Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System Review

With ultra-thin TVs becoming the norm, finding a soundbar that doesn’t clutter your entertainment setup can be a challenge. The Bose Solo 5 soundbar aims to solve this issue with a compact design that manages to boost your TV’s audio without dominating your space.

The soundbar includes convenient features such as Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from mobile devices, and a universal remote control that consolidates control of your TV and sound system. However, it lacks support for more advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos, which makes it unsuitable for users seeking a full home theater effect. 

As long as you go in with the understanding that this is a compact and relatively basic soundbar (it doesn’t come with any of the smart features of the Bose Smart soundbars), then it is a solid performer overall, although you can get better-sounding systems for the price.

Bose Solo 5

The Bose Solo 5 is a good pick if you're really tight on space, but there are definitely better sounding soundbars for the price.
Channels: 2.0
Surround Sound Technology: Dolby Digital
  • Ultra-compact size
  • Universal remote included
  • Bluetooth-compatible
  • Struggles at higher volumes
  • Huge premium on compactness

Design and Build Quality

The Bose Solo 5 soundbar distinguishes itself with a compact and unobtrusive design, focused on delivering quality audio without drawing attention away from the aesthetics of the room. High-grade materials and adaptable mounting options complement its sleek style.

Compact and Stylish Aesthetic

The Solo 5 has a compact design that is well-suited for minimalistic setups or smaller spaces. It presents an all-black exterior with a subtle Bose logo on the front, ensuring it blends seamlessly with most home theater environments. The soundbar’s boxy dimensions feel a little old-school by today’s standards, although part of that comes down to its reduced width. It’s worth noting the newer Bose TV Speaker has a slightly more modern look.

Material and Durability

Constructed from a robust plastic, the Bose Solo 5 promises long-term durability. The front of the soundbar features a metal grille that adds a touch of sophistication as well as protection for the speaker components. Its build quality is reassuring, indicating it can withstand the rigors of everyday use while maintaining its elegant black finish.

Mounting and Placement Options

The soundbar’s design does not come with a wall mount included, though it does support wall-mounting capability for those who prefer an elevated setup. For those who choose to place it directly under their TV, rubber feet provide stability and reduce the risk of scratches to furniture. Its versatility in placement ensures that it can adapt to a variety of home theater layouts.

Connectivity Features

The Bose Solo 5 soundbar offers streamlined options for both wireless and wired connectivity, making it simple for users to integrate it with a range of devices.

Wireless and Wired Options

In terms of wireless connectivity, the Bose Solo 5 includes Bluetooth functionality, enabling users to easily stream music from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This feature provides the convenience of playing audio files or streaming services directly through the soundbar without the need for any physical cables.

When it comes to wired connections, the Bose Solo 5 is equipped with multiple types of inputs. It offers an optical port for digital audio, which is commonly used for transmitting high-quality audio from televisions. An optical cable is usually the preferred method for connecting to a TV due to its ability to deliver clear and precise sound. A coaxial cable input is also available, giving further flexibility and ensuring compatibility with a wide variety of devices. Additionally, there is an auxiliary input that allows connection to devices using a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Compatibility and Universal Control

Compatibility is a key focus for the Bose Solo 5 soundbar. It can integrate with many different systems, displaying its versatility. The inclusion of the universal remote control allows it to command not just the soundbar itself but other connected devices, streamlining the user experience and reducing the need for multiple remotes.

This remote control isn’t just a convenience feature; it’s a substantial addition that simplifies the operation of various entertainment system components. Whether it’s adjusting volume, changing input sources, or managing connected devices, the universal remote consolidates control into one intuitive interface. Unfortunately, the Bose Solo 5 does lack some modern features such as HDMI ARC, which is often used for simplifying setup and control, as well as high-end options like NFC, HDR10, and voice assistant capabilities with devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Sound Quality and Performance

The Solo 5’s sound quality and performance stand out in certain aspects, especially for a soundbar without a separate subwoofer unit. It is designed to enhance the audio experience for TV shows and movies while also providing an easy-to-use interface for users.

Audio Clarity and Dialogue Mode

The soundbar offers decent audio clarity, particularly with its dialogue mode feature. This mode emphasizes vocal frequencies, ensuring that dialogue cuts through even complex audio tracks with multiple sound effects. Listeners can expect a clear representation of spoken words, making it a suitable choice for news broadcasts or dialogue-heavy content.

Bass and Treble Adjustment

While the integrated subwoofer within the Bose Solo 5 may struggle with reproducing deep bass, the bass adjustment capability allows for some customization of the low-end response. Similarly, the treble adjustment provides users with some control over the higher frequencies. However, this soundbar might not satisfy those seeking a powerful bass presence or expansive soundstage.

Sound Enhancement Technologies

The Bose Solo 5 incorporates several sound enhancement technologies to enrich the audio experience. It possesses a stereo separation that, while not as expansive as more complex channel configurations, does an adequate job of creating a sense of space in the audio. Plus, it can decode Dolby Digital signals, aimed at delivering a more dynamic and detailed sound to the listener. However, it should be noted that this soundbar does not support Dolby Atmos or DTS:Virtual X, meaning it can’t really produce immersive 3D audio/

Ease of Use

The Bose Solo 5 soundbar is designed for simplicity and user-friendliness, focusing particularly on the ease of controlling the device and understanding its status indicators.

Remote Functionality

The remote control that comes with the Bose Solo 5 soundbar adds to the convenience by offering comprehensive functionality. Users can easily adjust the volume, mute the sound, and switch between different modes. The infrared remote is responsive and allows for seamless controlling from a distance, providing a hassle-free user experience.

Status Indicators and Auto-Wake

The soundbar is equipped with status indicators that aid users in visually confirming the soundbar’s operations such as power status and connectivity status. Moreover, the auto-wake function is a smart feature that ensures the Bose Solo 5 is ready to use when sound is detected, eliminating the need for manual power-ups and contributing to an intuitive user experience.

Who’s It For?

The Bose Solo 5 Soundbar is suited for users looking for value in a compact sound enhancement solution. Those on a budget who require an audio upgrade for their TVs may find the Solo 5 a satisfactory choice, given its low price compared to some of the competition.

With its build quality, this soundbar is a practical option for individuals prioritizing durability within a budget-friendly range. Its compact size makes it an ideal addition to smaller spaces, like a bedroom or dorm room, where a full home theater system would be impractical.

Here’s a quick look at who might prefer the Bose Solo 5:

  • Value Seekers: Consumers desiring a notable brand name with a reputation for quality without a hefty price tag.
  • Space Savers: Those with limited space who require a compact soundbar that doesn’t compromise on sound quality.
  • Bedroom Users: Individuals needing improved audio in a personal space where a larger system or higher listening volumes aren’t necessary.

While this soundbar might not fill a large room with sound, it provides a clear and straightforward audio experience for smaller areas at low to mid volumes. People should not expect it to outperform higher-end models in terms of power and features but should recognize the value it offers as a simple, budget-friendly sound upgrade.