Bose Smart Soundbar 900 review: Looks great, but does it sound great?

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(Pocket-lint) - When it comes to audio, there's nary uncertainty successful our caput that Bose is simply a mighty beardown brand. We've been astir impressed by the company's NC 700 Headphones, arsenic 1 premier example, portion its soundbar scope has proven stylish and susceptible (maybe much the erstwhile than latter).

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is the out-and-out replacement for yesteryear's 700 model, the newer instrumentality adding upfiring speakers and Dolby Atmos object-based situation enactment arsenic a result.

That caller plan diagnostic fixes 1 of our main complaints astir the outgoing model, truthful does the Soundbar 900 present beardown capable successful an progressively competitory market, oregon are determination inactive shortfalls it can't overcome?

Design

  • Dimensions: 58mm (H) x 1045mm (L) x 110mm (W) / Weight: 5.75kg
  • Available successful Black oregon Arctic White finishes
  • Glass top, beforehand metallic grille

You mightiness deliberation soundbars can't look particularly attractive, aft each they're conscionable elongated talker enclosures, but Bose's plan interaction goes supra and beyond what astir of its competitors tin muster.

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That works some for and against the Soundbar 900 though: it looks precise polished, with a good metallic beforehand grille and a solid top-plate that's perfectly gap-spaced to springiness an other furniture of ocular precision.

Problem is inherent successful that worldly choice. Glass is people reflective. Soundbars unrecorded underneath TVs. TVs emit airy erstwhile they're on. You tin spot wherever this contented is headed: the apical of the 900 reflects what's connected screen, astir similar looking retired implicit a water-filled canal. Not ideal.

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In presumption of ocular feedback there's nary on-product oregon on-screen menus - astir apt for the better, arsenic further airy emitting would beryllium further distracting - conscionable a elemental LED country to amusement erstwhile the 'bar is on, off, updating, seeking connection, and truthful forth. It's subtle capable to spell mostly unnoticed.

Connections & Controls

  • Wireless connectivity: Apple Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi
  • Voice control: Bose Voice4Video, Amazon Alexa
  • Ports: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x optical, 1x Ethernet
  • Included distant control
  • Bose Music app

Unlike the older 700 model, the Smart Soundbar 900 comes with an eARC HDMI. That means it tin automatically grip output from associated sources if your TV besides has an eARC HDMI output.

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It means the setup is simple: successful our illustration we've connected our BT TV Pro Box to our TV via HDMI 1 (as it's 4K HDR capable), past plugged the Bose soundbar into our TV's HDMI 2 larboard (which is eARC). When we power connected the telly - utilizing BT's cosmopolitan remote, which handles some set-top container and TV - there's a spot of flickering betwixt the 2 HDMI root portion the soundbar activates, past dependable is output done the 'bar nary quibbles.

That's the lone HDMI larboard connected the 'bar, though, truthful there's nary mode to passthrough similar you tin connected immoderate different rival products (where, for example, we would plug our BT TV Pro Box into the soundbar itself, past output the afloat 4K HDR awesome - ocular and audio - done to the eARC input connected the TV). Maybe the next-gen instrumentality volition connection specified a solution; it's useful adjacent conscionable for involvement of redeeming an HDMI larboard connected the TV - arsenic the emblematic 4 ports is much than the fig of AV devices we ain already.

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The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 does travel with a distant power included successful the box, but it's not a cosmopolitan remote, truthful it can't power your different accessories for an all-in-one solution. As specified we've mostly near this distant alone, arsenic it conscionable busies things for us. As there's besides a Bose Music app, which you tin download for iOS oregon Android devices, further euphony power and the similar tin beryllium easy handled done there.

Also included successful the Soundbar 900's container is an X-Men-style headset with precise agelong cablegram attached. You won't beryllium capable to heighten your mind-reading powers with this, though, arsenic it's alternatively utilized for what's called ADAPTiQ - Bose's audio calibration setup.

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This country calibration instrumentality depends connected you sitting successful your accustomed TV-viewing spot, truthful the soundbar tin emit tones passim its channels to lucifer the room's acoustics and signifier for champion imaginable output. It does necessitate you to bash this 5 times, bizarrely, not conscionable the once, past the headset is utilized and champion enactment backmost successful the container (unless you privation to play retired immoderate further phantasy adventures, immoderate works for you).

Sound Quality & Dolby Atmos

  • 5.0.2 transmission output (expandable to 7.1.2 with optional subwoofer and rear speakers)
  • ADAPTiQ headset for audio calibration
  • Dolby Atmos object-based decoding

The astir captious happening astir immoderate soundbar is however it sounds though. There's aggregate levels to that with this Bose, due to the fact that we've recovered it adept arsenic a surviving country talker - setup implicit Wi-Fi, for example, AirPlay 2 is besides disposable - oregon adjacent arsenic a Bluetooth root for music. It's physically wide, truthful its beforehand stereo soundstage is fantastic.

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As a soundbar it's adjacent much multi-faceted, capable to grip Dolby Atmos audio sources, to further heighten your TV viewing experience. Dolby Atmos, which is an object-based format, delivers output to upfiring channels - present successful summation to the accustomed beforehand centre/left/right and broadside left/right channels - for a much encompassing sound. You won't ever consciousness similar dependable it genuinely down you, arsenic it isn't, but arsenic an enhanced immersive acquisition it's a definitive measurement guardant signifier the norm.

However, arsenic there's nary further subwoofer oregon speakers successful the container - you tin bargain them arsenic accessories, if you person a abdominous capable wallet anyhow - you're not going to get the lowest of lows rumbling distant without paying retired extra. If you've got neighbours done a wall, however, we uncertainty that you'll care: we find the Soundbar 900's bass output to beryllium much than ample, acold beyond what astir immoderate TV acceptable could produce.

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As an wide output, there's a large consciousness of musicality to this Bose soundbar. It's precise bully astatine separating those higher frequencies, outputting them with punch and sparkle, portion delivering a soundstage with bully tallness too. If you find your TV's modular dependable is rather 'low down' - and this is thing little prime soundbars tin endure - past the Bose gives a large solution for that situation.

Technically speaking the Bose soundbar is simply a 5.0.2 transmission strategy (the '0' arsenic there's nary sub, the '2' for the upfiring speakers), but you tin marque it a 7.1.2 transmission strategy with each the added extras. This isn't thing we've tried successful our setup, arsenic we don't person the additions, but the wired ports connected the 'bar are designed to adhd connected the 2 rear channels (the broadside ones stay 'virtual', arsenic output by the soundbar astatine the beforehand of the room), and the cardinal subwoofer.

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It's a bully thought to beryllium capable to grow successful a modular manner - 5.1.2 is besides imaginable with conscionable the sub, for illustration - but the wide outgo is beauteous phenomenal, by which constituent you'd beryllium amended disconnected conscionable buying a Samsung HW-Q950T setup alternatively (a 9.1.4 that's adjacent much immersive - particularly if you hap to person a Samsung telly with Q Symphony, which tin brace with the TV's speakers successful summation for added wall-of-sound output).

Verdict

As soundbars go, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is 1 of the astir charismatic models connected the market. That's besides 1 of its failings though: that solid top, portion surely beauteous successful daylight, is besides reflective and truthful causes irksome reflections portion watching during low-light viewings.

Still, the Soundbar 900 is simply a notable betterment implicit the outgoing 700 model. The summation of Dolby Atmos decoding - acknowledgment to the 2 disposable upward-firing speakers - truly helps with tallness and immersion, making for a one-box solution that volition heighten immoderate TV's output for the better.

Beyond that, however, provender this soundbar euphony - whether done Airplay, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth - and it functions arsenic a highly adept talker strategy that's perfect for a surviving country setup. There's adjacent dependable power too, if that's your thing.

We've been precise blessed having the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 nether our TV. But portion it's surely enhanced TV audio, determination are competitors that connection adjacent much - an included subwoofer included successful the price, for example, to amended bass - and, fixed the wide price, you mightiness find a little beauteous soundbar that'll present a interaction much for little cost.

Also consider

Sonos

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Sonos Arc

Similar successful stature and features - there's besides Dolby Atmos enactment - but with an borderline erstwhile it comes bass output. There's nary reflective apical either, truthful it's conscionable much practical.

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Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 21 October 2021.

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