Amazon has always maintained that it wants other companies to use its Alexa voice assistant in their devices. That’s probably why it’s left the speakers somewhat weak in terms of audio quality.
It allows companies like Bose (who specialise in audio) and make devices like the Home Speaker 500. It’s an evolution of the company’s older wireless speakers but it’s smarter, thanks to Alexa.
That, essentially, makes this one of the most complete smart speakers you can buy in India today, and one of the most expensive. At ₹39,000 what you’re really paying for is Bose’s brand value and audio expertise, while Alexa’s smarts add the icing on the cake.
So, it’s no surprise that the speaker excels in terms of audio quality. It delivers loud, room filling audio. In fact, it’s more than enough for a 700 square foot home, and sounds good irrespective of the kind of music you’re listening to. It’s slightly biased towards the bass tones, but delivers loud and tight bass, which works. In fact, the fact that bass notes are pronounced here might actually fit Indians’ music tastes better.
We tried songs ranging from Florence+The Machine’s Jenny of the Oldstones to old-school numbers by Pink Floyd, AC/DC, rap numbers and R&B, to popular Bollywood music, and Bengali and Punjabi numbers. The Bose Home Speaker 500 handles all of that admirably and with ease. There’s no distortion, even at high volume levels.
You set up the speaker using the Bose Music app, but you will need the Alexa app to get the smart assistant up and running.
Once set up, Alexa functions here just like any other Echo device. If you have another Echo speaker already, all your skills will run through this as well, including streaming music, and the Bose Home Speaker 500 becomes one in the Alexa family in your home.
However, while the speaker has a screen, you will not get any of the features that an Echo Show or Echo Spot allow. The speaker is reserved for album art, indicative messages etc, so you won’t be watching any content on this one.
In conclusion, the Bose Home Speaker 500 makes a strong case for why other companies should be using Alexa on their speakers. It’s not aimed at people who want a smart speaker, but at people who want good audio with the smarts to go with it. It’s arguably the best sounding smart speaker you can buy in India today.