With the latest 2023 release in their prestige home audio lineup, Bose continues redefining consumer expectations around what compact lifestyle soundbars can achieve. The ultra-slim all-in-one powerhouse delivers the three-dimensional spaciousness of Dolby Atmos while letting users command entertainment experiences via Alexa and Google Assistant. This is an improved model of the Smart Soundbar 900. Let’s take a look at this innovative sound solution for home entertainment in my Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar review.
Build and design
In my opinion, the Bose Smart Soundbar epitomizes modern minimalism. Encased top to bottom in either Black or Arctic White color of aluminum, its sleek cabinetry measures a slender 2.3″ tall by just 4″ deep, designed expressly for TV pairing either mounted directly in front of a display or resting neatly on a media console.
Bose engineers angled 2 sets of proprietary racetrack drivers for distinct left, right, and center channel articulation, intended to generate a wider soundstage, spreading audio beyond the physical edges. 4 additional transducers, including 2 upward-firing ones, create height dimensionality perfect for immersive Dolby Atmos object effects. Altogether, I like the soundbar’s stunning minimal form, being the heaviest in the line – 12.68 lb.
There is a remote control that covers basic needs like powering the unit on and off, adjusting the volume, playing and pausing content, and selecting your input. Also, there is a touch control on the top surface of the soundbar if you want to override the integrated microphone.
Setup and connectivity
I can assure you that there shouldn’t be problems with the setup. After you put the soundbar in position and connect to the TV, you should download the “Bose Music Control” app, which is free for iOS and Android. Believe me, with this app, the setup will be even easier. It will also put you in charge of the ADAPTiQ automatic room calibration system, which I’ll discuss later.
Bose soundbar keeps connectivity options versatile yet streamlined for today’s modern media rooms. For physical HDMI hookup to 4K HDR televisions, an included HDMI eARC port enables uncompressed lossless Dolby Atmos audio from eARC-compatible displays while carrying video pass-through up to 4K/60fps resolution with HDR10/Dolby Vision support. Analog 3.5mm input provides a backup wired source connection that auto-senses to switch accordingly.
On the wireless side, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas inside the soundbar handle streaming of Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Bose SimpleSync compatibility — the latter for instant one-touch pairing to music services via NFC. However, switching the Wi-Fi was a bit of an issue for me with this model. Luckily, a simple Wi-Fi reset button on the soundbar helped.
Features and specs
One of the standout features of Bose Smart is the support of Dolby Atmos combined with the TrueSpace technology. They separate instruments, dialogue, and effects, placing them in precise locations around the room.
My favorite feature among all is SimpleSync. It’s not exclusively applied to only this model, but with it, you can pair Bose headphones with the soundbar – a perfect solution without bothering others. Thanks to ADAPTiQ, you can get the most out of this device. Specifically, ADAPTiQ measures sound reflections and geometry based on a series of swept tones played through the soundbar during calibration. You place the included microphone at your central listening position, and then optimal equalization and surround settings for your room will be determined. However, I noted that ADAPTiQ can add processing delays and do strange things depending on how you hold the head mic.
Another standout feature to mention is the A.I. Dialogue Mode. To be honest, I’m rather skeptical when I see A.I.-related stuff, but in the case of this equipment, it really works. There are so many new ways to mix sound these days in favor of the immersive sound formats that without such a feature like A.I. Dialogue mode, you easily lose the essence of a movie. It helps to define voices so that the dialogue is more discernible (since I prefer to watch some foreign shows, I didn’t even put on subtitles).
Of course, this soundbar wouldn’t be that “Smart” without the voice assistant capabilities offered through onboard Alexa and Google Assistant support. If you enable Voice4Video, you will control the soundbar only with voice via Alexa. Noise-rejecting mics will help to distinguish commands more clearly and quickly. However, I wouldn’t want to upset you, but the built-in Alexa will not connect the unit to the Alexa multiroom speaker feature. Bose wants us to buy their speakers for this purpose.
The sound is loud and fills the whole space with it. I’d say that it suits almost any room size. For a while, I was even confused while watching our favorite family movie, “Home Alone,” whether someone was really ringing a bell or it was the soundbar.
While sound localization is effective, it’s limited by its front-facing position. However, the soundbar shines with 5.1 or Atmos content, offering a solid immersive experience. I’d recommend turning off the A.I. feature if you intend to listen to music at loud volumes; the sound is less altered as for me. I don’t even think that you will miss the bass, but adding a subwoofer will definitely enhance the experience.
- Built-in channels: 5.1.
- Amplification type: active.
- Output power, W: 900.
- Separate speaker connections: yes.
- Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: yes/yes.
- Multichannel surround: no.