The slim design of flat-screen TVs doesn’t allow much room for decent speakers. While they look a whole lot better, the sound quality is generally disappointing. As a result, most people feel the need to augment their flat screen with some supplementary speakers that will add some much-needed body to the sound.
However, a good 5:1 or 7:1 surround system can cost a small fortune and also takes up a large amount of space.
So what do you do?
The smartest move in this situation is to invest in a good soundbar. The Bose SoundTouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar are two of the more popular mid-priced soundbars currently on the market, and both are worthy of your consideration.
In this article, we’ll run them head to head, looking at the pros and cons of each, finishing with a recommendation on which we think is best. So, let’s crack on with this Bose SoundTouch 300 vs. Sonos Playbar showdown…
Due to the fact they are generally placed underneath your TV, the dimensions of soundbars are usually quite similar. But as it’s going to become part of the room’s décor, you want it to look as tasteful as possible.
Bose SoundTouch 300
This has a sleek and refined look that will complement the aesthetics of any home theatre setup. It’s smaller than the Sonos Playbar at just 26 inches wide, 4 inches deep, and just over 2 inches high. It will fit snugly under any modern flat screen.
The top is finished with a tempered glass surface. And the front and sides are covered with a black aluminum mesh to protect the drivers. LED indicator lights feature in the top right corner of the front panel. Compared to cheaper plastic models, it stands out.
Internal hardware consists of four full-range drivers complemented by a tweeter positioned in the center. Round the back, you’ll find a bass port. And on each end, there are phase guides that spread high-frequency audio to provide more of a surround effect.
This is a plastic build, but it’s put together very well. The rolled edges and drivers are covered by a cloth grille. Dark gray accents run along the back panel, the bottom, and sides. And you can find the backlit volume and mute buttons on the left side. It looks good enough. Although it doesn’t do as good a job of staying inconspicuous as the SoundTouch does.
Under the hood, the Playbar packs in three tweeters and six mid-range drivers. This goes some way to explaining why the Sonos Playbar is larger than the Bose SoundTouch. The dimensions are 35 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep, and 3.5 inches high. Although it’s larger, you still shouldn’t have any problems positioning it under your TV.
The Bose SoundTouch 300 inputs and outputs located at the rear include an optical in, HDMI in, and HDMI ARC. You can connect via BlueTooth and WiFi, which is a straightforward process. The SoundTouch app is also a very useful piece of kit that allows you to access all your music, and all the main music streaming apps are supported.
Using the app, you’ll be able to control everything remotely on your phone. Here you can switch between WiFi and Bluetooth and make some basic audio adjustments. Annoyingly, there are no EQ settings to adjust, though, just a bass boost and an option to make the dialogue clearer.
Nearly the same…
The Sonos Playbar has the same connection ports minus the HDMI ARC option. Although it does support wireless streaming, this is only possible if you have already purchased a Sonos Bridge for an extra fifty bucks. Otherwise, you’ll have to use an Ethernet cable. Via the app, you can play any music in your phone’s library and stream music through all the usual platforms.
Aside from using the app, you can also use the accompanying remote control. It’s an easy way to adjust Bose SoundTouch 300 settings.
Unfortunately, there is no remote control with the Sonos Playbar. Although you can use a supplied code to enable your TV remote to control the unit. Considering the Sonos Playbar is a fair bit pricier than the Bose model, you’d expect it to have an independent remote too.
The Bose SoundTouch 300 delivers crisp audio when watching movies. However, the Bass response isn’t particularly booming due to the lack of a woofer in the construction. However, you can generate some rumble with the bass turned up to max.
Conversely, this does seem to harm the crispness of dialogue. A happy medium is found with the bass set to 50%. If you want booming bass, you’ll have to buy a separate subwoofer.
Probably the best feature of the Bose SoundTouch audio mix. There’s a good sense of spatial width going on. It can’t replicate the effect of a proper surround system, but it has a good go all the same.
Likewise, the Sonos Playbar enhances movie watching significantly. Once again, the bass isn’t the strong point, and you won’t get the blood curdling low-end effects without the addition of a sub-woofer. Still, the bass is decent enough at lower volumes.
Once you start to raise the volume…
The Playbar’s DSP (digital signal processing) circuitry starts to do its thing. This can be pretty annoying, especially when you’re listening to music. But at medium volume, dialogue and special effects remain reasonably unmolested and come through clearly and naturally for a pretty enjoyable experience.
Overall, we have to give the edge to the SoundTouch 300. Thanks to its wider soundstage and less obvious meddling from their DSP circuitry.
The last section of our Bose SoundTouch 300 vs. Sonos Playbar showdown. Oddly enough, it may be the extras that determine the best soundbar.
The SoundTouch 300 has a snazzy feature called ADAPTiQ room calibration. When setting the soundbar up, it will scan the room and adjust audio settings based on the size of the space and taking into account reflective surfaces. It minimizes the areas of your room that deteriorate the sound profile and projection.
The HDMI ARC input also allows the SoundTouch to play 4K quality sound. Furthermore, this means it’s a soundbar compatible with DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks. The Sonos Playbar has no such input, so will be limited in its high-resolution playback capabilities.
Both units can be controlled via voice command…
With the SoundTouch using the more popular Alexa and the Playbar opting for Echo, which isn’t that commonly used. The Playbar has a pretty cool feature called Night mode, which is a dialogue enhancer. It raises the volume of spoken audio and lowers the more booming parts of the soundtrack at the same time. Handy if there are people asleep nearby.
Looking for Great Speakers?
We can help you find just what you want. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, and the Best Sonos Speakers you can buy in 2021.
Also, have a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos, the Best Apple AirPlay Speakers, the Best Computer Speakers Under $100, and the Best High End Home Theater Speakers currently on the market.
And don’t miss our helpful guides on How to Program an Xfinity Remote to a Soundbar, Connect a Soundbar to TV Without HDMI or Optical, Connect Sonos to TV Wirelessly, Soundbar Above or Below TV, and How to Connect Speakers to your TV for more useful tips and hints.
Bose SoundTouch 300
- Bluetooth enabled.
- Wider soundstage.
- HDMI ARC input.
- Straightforward setup.
- Stylish design.
- Not a lot of bass.
- No EQ settings.
- Good bass, considering the lack of a subwoofer.
- Dialogue enhancement feature.
- Excellent app if you have Sonos Bridge add-on.
- Quite expensive.
- No remote control included.
- Highly processed sound.
Bose SoundTouch 300 vs. Sonos Playbar – My Verdict
You’re simply getting more for your money if you opt for the Bose SoundTouch 300, especially when you consider that it’s substantially cheaper. Not only is it easier to set up, it has more versatility when it comes to controls, and it also supports both Bluetooth and WiFi sources without having to splash out for any extra kit.
I preferred the overall audio quality of the SoundTouch 300, too, as it’s less affected by DSP meddling and has a wider soundstage. You’re not going to be getting audiophile-level sounds with either model, but at least the sound stays more consistent with the Bose soundbar.