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This Bose Solo Soundbar 2 review investigates the usability and sound profile of a basic, no-frills soundbar. The Bose Solo Series II is a 2.0-channel soundbar with a compact exterior and a simple assignment: To enhance stereo sound and outperform internal TV speakers. Let’s find out how well the device does its assignment.
Bose Solo Soundbar 2 review: The brand and the product
Bose has a reputation for producing durable, reliable products with high-fidelity sound output.
The company’s headphones, speakers, and soundbars have well-assembled exteriors made from sturdy material. Most of their products create a soundstage with enough room to showcase different elements of an audio track. This type of consistency means you can expect high-quality audio from Bose equipment in every price range.
Build quality and sound output are consistently good for most Bose devices, but the features that inform user experience vary. Top-tier and mid-range Bose products have smart features that enhance overall usability. These higher-end devices are also more versatile, and they work with all kinds of Bose and third-party electronics.
On the other hand, budget Bose equipment keeps it simple with few media ports and even fewer smart features. The Solo Soundbar Series 2 falls in the latter category, as this review will soon reveal.
Before diving in, we note that the Bose Solo Soundbar 2 ships with an optical cable and wall-mount gear.
Design and build
At 21 inches long, the Bose Solo II looks like a giant tongue depressor. Much of the soundbar’s body is solid black plastic, while a metal grille covers the front and sides.
Adjacent surfaces on the soundbar form snug seams, with no gaps for dust and particles to penetrate.
A pair of LED status lights sits at the front of the soundbar. These lights are the only ‘user interface’ that the Bose Solo 2 soundbar provides. That means that you’ll need to make good friends with the user guide that comes with the equipment.
In keeping with their bare-bones concept, Bose includes zero buttons on the Solo Series II soundbar. This leaves you fully dependent on the remote, the status lights at the front of the soundbar, and your trusty user guide. The good news is that the user guide is helpful and decoding the status lights is fairly easy. Lastly, you’ll find a bass port and a small selection of media ports at the back.
Bose Solo soundbar 2 review: Connectivity
Bluetooth is the most versatile connection option that the Bose Solo 2 offers. The wireless connection allows you to connect a variety of devices, TVs, and compatible home electronics.
Buyers who already own Bose equipment can integrate the Solo soundbar into their larger sound system. Bluetooth connectivity also allows for wireless connections to compatible TVs and most mobile devices.
Physical media ports consist of an auxiliary jack, an optical input, and a coaxial connector. There’s also a USB port that supports administrative tasks like firmware updates.
Bose’s Solo 2 soundbar will fit nicely between the TV feet of a mid-sized screen. At 2.5 inches high, the device will leave a clear line of sight to the IR receiver of most TVs. Mounting the soundbar is also an option, and the company provides the gear you need for a wall-mount setup.
Once the soundbar is in place, simply power the device and connect it to the TV. The simplest TV connection would be via the optical cable that ships with the soundbar. You could also use the AUX or coaxial ports if you have compatible media cables.
A Bluetooth connection will also work if your TV supports wireless connections. All you need is the user manual to show you how to enable the soundbar’s Bluetooth.
Lastly, get into the TV’s sound settings and select the Bose Solo II from the list of audio outputs. The process is similar when connecting the soundbar to other equipment or mobile devices.
Bose Solo soundbar 2 review: Operation and ease of use
It would be nice if the Bose Solo 2 soundbar had a companion app that provides a graphical interface. However, budget soundbars from this brand prioritize reliability and audio quality over bells and whistles.
The remote and status lights provide the only means to operate the soundbar. Volume buttons adjust the loudness and bass level of the soundbar. Dedicated TV and Bluetooth buttons allow you to choose the input source of the audio you want to hear. You also get a button that enhances dialog and other vocal elements.
A dedicated bass button is the closest you get to customizing the sound output of the Bose Solo 2. Lastly, you can use the power button to program the soundbar’s auto-wake feature. This feature activates the soundbar whenever an audio signal reaches the Bose Solo II.
You’ll need to keep the user manual on hand to decode the soundbar’s responses to the remote. Luckily there are only two LED lights that you have to deal with. This makes it easier for you to learn the combination of blinks, stares, and color changes of the status lights.
This 2.0-channel soundbar has a full-range driver on either end. The two front-firing drivers sit at angles that maximize the width and height of the soundstage. A small bass port at the back of the device does its best to enhance output from the soundbar’s integrated subwoofer.
Bose Solo soundbar 2 review: Performance and audio quality
Bose’s entry-level soundbar does accurate sound reproduction, thanks to a neutral sound profile for treble and mid-range frequencies. From a listener’s perspective, the neutral frequency response translates to clear voice elements and foreground instruments. The equipment’s native ‘sound palette’ provides enough material for a balanced blend of distinct audio elements.
For a compact piece of equipment, the Solo Series 2 has a roomy sound stage. There’s enough space for different audio elements to stand out while melding into a detailed blend of sound.
The soundbar’s full-range drivers simulate a virtual center channel that sounds fine. Still, a single pair of drivers can only do so much to create a distinct center channel. The resulting slight lack of focus in the sound stage has little effect on overall sound quality.
While the soundbar can render lower frequencies, you still need a subwoofer to produce loud, punchy bass. This is the near-inevitable limitation of a standalone soundbar.
- Effective dialog enhancement feature
- Accurate sound reproduction in treble and mid-range frequencies
- Detailed, well-balanced audio
- Easy setup
- Reliable performance
- Good build quality
- The lack of a digital interface leaves you dependent on the user manual
- This budget soundbar lacks connection options like WiFi and HDMI
- A lack of equalizer features and audio presets limits your customization options
Bose Solo soundbar 2 review: Solid performance from a simple, no-frills soundbar
On one hand, the Bose Solo soundbar series 2 delivers quality audio at a reasonable price. On the other hand, you’ll need to make friends with the user guide as you learn how to operate the soundbar. For many bargain hunters, this drawback is either an acceptable tradeoff or a fun challenge.
This Bose Solo soundbar 2 review finds a basic device that excels at creating loud, clear sound. Click here to learn more about this soundbar.