Soundbars have been getting better and better each year, and if you’ve got mediocre TV speakers, a soundbar can be a very effective upgrade for your TV-viewing experience. The Bose Soundbar 700 is a stylish addition to your TV, and genuinely does pump out some clear audio that most certainly defies its size.
Not only is it stylish, but the Soundbar 700 also features smart assistant integration with both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Couple that with Apple Airplay 2 support and built-in streaming for various music services, and you’ve got a surprisingly robust soundbar on your hands.
Price and availability
The Bose Soundbar 700 is available now for AED 3,399 from most leading retailers. That price tag doesn’t include the bass module (AED 2,999) or a wall mount (AED 169).
It’s a substantial price tag to pay, especially with no bass module. By comparison, the entry-level Sonos Beam comes in at AED 1,999 with Alexa integration, but similarly with no bass module. The more powerful Sonos PlayBar comes in at AED 2,815 with more powerful bass, even without a dedicated bass module.
Of course there are much cheaper soundbars in the market that can retail for under AED 2,000 that will include a bass module, but would only give you limited connectivity options and less features as the Soundbar 700.
There’s a lot to like about the Soundbar 700 when it comes to design. Available either in black or white, it’s very sleek to look at, and would pair well with TVs that are between 55 to 65 inches. You can also mount it on the wall right under your TV, and it won’t stick out too much.
A wraparound metal grille offers a very polished look, and hides the drivers neatly behind it. Meeting the grille at the top is a sheet of tempered glass, which looks beautiful but is an absolute nightmare to keep clean. Both fingerprints and dust collect easily, and are very noticeable on the black model. Bose does include a microfiber cloth to keep things clean, but you’ll find yourself frequently wiping it down.
On the top-left side of the speaker you’ll find two buttons – one is an action button for summoning your digital assistant, and the other is a button to mute the microphone. There’s also a discreet light bar just under the buttons that lets you know when a digital assistant is listening to your query or responding. Other than these two buttons, the Soundbar 700 has no other physical buttons – everything is done via the remote control or bundled app.
Speaking of the remote control, it’s worth mentioning how comically large this thing is. It’s something that you’re going to have to get used to with daily use, but there’s a reason for its size – it doubles as a universal remote as well. So rather than struggling with remote controls for various devices, you can just use the Bose remote to activate whatever device you need to use. Simply press the button for the device you want to use, and the relevant buttons will be lit up on the remote.
At the back is where you’ll find your various connectivity options, neatly tucked away. There’s an HDMI port, Optical port, aux port, bass port, as well as a port for Bose’s ADAPTiQ headset (more on that later).
Whether you’re simply placing the Soundbar 700 under your TV or mounting it to a wall, setup is going to take a bit of time. Plugging in the power cord is just the first step – you’ll then need to download the accompanying Bose Music app, sign up for an account, and begin the actual setup process. This involves connecting the Soundbar 700 to your Wi-Fi and plugging in the ADAPTiQ headset to continue the setup process.
The ADAPTiQ headset is a crucial part of the setup process as it helps to fine-tune audio levels so that no matter where you’re sitting, you get crystal-clear audio. The app instructs you to sit in your five favorite spots for watching TV, and the speaker then emits a series of beeps to fine-tune itself automatically. The headset comes with a very long cable, so no matter how far away you’re keeping the Soundbar 700, you’ll be able to configure it properly. Once it’s finished, you can simply disconnect the headset and keep it somewhere to repeat the process if you change the position of the soundbar.
The app allows you to also specify which music services you would like to stream from, depending on regional restrictions. Services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and TuneIn all work perfectly from within the app or via voice control.
When it comes to audio quality with the Soundbar 700, there are some moments where it spectacularly shines, and some moments where you definitely notice its lack of punch.
For watching TV shows, the Soundbar 700 is perfect. Vocals are crisp and clear, and background music and title scores are loud enough to enjoy pleasantly. Switching over to movies and it’s a slightly different experience. An action-packed fight scene in Avengers: Endgame was devoid of any depth, as sounds such as buildings crumbling and cars exploding felt quite hollow without substantial bass support.
Listening to music on the Soundbar 700 was an equally mixed bag. Classical piano and opera pieces sounded clear and filled a room with beautiful music, while soft acoustic guitar numbers were equally impressive. Switching over to pop music was a little less impressive, with most songs lacking that extra ‘oomph’ factor due to the missing bass module.
We’re trying not to be too harsh on the Soundbar 700 here – it still delivers a great sound experience for any small or mid-sized living room. But with the price tag it demands, we were hoping for slightly more powerful bass on its own, which is why we can’t help steer our gaze back to the Sonos PlayBar, which had a much better bass response. Another point to note is that the Soundbar 700 doesn’t support Dolby Atmos and DTSX, which for more demanding home enthusiasts will be a bit of a concern.
The Soundbar 700 may have smart assistant integration, but it’s honestly quite sporadic. When we tried asking Alexa to play certain artists or genres, she would just reply that she didn’t understand the question, or would just not perform the action at all. The experience was similar when using Google Assistant as well, so it could just be that the Soundbar 700’s microphones aren’t sensitive enough to pick up our voices clearly.
With a balance of style and performance, the Bose Soundbar 700 is certainly an improvement over any TV speaker. It can easily fill a room with clear audio, and depending on what you’re listening to or watching on TV, you can get some fairly impressive audio. The ability to directly play music from various streaming services is also a bonus, and if you’ve got the extra cash then we definitely recommend adding in a bass module to complete the experience.
That bass module is going to be a talking point – you really do need it in order to make for a more complete audio experience, and with a total cost of little over AED 6,000 you’ll be tempted to just splurge for an entry-level home theatre setup instead. The smart assistant integration is nice, but the middling voice recognition turns it into a sour feature, which makes us wonder why it was ever included in the first place.