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Bose Solo TV – a £349 Don’t Buy sound bar

While Bose encourages you to ‘transform your TV experience’ with its Solo TV sound bar, but we can reveal it emerged from our test lab as a Don’t Buy.

Bose is popular for its audio products and claims that the Bose Solo TV is both simple to use and that it ‘reveals much more of the depth and detail you’re meant to hear in your favourite programs’. It’s a slightly unconventional shape – shorter and deeper than a typical sound bar – but suitable for a range of TV sizes.

More models in this sort of style are finding their way into shops and although they look smaller, the cost certainly isn’t. The Solo TV comes with a price tag of £349.

When you’re paying that much for a sound bar, you’d want to receive good value for money from a product. Unfortunately, we found it does little to improve TV sound, apart from making speech clearer. One member of our testing panel even described the effect of its surround sound as ‘nauseating’.

Sound bar reviews – our test lab results

How do we test the Bose Solo and other sound bars?

Every sound bar is tested in exactly the same way, we put bold claims and impressive-sounding specs to the test.

Not only do we assess sound quality but also ease of use and extra features. Three independent expert listeners rate sound quality using the same set of audio clips that we use to test TVs, including classical, pop and jazz pieces together with speech and sound effects from film material, plus an extra track to measure any extra bass oomph.

But we don’t stop there: as living room layouts and TV equipment positioning can vary, we then listen to every product from different distances and angles to check for any issues that may arise if you’re not sat directly in front of the sound bar – like if you’re watching a film with a group of friends sat around the TV. Finally, we check how loud you can push up the volume before distortion kicks in, and can recommend the size of room it’s most suitable for.

How did we rate its sound and features?

The Bose Solo is small and easy enough to setup, but far better and cheaper sound bars are available. It offers little improvement over TV speakers. The sound bar sails smoothly through different frequencies, like when switching from bass to treble, but higher pitched sounds like a guitar solo often lack a clear, smooth quality.

As well being slim on extra features like a LCD panel, HDMI port or a USB input to play music from, the Bose Solo doesn’t offer equaliser settings or preset sound modes, which are found on many sound bars. This means there’s little you can do to tweak its sound.

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