Bose SoundTouch: Great sound but options limited, say tech critics

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By Staff /  14 Oct 2013 , 13:30

The Bose SoundTouch system, a new range of WiFi speakers are fast becoming the talk of the tech world. The speakers use Wi-Fi to stream music from the Internet and any networked device running Bose’s SoundTouch app. What’s coolest about the system perhaps, is that you can use the speakers to play music in every room of your house, and you can choose to play different songs in different rooms via the app.

Also, because Apple’s Airplay is compatible with the SoundTouch technology, you can use iTunes to organise your music and stream to one or more SoundTouch devices from your computer or iPhone/iPad.

Handout image of the Bose SoundTouch speakers
Handout image of the Bose SoundTouch speakers

They will be available in India from mid November. In a release Bose said,The SoundTouch 30 system will be available for Rs 52,763. The SoundTouch 20 system is Rs 32,512.50 and the SoundTouch Portable system will be sold for Rs 32,512.50.

Predictably, the speakers are generating a lot of buzz within the tech world. We take a quick look at what the critics have to say:

“If you’ve always wanted one of those whole-house audio systems, where you have speakers in multiple rooms playing the same song, it’s a good time to be alive”, says Pete Pachal of Mashable.

Pachal also appreciates the ‘effortlessness’ of being able to control as many as six sound channels from one app, and says that although the speakers don’t look too inspiring in terms of design, they sound good. Which is fine, given that most people choose speakers for sound quality rather than design.

Dave Oliver from the UK edition of Wired is not that happy though, complaining that outside the US, options are limited in terms of Internet radio and what can be played on SoundTouch. “It won’t serve from standard NAS drives either and there’s no Bluetooth for direct streaming from mobile devices without Wi-Fi”, he said.

However like Pachal, Oliver admits that the sound quality is good.

David Carnoy of CNet agrees that SoundTouch does not have enough tie ups with Internet radio stations. “At launch, I was underwhelmed with Bose’s line up of services. Beyond Pandora there’s nothing: no Spotifiy, no Rdio, no Deezer, no nothing. Sonos has a huge roster of service tie-ins, so Bose has a big hole to fill there.”

Carnoy says that the speakers sound ‘decent’ but warns that you cannotcombine two speakers to get stereo sound.

Joe Pollicino of Engadget says that “On the rockier side, the system’s major hurdle is that it relies on streaming music from the internet or your network-connected computer –unlike Sonos, you’ll have to use AirPlay or DLNA outside of the SoundTouch experience to play on-device media.”

The Digital Trends site is also impressed with the sound, but has the same complaint as the others. Not enough choice. “But the simple design has its issues. Bose’s products tend to be so streamlined and singularly-focused that they get locked down with no expansion potential”, it said.


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