Trying to dethrone Sonos from the number one spot for wireless audio systems was always going to be tall order for Bose, but with the company’s SoundTouch Wi-Fi range they’ve focused on what they do best: sound quality.
The most impressive part of Bose’s SoundTouch range is the quality of the sound. Having built a name for themselves as the purveyors of high quality sound it’s good to see Bose using its expertise to bring high fidelity sound to the burgeoning mini wireless audio market.
Separated into three distinct ranges, the SoundTouch 30 is the largest of the speakers measuring 25.4cm x 43.2cm x 17.8cm, the SoundTouch 20 is slightly smaller measuring 17.8cm x 30.5cm x 10.2cm, and the final version is a portable battery-powered version that’s no bigger than an average sized paperback book.
One of the big advantages of the SoundTouch range is it has been designed to be modular. This basically means you can daisy chain multiple speakers together over time to assemble your own multi-room home audio system. So you may start off with two, say, in the lounge and kitchen, and then later on you can add more to an upstairs bedroom for instance, all without having to traipse wires across your house.
During Huffington Post’s early hands-on with SoundTouch they were blown away by the sound quality, noting: “the sound it generates is hugely impressive. Bass notes aren’t just loud, they feel alive – physically below the rest of the sound – and genuinely fill the room.”
Where the SoundTouch is less impressive, though, is the range of content services on offer at launch: there’s no Spotify or Rdio support, TuneIn radio is missing too, as is Last.FM – all of which just so happen to be available on Sonos’ range of systems. But don’t worry too much as Bose have told us they’re planning to add services to the speakers over time, as well as plans to bring SoundTouch Wi-Fi functionality to its more expensive lifestyle range of products.
It’s not all bad news, though, you do get access to 18,000 Internet radio stations and you can of course play your entire iTunes library via Airplay by using the accompanying app – which softens the blow a bit but for those of you who have Spotify subscriptions this isn’t the speaker for you just yet.
Setting up the system is a breeze, with Mashable noting the process was “painless”, simply requiring you plug in the speaker, download the app and connect the system to your local Wi-Fi network.
To control the system wirelessly, Bose has created slick app that allows you control the system from anywhere within your home as long as you’re on the same Wi-Fi network and are in range, of course.
The entry-level speakers are fairly affordable compared Bose’s usual eye-watering standards; the SoundTouch 20 and Portable are available for £349. But the SoundTouch 30 comes in at £599, which is quite frankly scary money, especially considering what you could get for that sort of money if you plumped for a archaic separates system.
The new SoundTouch range offers a simple, easy-to-use wireless music system, with Bose’s high-end sound quality at a reasonable price. The price of the top-of-the-range of version might just be too steep for some but for a first attempt the SoundTouch is a near perfect alternative to a Sonos system only being let down by some missing services.