In my Bose Smart Soundbar 600 review, I’m going to put into pieces a unit that succeeded the more basic Solo Soundbar from 2016. The Smart 600, which came out a few years later, is more technologically advanced and has an expanded feature set compared to its predecessor. Specifically, bringing integrated Alexa voice control and trademark Bose innovations like TrueSpace represents meaningful steps up in functionality and performance that justify its positioning in their lineup.
Build and design
The Smart 600, with curved tempered glass and metal construction, is designed to complement modern television setups without dominating the space. Measuring just over 2 inches tall (2.21″ H x 27.34″ W x 4.09″), the low-profile bar delivers unexpectedly formidable room-filling audio through Bose innovations like proprietary waveguides.
I wish the included remote control was more useful. While nicely matched to the soundbar’s proportions, its identical smooth black buttons lack tactile distinctions and prove hard to figure out in low light. I’d advise you to rely on the Bose Music app to fully configure settings. I also liked that the LED display on the soundbar provides setup feedback, and then it blends into darkness for distraction-free home theater viewing.
Setup and connectivity
Getting up and running with the Bose soundbar proves swift, with included quick start guidance to connect the HDMI and power cords before initiating Wi-Fi-based software configuration using the Bose Music phone app (once again, I recommend it for functionality). A great plus is that the angled chassis connector layout neatly groups wiring inputs for a clean install. Upon first activation, a firmware update takes roughly 15 minutes with no progress tracking – a minor annoyance, albeit an expected one. The dependency on downloading a helper app right off the bat to unlock settings may surprise you (not me), but this is what we have.
The Bose Smart 600 provides versatile device pairing through both physical and digital cables and wireless streaming technology. In the box, Bose includes an HDMI cable and optical audio cable for plug-and-play wired hookup to most TVs. Furthermore, utilizing the HDMI eARC connection enables CEC functionality between the soundbar and CEC-compatible TVs. This allows infrared remote commands sent from your television’s remote control to automatically sync up with corresponding volume/mute adjustments or input switching on the Smart 600.
On the wireless side, the soundbar’s WiFi/Bluetooth 5.0 chipset enables AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect. Up to eight total devices can stay stored in the soundbar’s memory for practically instant switching between sources either via the Bose Music app or touch controls.
Features and specs
Central to the immersive strengths of this compact soundbar is support for advanced Dolby Atmos object-based audio when connected via HDMI eARC. I can say that even on non-Atmos content, Bose’s proprietary TrueSpace technology creates height and spatial cues from stereo or 5.1 signals for a constant sense of three-dimensional space. However, note that Atmos is not supported by an optical cable connection here.
For hands-free voice control using built-in Alexa or Google Assistant, the smart soundbar’s 6 far-field mics pick up commands from distances of up to 15 feet away. However, a minor caveat: in my experience, the firmware causes instances where Alexa fails to respond at all and then suddenly reconnects on her own after 30-60 seconds. A software update may address such temporary dropout issues, but the Alexa integration works smoothly when functional.
Overall, Smart Soundbar 600 delivers refined sound across TV, movies, and music, but let me get down to the details. Vocals retain good clarity and distinction without necessarily maxing out the dedicated center channel enhancement setting. Low-end punch lands with impact but not boominess.
Across my various genre preferences, a certain treble existed in harmony alongside resonant lows for balance. While stereo separation alone sufficiently filled my smaller listening space, I believe that larger living rooms would benefit from optional wireless surround speakers to complete the bubble effect.
You can create an ideal profile for your room’s needs and acoustics through the Bose Music app’s equalization and presets for music/TV/voice optimization. Once I added the surround speakers, it seemed to fix the depth I missed. One more thing, as for me, I’d also add a subwoofer for more heaviness.
- Built-in channels: 5.1.
- Amplification type: active.
- Output power, W: 600.
- Separate speaker connections: yes.
- Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: yes/yes.
- Multichannel surround: no.