delay between the speakers when a song starts. If I have a speaker group playing, regardless of which speaker I interact with they all work together just fine.
- With Amazon Music it's not as solid as an experience. On individual speakers it responds fine, but if I'm playing a speaker group (which I almost always am), there are some shortcomings. The first one I noticed was when a song starts, there's a delay between the group's main speaker and the 2 grouped speakers. I haven't timed it but it's a pretty significant delay, maybe 5 seconds? By delay I don't mean the songs are out of sync, it just takes several seconds for the secondary speakers to start playing. This happens with every song, regardless if I'm using the app or asking Alexa.
- If the group's playing an Amazon Station and I ask a secondary speaker to play a different song by time/name, the speaker unlinks from the group and will play independently while the other 2 speakers stay grouped and continue playing the original station.
- I like how the display let's you know what music service you're listening to as well as what the song is with the album art. It's nice that you can have a clock display, but it's boring. For such a beautiful speaker (which I actually enjoy the look more than I thought I would), it's unfortunate you can't add a better looking clock display. I don't see why the user wouldn't be able to customize the display to their preferences, the hardware should be there to allow this. Hopefully this is addressed and implemented in a future update.
- Also with the speaker display it'd be nice if it'd show the weather as well when inquired. Not a huge deal, I know this isn't a smart display, but again I feel like the hardware's there to allow this with a software update. (I could easily be wrong!)
- The SB500 works great with my TV (LG 60UH6030), it automatically switches to TV input when I turn my TV on which is nice!
- Hopefully in the future the speakers integrate more with Alexa, it'd be nice to run routines via Bose.
- I'd like to be able to group/add/remove speakers via Alexa instead of always having to do so manually in the app. Or have the ability to have music always default to playing in the group.
- If I ask Alexa to play 'Preset #' it defaults to telling me to enable the old Soundtouch Alexa Skill.
- There's no PC application to control the speakers. I LOVED this for my old Soundtouch speakers. I do a lot of computer work and it was extremely convenient to be able to have the PC app loaded. I have an Android phone and tablet, and the new app works great on them, I'd just like to be able to have it on PC as well.
Again, overall very pleased with the new speakers. They provide a multiroom music solution I've wanted for a long time. If I have anymore thoughts to add, I'll post them here!
I purchased the Soundbar 700 at the weekend to replace my ST300. A purchase which was a much easier decision due to the fact that it was compatible with my existing Accoustimass 300 sub. I am aware that this is a new product and there is therefore more functionality still to come. Firstly, I am impressed with the pickup from the microphones when compared to my HomePod. I can control the Soundbar 700 from two rooms away without raising my voice, quite impressive. It's likely that a Soundbar 500 will be following for the bedroom to replace my ST20. There are a few things that it would be great if they could be passed onto the developers though if there is not a way of achieving this that I am not aware of.
- Music - getting Spotify functionality with Alexa is a must for this product. Happy to use Spotify connect through my phone and Amazon music through Alexa for now, but would very much apreciate a seamless experience with Spotify.
- Changing input source - Is there a voice command for changing this? If I am listening to music but then want to switch to HDMI audio from my TV, I currently have to use the remote. Doing this via Alexa would be so much easier than reaching over to the coffee table ;-).
- Pausing music. There doesn't appear to be the ability to pause music via Alexa. When I pause, and then try and resume (for example "Alexa play miusic"), Alexa will just pick a playlist at random. If I pause music, I would expect things to pick up from exactly where I left off as it does on HomePod.
Addressing these would make it a much more seamless experience for me. Alexa functionality is still a bit lacking when compared to my Sonos using friends but very happy with the sound as Sonos dont make a proper Alexa soundbar.
HI BAAJR and tippex
Thanks for the great update about the new Smart Home speakers and glad to hear you're enjoying them!
Regarding the trouble with Amazon Music while grouping. I'm going to test this in our lab and see if I can recreate these issues. I'll be sure to you keep you posted on my findings. If you could help provide us with the make/model of the your router that would be great!
Our development team is currently working on Spotify integration with Alexa. Once we get a status update from them, we'll make sure to notify the Community.
With the pausing feature from Alexa, does this happen on all sources or just Amazon Music? What is the command you're providing to Alexa?
Tony A - Community Support
@Tony_A - I've actually worked this one out. If I say "Alexa, stop" or "Alexa, Pause", but then resume by saying "Alexa, play music" it will start a new playlist. If I say "Alexa, resume music" it will ask me what playlist I want to play. "Alexa, play" or "Alexa, resume" both have the desired effect. Just a bit of a learning curve here.
@Tony_A I would still be interested to know if I can change the input source with Alexa and if so, what command(s) can be used.
At this point, the control of the TV source can only be controlled with the remote. But we'll certainly pass the feedback along to our software team.