If you use a lot of smart home devices, Amazon’s Alexa offers one of the most convenient ways to control them, as you can switch them on, turn them off, and perform all sorts of actions using simple voice commands. And you can get access to it with a cheap Echo speaker. If you prefer listening to music on speakers that sound a lot better, though, then you’re better off shopping for one of the higher-end smart speakers released of late, like the Sonos One or the Google Home Max. Or something like the Bose Home Speaker 500.
Touted to have “the widest sound of any smart speaker,” the device boasts the ability to fill the room with wall-to-wall sound, creating a powerful soundstage that delivers “astonishing stereo performance.” Whether you’re working on the car in the garage, cooking up a feast in the kitchen, or having drinks in the living room with a big group of friends, this thing should crank out your music with a big and satisfying sound.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 uses two custom drivers that are pointed in opposite directions, allowing it to achieve true stereo audio separation without the need for a multi-speaker setup. There isn’t a lot of specs on the audio hardware ensconced inside the speaker’s aluminum shell, although the outfit seems really confident about the audio quality the rig can produce. While designed for use with Alexa, it comes with capacitive buttons on top for folks who don’t like talking to robots, along with six programmable presets to quickly tune in to your desired music sources.
An eight-microphone array with far-field technology allows it to pick up voice commands even with the music blaring at loud volumes, with Alexa providing the appropriate response, whether you want to load a different music service, set an alarm, or check on any of your smart home devices. It supports all of Alexa’s core features, from music playback and information requests to operating smart home devices and skills, so you should be able to do most everything you can do with a regular Echo (no word on whether it supports calling and messaging, though).
The Bose Home Speaker 500 has a small display out front, which, from what we can tell, is designed strictly for showing album art, so you can check it out whenever you’re curious about the song that’s playing. There’s also a companion app that you can use to manage presets and control the speaker, so you can use it as a third option after the capacitive buttons and Alexa voice commands. Onboard Wi-Fi allows it to hop onto your home network for streaming music from online services, along with Bluetooth for playing music files from your phone. There’s also a 3.5mm jack for plugging in a music source directly. Do note, this is designed strictly for home use, so you’ll have to plug in to a wall outlet for power (no batteries).
Slated to come out September 20, the Bose Home Speaker 500 is priced at $399.95.