Looking to boost your TV’s audio without the hassle of a whole surround system? A soundbar can go a long way in bringing new energy to the audio of your favourite shows, movies, sports, or whatever you are watching.
Sony's bar is a repeat Award winner which has dominated thanks to its sound and features. A new flagship Bose bar is quite big news. Let's see how they stack up on paper.
Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar vs Sony HT-A7000: price
The Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar is priced at £899.95 / $899 / AU$1499.95 and is available now. A new Bose product is always an exciting prospect, so we are looking forward to testing it for ourselves.
Sony’s HT-A7000’s soundbar cost £1199 / $1300 / AU$1699 at launch but has since seen its price fall slightly to between £999-1099 at some retailers, so it is now much closer in price to Bose’s new flagship bar.
Sony’s bar offers a lot of quality for the price. Keep your eyes out for our in-depth review of the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar once we have taken it for a spin.
Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar vs Sony HT-A7000: build
Sony’s HT-A7000 is definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum, weighing in at 8.7kg. It’s also longer than most bars – even the Sonos Arc – measuring 130cm in width. This means it will be better suited to TV sets with screens measuring 55-inches and up.
The bar packs in two up-firing speakers, two beam tweeters, five front-facing drivers, and a built-in dual subwoofer into its chassis.
In our review, we noted that this soundbar feels “substantial and sturdy”, however, commented that “the mixed look of its design perhaps isn’t as slick as that of some of its competition.”
The Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar is lighter and smaller than Sony’s bar, weighing 5.8kg and measuring 104.5cm in width, meaning it could be more easily accommodated into a smaller setup. And, at 5.8cm tall, it is usefully lower than Sony’s HT-A7000 which struggles to fit under many TV sets.
Bose’s new soundbar features nine drivers: one centre tweeter, four “racetrack” transducers on the front, two transducers attached to the phase guides, and two up-firing “racetrack” transducers.
Bose opted for a ‘premium glass’ top with a ‘metal grille’ front for the Smart Ultra. We’ll report back with our full findings on how the unit feels and looks soon.
Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar vs Sony HT-A7000: features
Sony’s HT-A7000 bar supports Dolby Atmos and features built-in microphones for use in ‘Sound Field Optimization’ which adapts and optimises the sound to your listening space. It can also be used to measure the position of any additional speakers, such as optional surrounds, and adjust balance if the speakers are not precisely placed. Fortunately, this process is very simple and user-friendly.
The HT-A7000 features two HDMI 2.1 pass-through sockets capable of handling 8K@60Hz, 4K@120Hz and Dolby Vision HDR. We lamented the absence of certain gaming features back when this bar launched, but thanks to recent updates the bar now also supports VRR and ALLM – great news for gamers.
There are sockets for eARC/HDMI out as well as analogue and optical audio inputs. Alongside this is an analogue output for Sony’s Acoustic Centre Sync, which allows compatible Bravia TVs to become part of the soundbar’s centre channel.
The Smart Ultra Soundbar also supports Dolby Atmos and features its own ADAPTiQ calibration software. This feature measures the properties of your listening environment and adjusts the volume and equalisation accordingly.
Bose, like Sony, also feature an optical connection alongside the HDMI eARC port on its Smart Ultra Soundbar, which is useful if your TV set is older and doesn’t feature ARC/eARC capabilities.
Bose has also included its proprietary TruSpace spatial processing. This software analyses non-Dolby Atmos signals and upmixes them, producing immersive audio for anything you are watching, not only Dolby Atmos compatible shows or movies.
The Smart Ultra Soundbar will also include an AI Dialogue Mode which is said to balance voices and surround sound depending on what you are watching. It could also see loud adverts placed between quieter TV programmes balanced out somewhat.
Both the Sony HT-A7000 and Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar offer wireless connectivity with wi-fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay capabilities allowing users to access a wide range of streaming services.
Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar vs Sony HT-A7000: sound
We gave the Sony HT-A7000 a five for sound and a five overall, so we definitely enjoy its audio capabilities – the main thing when it comes to a soundbar, of course.
We find the HT-A7000 provides a convincing sense of height and precision, and is even better when it comes to the width of the soundstage and the forward projection of the bar.
Sony has combined both careful driver placement and psychoacoustic techniques to enhance the width and height of the soundstage, regardless of whether or not you are watching immersive content. It works very well and we are especially impressed with the bar’s wide-space beam tweeters, which create a great sense of space around the listener.
Although we are still waiting to test the Smart Ultra Soundbar, we have tested Bose's previous flagship soundbar, the Smart Soundbar 900, which received a four-star review.
We noted that it provides decent horizontal projection and crisp dialogue, however, we also thought that the bar struggles to create vertical height in the sound and can't quite deliver satisfying lows during certain movie scenes. Time will tell if the Smart Ultra Soundbar can impress us more in some of these areas.
Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar vs Sony HT-A7000: early verdict
As it stands, Sony’s HT-A7000 is a five-star soundbar and is best-in-class in its price range; it’s going to take some beating. It boasts a ton of features, excellent sound, and a solid build, though it’s on the larger, heavier side of soundbars. The price has dropped since launch, though it’s still a bit more expensive than Bose’s new flagship bar.
Bose’s Smart Ultra Soundbar offers a lot of similar features, such as room calibration technology, along with the ability to upmix any audio into an immersive format. It’s also smaller and lighter than the HT-A7000, which may be an important factor in setups short on space.
Read our full Sony HT-A7000 review
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