Bose Home Speaker 500 with Alexa AND Bluetooth wants a piece of Sonos One's sweet, sweet home AI action

Also incoming: not one but two Alexa-fied Bose soundbars, gunning for Sonos Beam

Bose Home Speaker

Have you hankered after a Sonos One – without doubt one of the best products of the past 12 months – but held back thinking, "but I need Bluetooth… and a screen… and I want it to look quite a lot uglier," (well, that's how it looks in the photos; maybe it's nicer in real life)? Then the Bose Home Speaker 500 is what you've been waiting for.

Bose Home Speaker 500: Oh! You not-so-pretty thing…

The Home Speaker 500 – which, come on guys, that is a terrible name – will also get AirPlay 2 for simple streaming from Apple devices in early 2019, but for many the killer advantage it has over Sonos is the inclusion of Bluetooth. This simple and largely fool-proof way of streaming sound remains incredibly popular, despite multiple advances in Wi-Fi-based streaming. 

Bose is claiming the widest sound stage of any smart speaker – it "crushes the limitations of spaciousness from a single enclosure," apparently. Just having stereo from one box is impressive enough in this market, however.

“Voice-controlled speakers aren’t new, and there are plenty of great options to choose from. But we had a different vision for ours, inspired by what we could uniquely do to make the experience better,” crowed Doug Cunningham, category manager in the Bose Consumer Electronics Division. “All of our new smart speakers double up on functionality.  It takes just one Home Speaker 500 to deliver true stereo separation – there’s no need to pair two.  

Also likely to impress is the inclusion of the same mic tech found in Bose headsets and headphones. Alexa's hearing is not great at the best of times, and being able to pick up your mumbled orders over the sound of loud music is a huge technical challenge. 

Here, a custom-designed eight-microphone array is 'precisely positioned for accurate near-field and far-field voice pickup — when it’s quiet, noisy, or your music is playing loudly.' 

Bose has used two custom drivers, pointed in opposite directions, bouncing sound off walls, 'separating instruments to the far left and right, and placing vocals where the artist did.' 

With Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Alexa, you've certainly got no shortage of musical options, although you will need an Amazon Prime Music or Music Unlimited subscription, or Spotify, to make the most of Alexa's a-whicky-whicky-waaaa-wup-DJing skills. 

Multi-room listening is also possible. That screen is just for looking at album art, not making video calls as on the Echo Spot. The unpleasingly squat casing is seamless anodised aluminium is a compact 20.3cm high x 16.9cm wide x 10.9cm deep, and has buttons up top, for controlling basic functions.

Bose Soundbar 700 and 500 (pictured here): gunning for Beam

For all your under-the-telly audio needs, the Bose Soundbar 700 and 500 again combine Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Alexa for access to a whole lotta music, and 'unbeatable ease of use.' 

The Bose Soundbar 700 was engineered to outperform every other product in its category, and looks considerably nicer than the Home Speaker 500. It's 5.7cm high by 10.8cm deep and 98cm long, and looks a treat in subtly curved metal and tempered glass. 

To mimick surround sound without needing additional speakers, Bose PhaseGuides send multiple channels of a soundtrack or song throughout a space, 'placing discrete sound in places where there are no speakers.'  There's also an intelligent universal remote thrown in. 

The more affordable Soundbar 500 is smaller (4.4cm x 10.2cm, and just over 81cm long, with 'a subtle matte finish to fit neatly under a television screen, virtually invisible – until you turn it on.'

Both the Soundbar 500 and 700 use Bose's ADAPTiQ to optimise sound to your lounge. HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) is supported – Sonos only just got around to adding this to its range with the Beam – and the speakers can be wall-mounted, and also expanded into a proper 5.1 setup with the addition of a wireless bass module and mini rear speakers.

• The Home Speaker 500 (£399.95) , Soundbar 500 (£499.95) and Soundbar 700 (£799.95) will all go on sale in October at Bose retail stores,, and from authorised Bose dealers. 

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."