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Bose Smart Soundbar 600
October 20, 2022
56 x 694 x 104 mm
Audio veteran Bose shores up its speaker portfolio with a compact, all-black slab intended to take down the Sonos Beam. The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is a simple yet powerful home theater solution in the middle of its soundbar line. Bose has a couple of tricks that elevate this Dolby Atmos soundbar above others, but does the 600 series get lost between its budget-friendly and premium counterparts? Time to learn more in our Bose Smart Soundbar 600 review.
This soundbar is for listeners who don’t care about complicated audio systems and those getting into home theater and wanting to start small and expand later. You can add a subwoofer and additional speakers to your Smart Soundbar 600.
Anyone will appreciate that Bose SimpleSync works on the Smart Soundbar 600. This way, you can pair any Bluetooth speaker with the soundbar.
What you need to know about the Bose Smart Soundbar 600
- Bose Smart Soundbar 600: $499 USD / €550
The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 hit the shelves mid-October 2022 and slots in nicely between the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 ($449 at Amazon) and Bose Smart Soundbar 900 ($899 at Amazon). Bose’s Soundbar 600 shares many of the same comforts as the Soundbar 300, but the speaker arrangement more closely resembles that of the 900 series. Two upward-firing speakers separate this 600 series soundbar from the pack of other similarly priced options. Speaker elements aimed at the ceiling bounce the sound back down to you. This design makes it sound as if audio effects are genuinely coming from overhead, which is critical for convincing Dolby Atmos content. Budget soundbars usually rely solely on virtualization technology to simulate height.
A high-quality plastic encases the (3.0.2 channel) five-transducer system. Aside from the up-firing drivers, there are two side-firing, racetrack-shaped transducers and a center speaker. On the back, you’ll find all the ports, allowing you to connect to your TV via HDMI eARC or optical input. There’s also a service USB port, an optional wired IR blaster connection, and a wired subwoofer output.
There are a few ways to control the Smart Soundbar 600, the most obvious of which is the eight-button remote control. With this in hand, you can cycle through input options, adjust or mute the volume, and power the soundbar on/off. Press the microphone icon on the soundbar’s touch panel to mute the integrated microphone array. Next to it, you can tap the circle icon for voice assistant access.
While the Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is billed as a compact, single-unit setup for your home audio, you can expand this by purchasing Bose Surround Speakers, Bose Surround Speakers 700, the Bose Bass Module 500, or the Bose Bass Module 700 subwoofers. When you don’t have the time, money, or space to buy all these accessory speakers, just use Bose SimpleSync in the Bose Music app (iOS/Android). SimpleSync lets you pair your wireless headphones and speakers to the Smart Soundbar 600.
Few accessories come with this soundbar, but Bose does provide the remote control, optical cable, HDMI cable, power cord, and paperwork to get you started. The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is only available in black, and you can purchase it from retailers like Bose, Amazon, and Best Buy.
What’s good about Bose Smart Soundbar 600?
While I’d have difficulty picking this soundbar from a line of others, the unassuming design helps it blend into your living space. Bose lets its speakers do the talking here, and the upward-firing drivers deliver quality Dolby Atmos audio content.
The ethereal soundscape feels all-encompassing when watching the movie Dune (Dolby Atmos audio through HBO Max). During the scene at 00:16:35, a spaceship lands and sounds like it’s coming from above. I prefer the height effect during the ship’s descent through the Smart Soundbar 600 compared to how the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) reproduces this scene with Spatial Audio and head tracking.
String instruments underscore the film, and high-end detail is easy to hear; its output never diminishes the actors’ speaking parts. This soundbar (and soundbars generally) won’t win any awards for sub-bass reproduction, but the upside is that dialogue almost always comes through clearly. If you’re hard of hearing, you can enable the Dialogue Mode through the Bose Music app to make voices more pronounced.
Dolby Atmos content sounds great through the Bose Smart Soundbar 600, but what about non-Dolby Atmos content? Bose’s TrueSpace feature upscales stereo and 5.1-channel content for a Dolby Atmos-like effect. The intro scene of Bad Travelling (5.1) from the Netflix show Love, Death, and Robots is significantly enhanced through the soundbar compared to when I watch the scene and listen through my TCL TV speakers. That said, the fight scene in Bad Travelling doesn’t sound as immersive as similar fight scenes in Dune. Bose’s formula pulls a lot of weight with standard stereo mixes from YouTube, and I find this jump in quality more impressive than watching 5.1 content. This perceived dimensional improvement is particularly apparent when I watch the short film LIMBO, featured on the YouTube channel DUST.
Unlike other smart speakers, this soundbar is surprisingly easy to set up. While some may detest the need for a mobile app to get the most out of a $499 product, the Bose Music app does the trick and presents an accessible interface. From the app, you can adjust the loudness of the audio channels along with the bass and treble. You’ll need to interact with the app to set up Bose SimpleSync, which works with non-Bose products. This way, you can have synchronized multi-speaker playback without buying many Bose speakers. (SimpleSync is optimized for Bose products, of course.) You can even pair multiple wireless headphones to the soundbar, keeping all the headsets in sync while each person chooses their own volume level.
What’s not so good about Bose Smart Soundbar 600?
The main drawback to the Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is that audio content sounds more immersive when I sit on the floor in the center of my living room rather than on the couch against the wall. You’ll encounter this difference in quality with any comparable soundbar, though. Sitting in the middle of my room, 1.7 meters (5.5ft) away from the soundbar, makes me feel as if I’m centered in the action because the up-firing speakers’ sound waves reflect off my ceiling directly down to me. Sitting on my couch, 3 meters (10ft) away from the soundbar, I feel like I’m off center from the action. Everything still sounds good from the couch, as I can still perceive audio height effects; there’s just something to be said about optimal seating placement. The floor seating arrangement is bearable for review purposes but could be a pain for long-term use. Listeners who don’t want to redesign their living room may turn to a soundbar with more transducers or invest in satellite speakers to complement the soundbar.
Other than that, the drawbacks extend to the remote collecting oils from your skin and the fact that you need to purchase your own wall-mounting bracket, but that’s about it.
Bose Smart Soundbar 600 specs
There’s a lot to keep track of when researching the Bose Smart Soundbar 600. Here’s a list of all the essential specifications you may care about.
|BOSE SMART SOUNDBAR 600|
56 x 694 x 104 mm
5x full-range transducers
Enclosure: Bass reflex
Subwoofer output (3.5mm)
Wireless audio connection
Apple AirPlay 2
Bose Music app (iOS/Android)
Bose Smart Soundbar 600 review: Should you buy it?
As far as unibody home theater products are concerned, Bose nails it with the Smart Soundbar 600. Priced at a reasonable $499, Bose teeters on the edge of premium, offering support for Dolby Atmos, good design, smart features, and an app. The only thing missing is DTS:X support. While DTS:X appeals to Blu-Ray fans, the most popular video and music streaming services favor Dolby Atmos.
Pricier options like the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 and Sony HT-A3000 soundbars debuted with $649 and $699 price tags, respectively, and both lack upward-firing speakers. On top of that, Sony’s is just a 3.1 system, compared to Bose’s 5.0.2-channel system. In all fairness, those Denon and Sony products support DTS: X.
Hardware aside, the Bose Music app is a breeze to use. Its interface may seem comically basic to the advanced audiophile, but that’s not who this soundbar—or any soundbar—is aimed at anyway. Bose presents the bare necessities in its app, giving you control over what matters most: dialogue clarity and immediate source switching.
You could grab the Sonos Beam, which currently costs ($529 at Amazon), but you’d be giving up height speakers that improve the overall viewing experience. For movie buffs caught between two soundbars, the money you spend on the Bose Soundbar 600 will be well worth it—the same might not be true for people mainly listening to music.
Frequently asked questions about the Bose Smart Soundbar 600
Yes, you can use a non-Bose Bluetooth speaker for SimpleSync. For the best performance over SimpleSync, you will want to use Bose speakers or headphones with your Smart Soundbar 600.
Hopefully, nothing will happen. Anecdotally, my Wi-Fi went out during the update process, and I worried it might “brick” the speaker, but no real issues arose. All I had to do was close out of the app, delete the Bose Soundbar from my list of devices, and re-pair the soundbar to the app. From there, I installed the firmware update properly despite this hiccup. If that doesn’t work, we recommend that you contact Bose customer service for help troubleshooting.