Bose SoundTouch Controller: A $99 remote for Bose's wireless audio system

The Bose SoundTouch Controller is a $99 wall-mountable remote for Bose's wireless audio systems -- but it can control only one unit at a time.

Ty Pendlebury
Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
2 min read

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Back in the days when home automation was expensive, the lucky few users who could afford it would control their homes via large, tablet-size remotes and wall-mounted control panels (think Crestron). Though smartphone and tablet apps have made these appendages largely redundant, Bose wants to bring some pre-iPad nostalgia back to audio with the SoundTouch Controller, a hardware remote for the company's networked line of audio products.

The Bose SoundTouch Controller is a puck-shaped device with a centralized, multiline display OLED screen. (Looking at it, one immediately thinks of an audio version of the Nest thermostat.) It's designed to control all of Bose's SoundTouch components, such as the SoundTouch 20 , and it's included with the SoundTouch Stereo JC system and SA-4 amplifier.

Bose SoundTouch Wi-Fi audio systems (pictures)

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Here's the kicker though: the Controller operates via Bluetooth with a system component located within up to 70 feet, and this means the remote can control only one system at a time. No multiroom control here -- for that, you will need to use the app.

The Controller comes with wall-mount bracket. It's also portable if you wanted to take it with you, but you would then have to re-pair it with another system, again using the app.

The only reasons to buy this for your Soundtouch 20 would be that it has hardware buttons -- unlike the existing iOS and Android smartphone app -- and it saves a little bit of time unlocking your phone and launching the software.

At $99, though, it's pricey for what it does, especially given that the SoundTouch app is free -- and the lack of multiroom control is extremely limiting.

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