Smart devices are all the rage now. The smartness has infiltrated audio devices first. But while the first wave of speakers have been smart they have not been the sort of speakers that will enthuse serious music lovers. This is set to change as the best speaker manufacturers across the world start releasing their first smart devices. Bose too has jumped on the bandwagon with its Home Speaker range powered by Amazon Alexa.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a medium size speaker for the home. It looks like the usual Bose speaker even though the design is somewhat different from earlier models. There are some attributes you will identify though—the stylish but sober design, the preset channels on the top and the subtle Bose branding.
Setting up the device is easy. You will, however, need both your Alexa and Bose Music app on the phone. Once you find and connect the Bose Home Speaker 500 via the Bose Music app, you can connect the services you want to play via the speaker—I selected Spotify and JioSaavn apps. Then you can connect the speaker to your Alexa account. The skills you have enabled are automatically available on this speaker too. But along with that, every time you ask for a song Alexa can look it up via the other connected apps too.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is different from its predecessors also because it comes with a display on the front. This shows album art of the song you are playing, especially when you are streaming the number.
The audio quality is what you would expect from a Bose. It is sharp, it is deep and it is rich. Also, the way Bose has made this speaker, the music fills the room wherever it is switched on. I played the entire breadth of songs from a Bombay Jayashri to Leonard Cohen, all streaming from Amazon Prime Music or from JioSaavn. There is no doubt that the Bose Home Speaker 500 can make everything sound good. The speaker can go pretty loud too if needed. However, that is better experienced from another corner of the room, or you will feel the notes in your chest.
You can control the device with Alexa voice commands, through the touch panel on top of the speaker and via the Bose Music app. This is the sort of convenience we will get used to as voice controlled devices become more popular. Also, you can use this as a simple Bluetooth speaker.
My only issue with the Bose Home Speaker 500 was that at times it failed to respond when I asked Alexa to pause as music was being streamed. Once or twice I got the response that this service was not available in my country, though the music was being streamed from the same service. This seems to be some software quirk. Also, the Alexa version seems to be an international one and fails to recognise some of the commands and lacks the ability to pull up some of the requests.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 also works well with the TV set as it has the range to offer a good home theatre experience with whatever you are watching. Look at this also as a replacement for your soundbar.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is one of the best sounding smart speakers in the market at the moment, and there are not a lot of choices in this segment for now. Buy this if you want to stream high-quality music just the way you like to hear it.
Estimated street price: Rs 39,000