Watch out, Sonos: Bose's Dolby Atmos Ultra Soundbar with AI looks seriously smart

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose only announced its 'Ultra' wireless headphones and earbuds last week, but it appears to be expanding its latest product family faster than a Sims fanatic could. Indeed it has already revealed another member: the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar, the company's new flagship and successor to the Smart Soundbar 900.

The inclusion of 'Smart' in its official title not only continues its predecessor's naming but no doubt also represents its new AI skills. Before you get too excited, this is 'just' an AI Dialogue Mode that aims to balance voices and surround sound depending on the content being shown. No more loud ads between quieter TV programmes? That's the promise, and a very useful one it could be too.

Whether or not the inclusion of 'Ultra' in its name will be justified remains to be heard, but things look promising on the audio delivery front. Nine dipole speakers bless the inside of the single bar, with two being upward-firers for effective delivery of height channels in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks.

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose's proprietary TrueSpace processing aims to 'spatialise' other content, such as 5.1 surround sound or even stereo, to make it more enveloping and, to use the big buzzword, immersive. Those wanting to take their Bose Ultra Soundbar to the next level can add Bose's dedicated Bass Module 500 or 700 subwoofer and/or set of Surround Speaker modules, too.

There's a bit more system intelligence worth mentioning. Bose's SimpleSync technology offers a seamless connection between the soundbar and some other Bose products, including the new QuietComfort headphones and 'select' Bluetooth speakers. Alternatively, you can group together any Bose smart speaker or soundbar, such as the Home Speaker 300 and Smart Soundbar 600 respectively, for multi-room listening via the Bose Music app. 

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar

Bose's Smart Ultra Soundbar, Bass Module and Surround Speakers (Image credit: Bose)

Then there's Voice4Video, which sits on top of Alexa to expand voice control options beyond the soundbar to the rest of the connected AV setup.

Speaking of which, the Smart Ultra Soundbar can hook up to a TV via HDMI eARC or optical, with wi-fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Chromecast also onboard for wireless music and media playback. Last but not least (particularly if you have an acoustically tricky room), the soundbar features ADAPTiQ room calibration, designed to optimise the soundbar's output to the conditions of the room it sits in.

Priced £899.95 / $899 / AU$1499.95 and available in black or white, the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar can be pre-ordered now ahead of its mid-October availability. And it is then, if not before, that we will see how it performs against its closest premium Dolby Atmos soundbar rival, the Sonos Arc.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.