Bose SoundTouch 10 review: This compact wireless speaker works with everything and packs some surprising punch

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MSRP: $199.95

The Good The Bose SoundTouch 10 is a very compact Wi-Fi speaker that plays much bigger than its size would indicate, and it offers convenience features like Bluetooth and shortcut buttons. The app is pleasant to use and most functions are straightforward. The sound is impressive with surprisingly punchy bass (for a small speaker) and an articulate, exciting midrange.

The Bad The revealing nature of the speaker means some genres of music can sound a little harsh at higher volumes. There's no mute button and no integrated battery for on-the-go use. The competing Sonos offers more services over Wi-Fi, more sound-tailoring features and a superior app.

The Bottom Line The affordable Bose SoundTouch 10 is an impressive sounding compact Wi-Fi wireless speaker that also offers Bluetooth connectivity.

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8.2 Overall

Bose's SoundTouch 10 is the smallest and least expensive Wi-Fi speaker in the company's line of DIY wireless multiroom audio systems, all of which added Bluetooth to their features list in late 2015.

At $200, £160 or AU$299, the SoundTouch 10 competes with Sonos' Play:1 speaker. It's similar in size, though the Bose is taller and thinner, measuring 8.34 by 5.56 by 3.43 inches (21.2 cm by 14.1 by 8.7 cm). It's lighter, too, weighing 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) compared to the Play:1's 4.3 pounds (2 kg). Despite being compact, however, neither speaker has an integrated battery for on-the-go use; they must be plugged into an outlet. (Note that you can step up to SoundTouch 20 and SoundTouch 30 models -- they're bigger and pricier, but with identical features.)

Like Sonos, you connect SoundTouch speakers to your Wi-Fi network and control operation via a free app that's available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices. While your phone or tablet acts as remote Bose also includes a small remote control that mimics the six preset buttons on top of the speaker. Those presets can be mapped to playlists from various music sources, including Spotify, Pandora and Deezer, as well as Internet radio stations, though currently not the Apple Music service.

The Bose SoundTouch 10 has six 'shortcut' preset buttons on top of the speaker.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Early in 2016, Bose integrated the Spotify music streaming service into its SoundTouch app (you can also use Spotify Connect to stream music to a SoundTouch system directly from the Spotify app). Like Sonos, Bose keeps updating its app, adding new features, and improving the interface. It's come a long way since its launch a few years ago and setting up the system is now significantly easier than it once was.

While Sonos remains a step ahead -- we still prefer its app, and it has a wider selection of integrated streaming services -- Bose has closed the gap and is now Sonos' most serious competitor, with a wide range of speakers and home-theater systems that bear the SoundTouch name, all of which are able to interconnect as part of a whole-home multiroom audio system.

You can wirelessly link speakers to play the same music in separate rooms or have different music playing in different rooms. However, unlike Sonos, you currently can't link two speakers and turn them into a true stereo pair, designating one speaker as left, the other as right. That may change in the future.

In terms of file compatibility, the speaker will stream music from your network and supports playback of MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless and FLAC. Audiophiles should be aware that like Sonos and Denon's HEOS system it will only support CD-quality files and not 24-bit high-res files.

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