Bose SoundTouch 30 vs. Sonos PLAY:5

When taking a look at the Bose SoundTouch 30 vs. Sonos PLAY:5, you’re deciding between two different brands that each have their own devoted followings.

Sonos has exploded in recent years due to their easy-to-use smart speakers that deliver high-quality sound and integrate seamlessly with dozens of other smart devices and streaming services.

Bose has been on the market for a very long time and has cultivated a fan base that just can’t get enough of the rich audio that their equipment produces. While the speaker does lack some of the features we see with the PLAY:5, the SoundTouch 30 is dressed to impress and is more than deserving of a spot in your home.

Below, we dive into some of the similarities and differences to help you understand what makes each speaker so great.


Bose SoundTouch 30 vs. Sonos PLAY:5 — Differences

Difference #1: Sound Quality – While both of the smart speakers produce exceptional sound, there are some differences between the Bose SoundTouch 30 and the Sonos PLAY:5 that are worthy of discussion.

The PLAY:5 is the most powerful of the speakers in this particular Sonos product family, and comes with a suite of speakers and drivers that push your sound through six class-D amplifiers. These amplifiers are custom designed in order to give you crisp, clear, and loud audio through a compact design. The three tweeters and three midrange woofers give true-to-life reproduction of vocals and instruments — all entwined with full-bodied bass from the PLAY:5 chassis.

The Bose SoundTouch 30 is the best of the best when it comes to the SoundTouch lineup. Using the signature Bose Acoustic Waveguide Speaker Technology, audio travels through a winding path of air tunnels in order to produce a deep, rich sound that feels like it comes from a much bigger speaker. The two drivers and a high-powered woofer work together in order to give you the full spectrum of highs and lows from from all of your favorite songs.

Difference #2: Adjustable Bass & Treble Controls – In most situations, you can get away with using these speakers with their default settings as they produce audio that is pretty impressive in nearly all situations. However, for those who would like to tweak the audio to perfectly match their preferences, there are options with the Sonos PLAY:5 to customize sound by individual rooms or groups of rooms in order to bring out the best in every speakered space.

The Bose SoundTouch 30, however, does not give users the ability to adjust the bass and treble of the sound.

Difference #3: Humidity Resistant – If you’re looking to play some music by the pool, you’re definitely going to want to go with the Sonos PLAY:5. The company built the speaker with humidity resistance in mind, and all you need is WiFi access and a place to plug it in to bring the same speakers that filled your living room with booming bass out onto the patio.

While the Sonos PLAY:5 is humidity resistant, it isn’t weather resistant or waterproof so you’ll need to be mindful of any sort of actual wetness potentially ruining the speaker.

The Bose SoundTouch 30 is not humidity resistant, which means you’ll need to keep it in a dry environment at all times if you want to avoid any potential damage.

Difference #4: Controls – The Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 both offer Alexa support, as discussed above, but they do differ in how they are controlled outside of using that handy virtual assistant.

The Bose SoundTouch 30 comes with its own remote, which should allow you to adjust the audio and playing tracks without having to pick up your phone.

Both devices also allow you to control your music from the device itself, but Bose falls a little bit behind with standard button controls that struggle to compete with the nifty touch features of the PLAY:5.

Google Assistant is also useable if you use in the audio line-in feature that both speakers have in common, but the Sonos PLAY:5 pulls ahead for Apple users with its upcoming support for Siri-enabled devices via AirPlay 2.

Overall, there are pros and cons to each of the two smart speakers but the PLAY:5 seems to have more flexibility and wider support for alternative control schemes.

Difference #5: Trueplay – One major perk of Sonos smart speakers is the Trueplay utility, which is an audio adjustment feature that comes standard with the Sonos PLAY:5 and most of the company’s smart speaker product family.

Trueplay automatically adjusts the levels of the audio to fit the room that it’s in – taking into account aspects like room composition and size in order to deliver crisp, clear, and rich audio for your favorite tunes regardless of its environment. The combination of the Trueplay utility and the adjustable treble and bass controls gives the PLAY:5 an edge over the competition when it comes to customizable audio — an area in which the Bose SoundTouch 30 seems to fall flat.

Difference #6: Connectivity – Part of the appeal of the Bose SoundTouch 30 and the Sonos PLAY:5 is their ability to stream music over WiFi, but they differ in how they accomplish this goal.

The Sonos speaker uses your home’s WiFi in order to create its own, dedicated wireless network called SonosNet. This dedicated network is the method by which your Sonos system will communicate with all other speakers in the system and stream your music. The use of this specific network will reduce congestion and interference from other devices in your home, and makes it easy to add additional speakers if you’re looking to expand your audio system.

The Bose SoundTouch 30 allows you to connect to speakers either through WiFi or Bluetooth. In most cases, your speaker will end up using WiFi in order to communicate with other devices and stream music, but the Bluetooth functionality is perfect for when you want to play music through the YouTube app on your phone without having to switch to another wireless network. While previous speakers in the SoundTouch family supported AirPlay, that feature was axed with this generation. You can still stream music through your iPhone, but you’ll need to use the SoundTouch app rather than streaming the music directly.

Difference #7: Supported Services – There is a large disparity in the number of supported services when comparing the Bose SoundTouch 30 vs Sonos PLAY:5.

With support for over 80 music streaming services, you’ll be able to access content from pretty much any major media service on the PLAY:5 – making it easy to stream from a playlist on services like Apple Music, Spotify, or Google Play Music with the simple push of a button on the Sonos app.

The Bose SoundTouch will play existing music on your computer or your device, but struggles when it comes to supporting streaming services by default. That’s not to say you can’t stream Spotify through a Bose speaker, as you can do so through a bluetooth connection, but that connection is a little more limiting than the robust streaming platform supported by the PLAY:5.

Keep in mind that for the majority of services you won’t be able to stream music through the free version of the app. That means that you’ll likely have to shell out for Spotify premium if you want to take advantage of the booming bass of the PLAY:5 on all of the top tracks.

Difference #8: Extend to 5.1 Home Theatre Sound System – The PLAY:5 can be extended into an entire 5.1 home theater sound system when paired with additional Sonos equipment.

By using another Sonos PLAY:5 model in order to form the dedicated left and right channels, you will be well on your way towards a fully-featured sound system. Add in a soundbar like the Beam, Playbar, or Playbase, and use a Sonos Sub for a window-rattling base and you’ve got yourself your own 5.1 setup. It can get a little pricey with all of the extra equipment, but the investment will more than pay off when you fire up the latest blockbuster and experience the rich audio that the Sonos product family has to offer.

Unfortunately, the SoundTouch cannot be extended. It’s a good speaker on its own, but there’s no way that it can compare with an entire audio suite from the likes of Sonos.

Bose SoundTouch 30 vs. Sonos PLAY:5 — Comparison Chart

  Bose SoundTouch 30 Sonos PLAY:5
Mono Output No In vertical position
Stereo Output Yes In horizontal position
Class-D Digital Amplifiers 6
Drivers/Speakers 2 6
Tweeter 3
Mid-Woofer 3
Woofer 1
Adjustable Bass & Treble Controls No Yes
Audio line-in Yes Yes
Connect to TV Via AUX Cord Via AUX Cord
Has its Own Remote Yes No
Voice Control over Amazon Alexa Yes Yes
Voice Control Over Siri No Coming soon over AirPlay 2
Voice Control Over Google Assistant Via line-in port Via line-in port
Amazon Alexa Built-In No No
Trueplay No Yes
Set Up Over WiFi Yes Yes
Humidity Resistant No Yes
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 and 5Ghz 802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth Yes No
Ethernet Port 1 1
On-Device Control Button Control Touch Control
One App Control Yes Yes
IR Control Yes No
Wall Mount Available Available
Change Orientation No Yes
Extend to 5.1 No Yes
Size Big Big
Dimensions 9.7 x 17.1 x 7.1″
(246 x 434 x 180 mm)
8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in.
(203 x 364 x 154 mm)
Weight 25.75 lbs (11.68 kg) 14 lbs. (6.36 kg)
Product finish White/Black White or Black matte enclosure
w/ graphite grille

Bose SoundTouch 30 vs. Sonos PLAY:5 — Things in Common

Sonos PLAY:5

Stereo Output – Although these two speakers do come from different manufacturers, they do have a number of similarities. One such similarity is the stereo format of their audio. Stereo sound uses multiple channels to create a well-rounded sound, making both these speakers perfect for filling your home with well-balanced audio.

Audio line-in – While playing music over WiFi is perhaps the most attractive feature of any smart speaker, sometimes you’ll want to hook your speaker up to your friend’s phone or maybe a record player in order to project sound through more impressive speakers. Support for audio line-in on the Bose SoundTouch 30 and the Sonos PLAY:5 allows you to bypass WiFi and play music directly from an attached device, which is a major benefit for those with devices that aren’t hooked into your wireless network.

Voice Control over Amazon Alexa – The Amazon Alexa voice assistant is perhaps the most widely recognized intelligence due to the rapid expansion of devices like the Echo or Echo Dot. Both the Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 have support for Amazon Alexa, which should allow you to control your favorite music with simple voice commands — the perfect perk for when your hands are tied while cooking dinner.

Voice Control Over Google Assistant – Both the Bose SoundTouch 30 and the Sonos PLAY:5 support voice control over Google Assistant, but you have to go about it in a bit of a roundabout way. While Amazon Alexa interfaces with both speakers beautifully by default, you’ll have to take advantage of the audio line-in in order to use Google Assistant with these speakers. It’s a little bit less convenient than operating the speakers using Alexa and takes up the audio line-in plug, but it’s certainly a viable possibility.

Set Up Over WiFi – Both the Bose and Sonos models offer support for setup over WiFi. This means that as soon as you get your device home and plugged in, you can get things running in no time by using a convenient mobile app. Regardless of the device you choose, the installation process should be simple and you’ll be listening to your playlists and podcasts sooner than you’d think.

Ethernet Port – The majority of people will probably take advantage of the WiFi capabilities of the Bose SoundTouch 30 and the Sonos PLAY:5, but both speakers have an Ethernet port as well. This port allows you to either hook the speaker up to a router directly, or to use it to provide an internet connection to other device — allowing it to function almost as an internet extender of sorts. It’s a major perk that many smart speakers don’t feature, and it gives you a lot more flexibility in how you set up and use your new device.

One App Control – The Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 support pretty much any audio streaming service you can think of in one way or another, but what really sets them apart from the competition is the ability to control your content from a single, centralized location. Rather than jumping back and forth among services like Spotify and Pandora, you can find your favorite music from all of your subscribed services through the smart speaker’s dedicated app.

Flexible Mount Options – Sometimes it can be difficult to find space for a speaker in our homes with all of the existing furniture filling the room. Luckily, the Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 both offer flexible mounting options – allowing you to find the setup that works just right for your individual situation.

Design – In terms of design, the Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 look quite similar. Regardless of the device you choose, you’ll have white and black coloring options and the speaker will take up roughly the same amount of space. Not having design to worry about is a relief, as you can focus your decision based solely off of the similarities discussed above and the differences we’ll go into below.

Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 Integration

Sonos Playbar

When it comes to integration with other smart products, the PLAY:5 is king. Any of the products from these Sonos partners should integrate seamlessly with the audio system, and even allow you to control everything in your smart home through one convenient app.

The Bose SoundTouch product family doesn’t have nearly as many product partnerships, but it does integrate well with SmartThings — one of the premier home automation systems.

Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 Accessories

Bose SoundTouch 30 Floor Stand Accessory

The Bose SoundTouch 30 and Sonos PLAY:5 also have support for accessories in order to make installation and daily use a lot easier and more convenient.

The SoundTouch 30 stand mount allows you to save precious counter space by giving your speaker its own dedicated spot. A pouch bag makes transport of the speaker a breeze, keeping it protected and making it easier to hold when you’re bringing the party to a friend’s house. Finally, while the SoundTouch 30 is beautiful and stylish by default, a Walnut Wood Cover classes it up even further and allows it to fit in perfectly with a modern aesthetic.

The PLAY:5 also offers flexible installation options with support for a wall or stand mount. Additionally, the Sonos Boost can extend WiFI coverage of your speakers and enhance a dedicated network for your smart speakers alone — allowing you to stream your music worry-free and without any sort of external interference.

Bose SoundTouch 30 vs. Sonos PLAY:5 — Our Thoughts

Bose SoundTouch 30

Overall, while the Bose SoundTouch 30 has a lot going for it and provides the crisp and rich audio we’ve come to expect from the company, however, we feel that it falls behind the Sonos PLAY:5 in many areas.

The PLAY:5 offers better sound quality, easy integration, expandability, and humidity resistance, and is overall just a little bit better of a speaker. With that said, the Bose brand has long been recognized as one of the best manufacturers for speakers, so if you’re used to the sound and have enjoyed previous products you likely won’t be disappointed if you purchase the SoundTouch 30.

Last update on 2021-06-18 at 17:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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