Bose and Sonos are highly competitive brands in the market, with the Bose Soundtouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar included in the lead. While these soundbars are both great, you may still end up wasting your money on a unit that doesn’t meet your standards.
Our in-depth audio tests on the Bose Soundtouch 300 vs Sonos Playbar, detailed below, should help you decide.
Bose Soundtouch 300 or Sonos Playbar?
Design & Size
Soundbars aren’t designed much differently from each other because they’re made to blend in. While they’re usually just black rectangular units, the details still make a difference.
The Bose SoundTouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar are both sleek. The SoundTouch 300 is topped with a glass finish, which adds a nice and modern touch to the unit. As for the outer shell itself, the black metallic mesh covering the speakers looks stylish and low-key at the same time.
The Sonos Playbar, on the other hand, has a very solid black design with gray lines top and bottom to complement the entire look. The Playbar’s colors are a bit flat compared to the SoundTouch, but the latter does a better job of staying inconspicuous under the TV.
When it comes to size, the Sonos Playbar is a tiny bit larger than the Bose SoundTouch 300. The difference is justifiable though, especially since Sonos houses nine speakers instead of Bose’s 5.
Still, the Bose SoundTouch 300 wins this round because of its posh design, compact size, and understated appearance.
Power & Sound Quality of the Bose SoundTouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar
Putting design aside, the power of the soundbar lies in the sound quality it can give. When we conducted the audio testing for this Sonos Playbar vs Bose SoundTouch 300 comparison, we found a bunch of differences and similarities between the two units.
The SoundTouch 300 has four drivers and one tweeter at the center for the bass. The central tweeter pushes out the lows effectively, but we can’t deny that it needs more punch. If you like toe-tapping audio quality, you may have to pair this unit with a subwoofer.
But what the SoundTouch 300 lacks in the bass, it makes up for with its wide soundstage. Compared to the Playbar, the sound of the Bose has more depth and detail, which gives it a competitive edge.
On the other hand, the Sonos Playbar has an impressive speaker arrangement with nine drivers in total. This set includes six mid-woofers and three tweeters, balancing the mids and lows nicely.
With this number of drivers, Sonos produces a wide range of tones. Additionally, the tweeters on the Playbar also pay attention to the higher frequencies, so you can make the voices pop louder when you watch movies or the news.
But while it appears that the Playbar wins because of the number of drivers, we find the wider soundstage of the SoundTouch 300 more appealing. The Playbar has a lighter, more mellow sound, and when the two models are placed side by side, the quality of the Bose emerges.
Then again, it will depend on the sound style you like. We do have to say that while both the SoundTouch 300 and Playbar are great choices for your home theater, you still need to add additional speakers to achieve surround sound – but more on this later.
Wireless technology is embedded in most soundbars today. So even if you need a direct power outlet to turn these soundbars on, you can connect other speakers through Bluetooth. This gives you flexibility when it comes to placement, sans messy wires on the floor.
Unfortunately, the Sonos Playbar doesn’t have Bluetooth built-in. This is a disappointing aspect in this unit, especially since it’s one of Sonos’ more expensive models. Nevertheless, you have Wi-Fi in this model.
Still, without Bluetooth, you can’t stream music from mobile devices. This is possible with the Bose SoundTouch 300 – again giving it the winning verdict in this round.
Compatibility of the Bose Soundtouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar
The ease of controlling your soundbar is also something to consider. For this comparison, our experts agree that the controls for the Bose SoundTouch are more convenient.
The SoundTouch 300 is compatible with the SoundTouch App, which lets you change the soundbar settings completely hands-free. If you want to stick with the traditional remote, there’s one included in the box as well.
Things work a little differently for the Sonos Playbar. You can sync up the unit with your TV remote by using a specific code that’s given to you. That way, you only use one remote for your TV and soundbar.
Voice commands are possible with both units, but the SoundTouch 300 still has the advantage because it works with Alexa, whereas the Playbar works with the less popular Echo.
Customization of the Bose Soundtouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar
Tailoring your soundbar according to your needs is an important aspect as well. This encompasses a few things, including controls, connections, and calibration features.
One unique thing about the SoundTouch 300 is its ADAPTiQ room calibration feature. During the setup, the soundbar will first scan the room in order to adjust the audio settings. This lets the soundbar produce audio that best fits the size of the room while fixing issues such as distortion.
In our experience, the process of setting up is easier with the Bose SoundTouch 300. Although the functions you can customize are similar between the two units, it’s easy for newbies to get confused with the Playbar’s setup.
If you want to enhance the sound quality you’re getting, you can add speakers to both the Bose SoundTouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar. These speakers include a wireless subwoofer and two rear speakers.
In the case of the Playbar, it can also be built upon on to form a Sonos 5.1 home theater system.
The speaker additions on both soundbars are great, but for the sake of comparison, Bose wins this round because you’ll be spending a little less money for the speakers.
Surround Sound Capability of the Bose Soundtouch 300 and the Sonos Playbar
Bass plays a crucial role when it comes to surround sound. And since the Sonos Playbar has a deeper bass compared to the SoundTouch 300, it’s the better choice between the two.
Plus, the Playbar’s nine class-D digital amplifiers effectively distribute wall-to-wall sound. The high number of drivers also presents an increase in sound range, although the soundstage of the SoundTouch 300 is wider.
However, regardless of which soundbar you choose, you can only achieve true surround sound when you add speakers to your home entertainment system .
HDMI ARC/Optical Input
Both the Playbar and the SoundTouch 300 have an optical input, so there’s not much to be said in that area. However, one difference is the HDMI ARC, which is only present in the Bose model.
The HDMI ARC capability of the Bose SoundTouch 300 allows the soundbar to relay 4K quality and decode DTS and Dolby Digital technologies. So, if you have a 4K TV or you’re planning to buy one, you can definitely use the SoundTouch 300 for a long time.
Playbar, on the other hand, has no HDMI ARC output. This poses limitations on the soundbar’s capabilities, especially in terms of transmitting high-resolution video and audio.
Which soundbar is better, Sonos or Bose?
Bose is a better soundbar than Sonos. Bose models that are in direct competition with their Sonos counterparts are equipped with better smart features, an easier setup, and deeper sound.
Overall Winner: Bose SoundTouch 300
The Bose SoundTouch 300 wins over the Sonos Playbar for a lot of reasons. It offers an easier setup, ADAPTiQ calibration, Alexa, deeper sound, Bluetooth, and HDMI-ARC compatibility. For almost the same price point, you get more with the SoundTouch 300.