Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Differences Explained

Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20

Comparing the Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 can be a difficult task as the speakers both excel in different areas. With an audio line-in, the SoundTouch 20 supports more voice assistants than the PLAY:3 — making it a competitive speaker for those with controllers like Google Home. The Sonos PLAY:3 audio, flexible expansion into a full sound system, and huge amount of supported services make it a competitor that may be difficult to beat.

Let’s dive into the main differences between Bose and Sonos so you can make an informed decision as to which smart speaker is right for you.

Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Things in Common

  • Stereo Output – Most speakers come with one of two audio configurations: stereo or mono. Both the Sonos PLAY:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 take advantage of stereo technology which uses left and right channels to play well-rounded and rich audio that will fill the room with awesome tunes.

  • Voice Control over Amazon Alexa – One of the primary reasons many people invest in smart speaker is the ability to play music with simple voice commands. The Sonos PLAY:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 both offer support for Amazon Alexa and will respond to various voice commands. The convenience of hands-free operation is one of the main draws to both of these excellent smart speakers.

  • Set Up Over WiFi – Coming home with a new piece of technology only to be greeted with a complicated installation process can be very frustrating. With the Sonos PLAY:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20, you’ll enjoy an easy setup process over WiFi. By simply hooking your device up to the network and using a smartphone app, you can get your speakers up and running in no time.

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  • Ethernet Port – In most cases, you’ll probably be streaming your music using the Sonos PLAY:3 or Bose SoundTouch 20 WiFi functionality. However, there are situations in which having a hardwired connection can be a big plus. If your connection is spotty, the ability of these two speakers to support an Ethernet connection can be a very attractive perk.

  • On-Device Control – The PLAY:3 and SoundTouch 20 are primarily controlled with voice commands or through the dedicated app. They do offer on-device control as well, however, making it easy to adjust settings and change tracks in a pinch.

  • One App Control – While the Bose and Sonos systems differ in the number of streaming services they support, you can access all your music from one app with either choice. By simply searching for a song, the app will locate the audio across multiple subscribed services. This control essentially allows you to forgo juggling multiple apps — instead just focusing on the One App Control.

  • Flexible Mount Options – Both the PLAY:3 and SoundTouch support multiple mounting options. Not everyone has space on a counter or shelf for a smart speaker, so being able to strap the speaker to the wall or put it on a stand is great for saving space and for setting up your new device for optimal audio quality.

  • Design – Although there are some differences in design, the speakers look very much the same. The Sonos PLAY:3 is slightly smaller and lighter, and is available in white with a light metallic grille or black with a graphite grille. The Bose SoundTouch is available in white and black as well, and is slightly heavier and larger than its competitor. In most cases, design won’t be a determining factor when comparing the two speakers as the differences are slight.


Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Differences

Sonos PLAY:3

  • Difference #1: Sound Quality – The Sonos PLAY:3 is a big improvement over the PLAY:1, and fills the room with rich audio that can be optimized for any sort of room composition. The comprehensive speaker system is backed up by class D digital amplifiers that pack big sound into a small package. The tweeter and two mid-range drivers round out the sound, and the booming bass of the radiator allows for solid performance across the entire sound spectrum.

    The bose SoundTouch 20 doesn’t have quite the same audio quality as the Sonos PLAY:3, but it does offer exceptional audio that will fill the room. It’s a big step up from the SoundTouch 10 and produces natural bass through high and mid range frequencies by pushing through unique Bose audio architecture. The way the internal technology is set up allows for clean bass and a warm sound at higher frequencies.

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  • Difference #2: Audio Line-in – The PLAY:3, unlike its more expensive brother the PLAY:5, does not have an audio line-in. This means that the speaker is limited to WiFi streaming, which generally shouldn’t be a problem considering its main focus is music.

    The line-in on the Bose speaker allows you to hook it up to other devices like a friend’s phone or even your TV. Keep in mind, however, that connecting via an auxiliary cable may lead to some problems with lip syncing on the television. If you’re looking for a dedicated TV speaker, we recommend taking a look at the Sonos Beam vs. Playbar.

  • Difference #3: Voice Control Over Google Assistant – Another benefit of the audio line-in on the Bose SoundTouch 20 is the ability to use other methods of voice control such as Google Assistant. While the speaker doesn’t support this voice controller naturally, you can use products like the Google Home if you connect the device via the auxiliary port. It’s a bit of a roundabout solution, but remains an advantage that this SoundTouch model has over the PLAY:3.

  • Difference #4: Trueplay – As mentioned above, the Sonos audio quality is generally a little better than the sound you’ll get from the Bose SoundTouch. Part of the reason for that is the better internal audio equipment, but another aspect is how customizable the Sonos speakers are.

    With the Trueplay feature, your speaker will automatically adjust in order to produce sound that best suits the room. Whether the room is big and empty or small and packed with furniture, you can rest assured that this speaker will be producing top-notch audio that is perfectly optimized for the space.

  • Difference #5: Connectivity – The Sonos and Bose SoundTouch both stream music wirelessly, but they work in different ways. With the Sonos speaker, the setup process actually creates its own dedicated wireless network called SonosNet. This network is the primary way by which the speaker will communicate with other speakers in your house and stream the music you queue up. By making its own wireless network, the Sonos PLAY:3 reduces congestion on your main connection while reducing any interference when it comes to playing audio.

    The Bose SoundTouch 20 setup is a little more straightforward in terms of the technology used. You’ll be able to connect to your speaker through WiFi or Bluetooth. It’s important to note that while Bluetooth is capable of streaming music, the SoundTouch will communicate with other speakers via WiFi. WiFi is generally the more reliable option when it comes to streaming, but if you want to stream music from inside some apps, Bluetooth can be a valuable option.

    While both speakers connect over WiFi, the Bose SoundTouch 20 is compatible with more frequencies with support for 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 and 5Ghz. The Sonos PLAY:3 only works with 802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz.

  • Difference #6: Change orientation – The PLAY:3 is more flexible than the SoundTouch 20 when it comes to placement, as it works in both vertical and horizontal orientations. The rubber feet on both sides of the speaker ensure that your furniture won’t be scratched as well. Orienting the speaker in different ways has an effect on the PLAY:3’s sound as well, with a vertical setup producing mono sound and a horizontal orientation playing stereo.

    The Bose SoundTouch 20 produces stereo sound only, and is not flexible when it comes to orientation. While there are multiple ways to install it and fit it into your home decor, you’re definitely a little more limited than you are with the PLAY:3.

  • Difference #7: Extend to Home Theatre Sound System – One of the major benefits of the Sonos PLAY:3 is that it’s relatively easy to expand your smart speaker into a full 3.1 or 5.1 home theater. You’ll just need another PLAY:3 in order to make left and right channels, a soundbar like the Beam, Playbar, or Playbase, and a Sonos Sub for that powerful bass that will fill the room with dynamic audio.

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    Unfortunately, the SoundTouch 20 cannot be expanded into a full home theater sound system, so you’ll be stuck with the speaker as is. It has decent sound quality, there’s no doubt about that, but when compared to a full Sonos home theater system it just isn’t even a competition.

  • Difference #8: Supported Services – While both companies make competitive smart speakers, there is a large discrepancy when comparing the number of supported streaming services.

    This is an area where Sonos pulls ahead significantly, with over 50 services that make it a near-guarantee that you shouldn’t have to change up anything too much in order to get your favorite music streaming.

    The Bose SoundTouch 20 does a good job of playing music that’s already on your phone as well as streaming from select services. However, it just can’t compare with the vast catalog of streaming sites that the Sonos smart speaker family supports.

    One thing to keep in mind is that while the Sonos speaker supports a large number of services, it will generally only interface well with the paid services when it comes to the big names in streaming. That means you’ll need to shell out for Spotify Premium, Google Play Music etc in order to get the most out of your setup.

    If having access to the maximum amount of music is your main concern, the Sonos PLAY:3 wins hands down.

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Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Comparison Chart

Sonos PLAY:3Bose SoundTouch 20
Mono OutputIn vertical positionNo
Stereo OutputIn horizontal positionYes
Class-D Digital Amplifiers3
Drivers/Speakers32
Tweeter1
Mid-Woofer2
Adjustable Bass & Treble ControlsYesNo
A Bass RadiatorYesNo
Audio line-inNoYes
Connect to TVNoVia AUX Cord
Has its Own RemoteNoYes
Voice Control over Amazon AlexaYesYes
Voice Control Over SiriNoNo
Voice Control Over Google AssistantNoVia line-in port
Amazon Alexa Built-InNoNo
TrueplayYesNo
Set Up Over WiFiYesYes
Humidity ResistantNoNo
WiFi802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 and 5Ghz
BluetoothNoYes
Ethernet Port11
On-Device ControlButton ControlButton Control
One App ControlYesYes
IR ControlNoYes
Wall MountAvailableAvailable
Change OrientationYesNo
Extend to 5.1YesNo
SizeMediumMedium
Dimensions5.2 x 10.6 x 6.3 in.
(132 x 268 x 160 mm)
7.4 x 12.4 x 4.1″
(188 x 315 x 104 mm)
Weight5.71 lbs. (2.6 kg)7.0 lb (3.18 kg)
Product finishWhite w/ light metallic grille;
Black w/ graphite grille
White/Black

Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Integration

Bose SoundTouch 20

The Sonos PLAY:3 is king when it comes to integration with other smart products. There’s a huge list of Sonos Partners which make products that will work perfectly with the PLAY:3 as part of a larger smart home environment. In most cases, you’ll be able to control your speakers and the rest of your home through one convenient smart home controller like Lutron. The Sonos speakers are flexible and designed to fit in seamlessly with your existing smart setup.

The SoundTouch 20 doesn’t integrate with nearly as many smart products, although it does work beautifully with SmartThings — one of the premier smart home controllers.


Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Accessories

Bose SoundTouch 20 Floor Stand Accessory

As mentioned above, both the PLAY:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 are designed to be installable in multiple different ways. Consider buying the SoundTouch 20 wall/ceiling mount to get the speaker up off the ground. The PLAY:3 offers wall mounts and stand mounts as well and can be mounted vertically or horizontally, making it even more flexible than the Bose speaker.

In addition to the mounting options, the Sonos Boost will act as a wireless extender for your Sonos network, allowing all your speakers to stay connected with fewer signal interruptions.


Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20 — Our Thoughts

Sonos PLAY:3

Overall, while both the Sonos PLAY:3 and Bose SoundTouch 20 are excellent speakers in their own right, we feel that the PLAY:3 is the superior buy. With better sound quality, easy integration, more comprehensive integration, and far more supported partners, it’s very difficult to beat.

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Bose is an established brand with a loyal following, and many people who enjoy Bose products may be happy with the purchase despite the less impressive audio internals. If you’re not tied to a brand, however, the PLAY:3 is the way to go.

Our Score:
  • Sonos PLAY:3
  • Bose SoundTouch 20
4.6

Let us know what you think!

Have you noticed other differences between Sonos PLAY:3 vs. Bose SoundTouch 20? Feel free to add them or share your experience with the products in the comments section below. Your input can help other people make the right choice!


Last update on 2019-09-23 at 07:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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