Bose Solo review

A boost for TV sound, but it's not enough Tested at £350

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Bose brings a sense of scale greater than your average TV, but everywhere else it sounds just average


  • +

    Sounds better than the average flatscreen

  • +

    Decent sense of scale


  • -

    Limited inputs

  • -


  • -

    Dialogue sounds hard and compressed

  • -

    Bass sounds loose and detached

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

It’s no secret that as flatscreen TVs have become thinner, so has their sound. Many of today's sets sound average at best.

Here's the latest attempt to boost the sound from your set from Bose – the Bose Solo. Front on, the unit stands just over 7cm tall, akin to many conventional soundbar designs, but look from above and you’ll see it boasts significant depth – 30cm to be precise.

Instead of being positioned in front of your TV, Bose’s serving suggestion sees your TV actually sitting on top of the Solo. TVs look a little odd perched on top, but it is a novel idea. The Solo’s top panel feels especially sturdy, but the manufacturer still doesn’t recommend using any screen larger than 40/42in or heavier than 18kg.

If you don’t like the aesthetic of your TV sat on top of the Solo, there’s nothing stopping you separating them and placing the speaker on a shelf below the TV.

Bose Solo review: Specs

Connectivity is limited to optical and coaxial digital inputs and a pair of RCA phono inputs – there are no HDMI inputs.

This is fine if you’re only going to run an optical cable from your TV into the Solo, but less than ideal if you want to add multiple sources such as a blu-ray player, set-top-box and games console.

Bose does provide you with all the relevant cables to get started, though. And we didn’t suffer from any lip-sync issues switching between a set-top-box, blu-ray player and games console.

There’s also a credit card-sized remote included in the box which has basic volume, mute and power functionality.

Alternatively, the Bose can be controlled by a learning remote: once you input the relevant code, you only need one wand to control both TV and soundbar.

Bose Solo review: Sound quality

Hooked up to a TV, the Bose delivers a more powerful and solid sound compared to your average flatscreen. Watch an episode of Eastenders and the cockney dialogue sounds clear if a little hard-edged.

Switch to an episode of Ripper Street and the injection of action brings impressive scale but this also emphasizes the hardness in the upper-mid and treble.

Watching the Viva entertainment channel on Freeview and the Bose fires out Flo Rida’s Whistle with a decent sense of power, but lows sound a little loose and ill-defined.

Bose Solo review: Verdict

If you’re in the market to boost your TVs sound, then the Solo will undeniably deliver a bolder sound with a greater sense of scale.

But, unfortunately for Bose, there are more affordable options on the market which sound more accomplished.

See all our soundbar and home cinema system reviews

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test