The Bose Soundbar 700 and the Sonos Playbar are tough competitors. But while comparing their specs sheets will tell you the main differences at a glance, their actual performance tells an entirely different story.
Our experts have made a full comparison of the Bose Soundbar 700 vs Sonos Playbar to help you know which is better.
Bose Soundbar 700 or Sonos Playbar?
Features Comparison: Bose Soundbar 700 and Sonos Playbar
From the design alone, there are striking differences between the Bose Soundbar 700 and the Sonos Playbar. At a glance, Bose looks sleeker and more modern, while Sonos has an outdated design. This is not really a surprise, considering the Playbar was released in 2013 while the Soundbar 700 in 2018.
The Soundbar 700 features a glass top, which reflects the TV a bit when it’s placed under. This gives a more seamless look to the entire setup, and it has that premium feel as well. Available in black and white colors, you can choose which design fits your interior.
The top of the Bose Soundbar 700 features two touch-sensitive buttons. You’ll find all the ports at the rear, including the HDMI output with ARC, CEC, digital optical, and USB. There’s also a light bar on the design that lets you know if Google Assistant can hear you. There’s no HDMI input, though.
On the other hand, the Sonos Playbar’s design looks aged, and Sonos hasn’t updated this one yet since its release. The Playbar looks outdated even against the Sonos Playbase and other models from the brand. Most of the body has an aluminum finish, while the drivers have a soft fabric covering.
It can either be placed flat or on its side, but we recommend the latter so the speakers are facing you for the best quality sound. You can also place it in front of the TV or wall mount it if you want. The wall mount type for the 700 is universal while the Playbar has a proprietary wall mount.
Either way, the black and dark silver finish looks nice, but it lacks visual indicators for things like volume.
Instead of touch-sensitive controls, the Sonos Playbar features physical buttons on its side for play/pause and volume. At the back, you have a scanty amount of ports — the digital optical port, two ethernet ports, and the power supply.
Both devices feature 3.0 channels which you can upgrade to a 5. 1 channel setup, but more on that later in our reviews.
Overall, the Bose Soundbar 700 wins this round simply because its design is more modern and stylish. But if you’d go for the classic look, the Sonos Playbar looks nice.
When it comes to connectivity options, the Bose Soundbar 700 has a larger set than the Sonos Playbar.
For wired connections, Bose has ARC port, CEC, eARC, digital optical port, Ethernet, ADAPTIQ input, and USB for updates. There’s no full HDMI input in the set, however. On the other hand, Playbar is only using a digital optical and Ethernet connection.
The Soundbar 700 also has the upper hand when it comes to wireless options. It has Bluetooth, built-in Alexa, Google Assistant, and Wi-Fi. The wireless Bluetooth connection feature allows you to stream music from mobile devices, whereas Apple Airplay lets you cast content to the soundbar from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
In our tests, the Bose Soundbar 700 features an exceptionally well-designed voice control system for wireless control. It features an 8-mic array that’s spread across the soundbar, which can detect your voice commands from Alexa or Google Assistant even if you’re farther away from the device.
Also, the light bar does the best job of letting you know about Goodle Assistant or Alexa’s status. With it, you know if Alexa is listening, speaking, or still thinking of a response.
Unfortunately, Sonos doesn’t use the majority of these input/output connectivity options. It doesn’t have CEC, HDMI input, USB, wireless Bluetooth connection, Alexa, and Google Assistant for a wireless control setup. While it has voice control, you need to buy a separate Alexa-enabled device such as the Echo.
The only connections you’ll find, as mentioned, are Wi-Fi, digital optical input, and the two Ethernet ports on the back. It does keep things pretty simple for those who need to keep their setup clean .
Then again, at this price point, you would find other soundbars with more than what the Sonos Playbar offers in the setup aspect.
Dimensions and Specifications
The Bose Soundbar 700 is the longer one between the two soundbars, measuring 38.5″ x 2.25″ x 4.25″. Comparing the difference, the Sonos Playbar measures 35.5 inches wide, 3.35 inches tall, and 5.51 inches deep.
Since the Bose is longer, the 3.0-channel speaker might look too big if your TV measures under 50 inches.
When it comes to weight, the Soundbar 700 is slightly lighter at 10.5 lbs, while the Sonos Playbar weighs 11.9 lbs. Both soundbars can be placed in front of your TV or wall-mounted, although you have to buy a separate mounting kit for either device.
Both soundbars are capable of 5.1 channel surround sound. However, in our reviews, the composition of their drivers is different. Bose has 4 mid range cones and 1 center channel tweeter, whereas Sonos has 6 mid range drivers and 3 tweeters. We’ll discuss the audio quality and dialogue later.
They can both stand alone, but if you need to add more bass to the audio, you can buy a separate subwoofer for the Bose Soundbar 700 and the Sonos Playbar – the Bose Bass Module 700 and the Sonos Sub, respectively. The same goes for the rear speakers, as both soundbars are buildable systems.
However, we find that the sub might be unnecessary for most users. One factor is that the sound of the mid-range cones is already excellent on its own and that the subwoofer will almost double the cost.
Audio Quality: Sonos Playbar vs Bose Soundbar 700
With both having 3.0 channels, audio is a tough battle between the Soundbar 700 and the Sonos Playbar. They both produce high quality sound without a subwoofer, but of course, one must prevail. Our audio experts have done a complete test on both devices, so let’s break down the results.
In our listening room, the Bose Soundbar 700 sound system provided excellent wall-to-wall sound. Although the drivers are non-surround sound and there’s no subwoofer, it supports DTS:X and Dolby Digital. The audio quality is rich and the voices are crystal clear. Watching movies, shows, and video content is enjoyable, and the audio experience with the bass was enough even without the sub.
Since this 3.0-channel soundbar is a little bit wider than the Sonos model, the soundstage is slightly wider as well. The channels can utilize a living room’s acoustics nicely without distortion, and it felt like audio was coming from all directions even if there are no other speakers to support the unit. Whether it’s music or dialogue, the drivers provide a great experience.
That said, the Playbar’s bass is deep, but it doesn’t quite get there compared to the Bose. Some users might prefer this audio experience, though, especially if you prefer to keep the audio well-balanced. If you want 5.1 surround sound but you’re not too picky in this aspect, the Playbar is already impressive compared to most sound bars in the market. It supports Dolby Digital, but not DTS.
With all that said, the Bose Soundbar 700 is the better option for sound quality. Its stereo frequency response is more accurate, and it also compresses less sound at a loud volume — resulting in less distortion, clear dialogue, and the best overall experience even without a subwoofer.
Still, the sound difference in each sound system is not that noticeable for any average user. Both home theater systems perform great even without Dolby Atmos, it’s just that the Soundbar 700 has a slightly better sound quality.
Compared to the Bose Soundbar 700, Sonos Playbar has a more affordable price. Both products aren’t cheap, though, so each one is still a good investment.
If you prefer true 5.1 surround sound, you still have to buy a set of one subwoofer and two rear speakers. Converting to a 5. 1 channel setup will drive up the cost, but the bass and dialogue will provide the best experience. While there may be other soundbars that feature a separate subwoofer, it’s not the same as what these high-end models can offer.
Setting up the Bose 700 vs Sonos Playbar may be a bit easier because of the ARC port, but the process is pretty much the same.
For Bose, start by placing the soundbar on top of your entertainment unit. Make sure that it’s at least 1 to 3 feet away from other wireless devices for better control. Then, connect the soundbar to your TV using the included cable.
Plug in the soundbar to a power source. You’ll know that it’s successfully connected when the light bar emits an amber glow. Then, download the Bose Music app to your phone to control the rest of the process.
For the Sonos Playbar, first place it on your TV rack or mount it on the wall. If you have any surround sound components connected to your TV, disconnect them. If you have any other devices such as a game console, connect them to the TV.
Using the digital optical audio cable, connect the soundbar and the TV. Then, plug in the soundbar to a power source.
Once they’re successfully connected, you’re now ready to download the Sonos App on your Apple or Android phone. Similar to the Bose app, the Sonos app will then walk you through each of the remaining steps and sound preferences.
As you can see, the setup is pretty similar between the two. Just remember that when setting up the sound bar, best connect it to your TV first.
But in addition to that, you can also go through the ADAPTIQ calibration step for the Bose Soundbar 700. ADAPTIQ is a set-up feature that optimizes the sound settings of the speaker based on the room and where you’re sitting.
Sonos has a similar speaker function on the Sonos app — Trueplay. However, you can only use this if you have an Apple device. Whereas for Bose, the function can be used on both Android and iOS.
For the best sound, both soundbars can be converted to a 5. 1 channel system. While the full-range drivers provide well-balanced and quality sound, adding surround speakers to the soundbar further improves the output with no distortion.
If you need to play music or video through a mobile device, Bose has the upper hand because it has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for streaming and access to music services. It also has Google Assistant, and is multi-room capable with the Bose Music App. The Sonos Playbar only has Wi-Fi, so that might limit some users.
Plus, you can also use the universal remote control included with the Bose Soundbar 700. Sonos Playbar, on the other hand, doesn’t have a remote control included.
The advantage of a universal remote is you can program your TV remote control to modify your home theater settings.
Sonos Playbar and Bose Soundbar 700 Performance
The Bose Soundbar 700 is the one that stands out because of its more updated interface and connectivity functions. While the Playbar features superb sound quality, its shortcomings put the Soundbar 700 in the lead.
The sheer lack of support for connectivity options such as full HDMI ports, wireless Bluetooth, remote control, and voice control in Sonos can limit users in most room set-ups today. It may keep things simple, but you just get more value with Bose.
But considering that the Sonos Playbar has been in the market for longer, it’s impressive that it remains one of the best soundbars today. If you want a classic look, superb surround sound-like experience, no distortion, and a time-tested speaker, the Playbar is the best way to go.
Overall Winner: Bose Soundbar 700
We give our winning verdict to the Bose Soundbar 700 for a lot of good reasons. It offers a sleek and modern design, a wide range of connectivity functions, exceptional surround sound quality, Dolby Digital, DTS, Wi-Fi support, voice control, and a great overall audio design that justifies the price.