New Alexa-powered Bose smart speakers and sound bars take aim at Sonos, HomePod

Bose says they'll hear your Alexa voice commands even when you're playing them loud.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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The Bose Home Speaker goes on sale in October for $400.


Bose may be one of the biggest brands in the traditional speaker market, but the company knows that connected smart speakers are the future. With Amazon's Alexa voice assistant fully integrated into its new models, the company is clearly gunning for premium rivals like Sonos and Apple. But the company says its new wireless smart speaker, the Home Speaker 500, and two new smart soundbars -- the Soundbar 700 and Soundbar 500 -- are inspired by a different vision to make the experience uniquely better.

"All of our new smart speakers double up on functionality," said Doug Cunningham, category manager in the Bose Consumer Electronics Division. "It takes just one Home Speaker 500 to deliver true stereo separation -- there's no need to pair two. Our Soundbar 700 and 500 are thin and discreet with jaw-dropping surround sound -- whether you're streaming Spotify or watching a movie."

They also combine Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and can be mixed and matched to play in sync or separately as multiroom speakers. Beyond shipping with Alexa, Bose says other voice assistants will be added in the future, along with Apple's AirPlay 2, which will arrive in early 2019 via a software upgrade.

Aside from the sound, Bose says one of the key differentiating features is its proprietary mic technology, found in Bose headsets and headphones, that will allow the speakers "to hear commands better over louder listening levels."

All three speakers will be available in October and they aren't cheap (the Home Speaker 500 costs $50 more than Apple's HomePod). We'll let you know if they sound as good as Bose says they do as soon as we get our hands on review samples. In the meantime here's a quick look at the key features for the new speakers, according to Bose.

Bose's new smart speakers: Home Speaker 500, Soundbar 700 and Soundbar 500

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Home Speaker 500

  • Bose says the Home Speaker 500 has "the widest soundstage of any smart speaker available today"
  • Wrapped in seamless anodized aluminum
  • Dimensions (HWD): 8 by 6 by 4 inches
  • Uses two custom drivers pointed in opposite directions, "so sound reflects off surrounding walls, separating instruments to the far left and right, and placing vocals where the artist did"
  • Price: $400 (no word yet on international pricing, but we'll add it as soon as we get it)
  • Available in October

Soundbar 700

  • Bose says it was "engineered to outperform every other product in its category, matching its stunning performance with equally stunning design"
  • Dimensions (HWD): 2 by 38 by 4 inches
  • Wraparound metal grille and tempered glass top
  • Bose PhaseGuides send multiple channels of a soundtrack or song throughout a space, placing discrete sound in places where there are no speakers
  • Bose DSP, custom low-profile transducers, and QuietPort technology deliver detail and depth to the sound
  • To manage the TV or other connected equipment, an intelligent universal remote is included
  • Can be wall-mounted or expanded with a wireless bass module and rear speakers for a full 5.1 experience
  • HDMI audio return channel (ARC)
  • Price: $800
  • Available in October

Soundbar 500 

  • Dimensions (HWD): 1.75 by 31 y 4 inches
  • Subtle matte finish to match your TV
  • Can be wall-mounted or expanded with a wireless bass module and rear speakers for a full 5.1 experience
  • Price: $550
  • Available in October

Originally published 8:16 a.m. PT