The last bose sound bar, the $499 Smart Soundbar 600, is the company’s latest drop in the cat-and-mouse game it plays with Sonos. In 2021, Sonos updated its compact beam soundbar with Dolby Atmos, giving it a feature that Bose’s similarly priced and feature-rich Smart Soundbar 300 didn’t. The Smart Soundbar 600 addresses that gap and even moves the needle a little further by integrating upward-firing drivers, something the Beam lacks. It will be available on October 20, but you can reserve it from October 10.
For those not immersed in the minutiae of Dolby Atmos, the 3D immersive sound format takes advantage of height as well as surround left/right/center and rear speakers. But not all Dolby Atmos soundbars have dedicated, upward-firing drivers to bounce those high-altitude sounds from the ceiling to your viewing position. The second-gen Sonos Beam is one of these soundbars, and it uses virtualization to create that sense of height.
Virtualization can be very effective, but it’s rarely as good as dedicated controllers, so we’d expect the Bose Smart Soundbar 600 to have an edge in this area. It also has a set of track-shaped side drivers that can extend the sound to the sides, and a dedicated center driver for dialogue.
I was treated to a demo of the 600 soundbar at the September 2022 launch event for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, and if that was any indication of its audio prowess, it looks like Bose has another great speaker for buyers to pick up. choose.
When you’re not listening to Dolby Atmos content, Bose says its TrueSpace technology will intelligently upscale stereo or 5.1-channel content into an immersive mix, giving you an Atmosphere-like experience for all your movies and shows.
Like its previous smart soundbars (300, 500, 700 and 900), the Bose Smart Soundbar 600 can be expanded with Bose’s collection of subwoofers and surround speakers, making it an item at a multi-room speaker system, with the Bose Music app acting as your mission control.
The soundbar is equipped with Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2. It has Chromecast built in, and you can use it as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker thanks to the built-in microphones. If you opt for the intelligence of Alexa, you’ll also be able to use Bose’s Voice4Video feature, which lets you control a connected TV with a few simple voice commands.
Speaking of TV connections, the only downside to the Smart Soundbar 600 (same downside to all Bose and Sonos smart soundbars) is that it only has a single HDMI ARC/eARC connection, so you can’t hook up a TV source. external video player as a streaming media device and pass video through your TV while the sound bar handles the audio.
Like the Sonos Beam Gen 2, the Smart Soundbar 600 is quite compact, at just 27 inches wide and just 2.2 inches tall. That makes it the perfect size for many small to medium rooms on its own, or larger spaces if you add the extra components.