Bose SoundTouch 10 Review

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Bose is one of the best known names when it comes to personal audio solutions, but it’s not been at the cutting edge of technology for some time now. A whole wave of small Bluetooth speakers cropped up and multispeaker systems have been proliferating, thanks to the efforts of brands like Sonos. Bose’s SoundLink speakers are its answer to portable Bluetooth, while its SoundTouch series now supports multiple speakers, and, after three generations, Bluetooth.

The SoundTouch line includes updates to the SoundTouch 20 and the SoundTouch 30, but it also introduces the SoundTouch 10, the smallest new speaker in the series. Priced at Rs. 19,013, there’s a definite barrier to entry here, but the speaker itself is nice looking, with simple sleek lines that highlight just how small it is, and its performance is fine when listening to most music. Is it worth the price tag though?

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Design
The Bose SoundTouch 10 weighs 1.87kg, and is available in black or greyish white. The controls are massed on top of the speaker, while there’s also a small remote you can use. You can also control the speaker using a companion app on your smartphone. The speakers are 21.20cm (H) X 14.10 cm (W) X 8.70 cm (D) so it’s less than a foot tall and blends gracefully into any setting.

The ports are all at the back off the speaker, and you can connect it to your PC via USB for setting up the wireless network, and there’s an auxiliary input where you can directly connect any of your sources. The speaker supports online playback supports services such as Spotify – you can set these up either using your computer, or with the Bose app on your phone. You can then quickly switch sources by tapping the six preset buttons on top of the speaker. Unfortunately, these don’t work in India just yet, so you’ll have to stick to content that’s already on your system, which means that the buttons on top don’t get as much use here.

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Performance
Using the SoundTouch 10 is pretty simple – you can easily stream content via Bluetooth, or you could connect it directly to sources and play audio using the aux cable. What we found was that the audio quality was pretty good even when streaming via Bluetooth, without a very appreciable difference even with a wired source. The first thing you’ll notice is how loud the speaker gets. It’s not much bigger than most portable Bluetooth speakers, but the SoundTouch 10 can easily fill up a room – cranked up to the full volume, we could hear it loud and clear from across a 20X20 foot room.

Unfortunately, when it’s cranked all the way up, you’ll also notice that the audio breaks a little – the clarity is not what you’d expect from a speaker that costs nearly Rs. 20,000. The bass performance of the speaker also leaves something to be desired. In our experience, it did best with current pop tracks like Passenger’s Let Her Go. The details of the bass and the drums were frequently lost even when the volume wasn’t at maximum. Apart from music, we also connected the speaker to a PlayStation 3 using the aux cable, and would definitely not recommend using it like this. The speakers might be loud, but they don’t fill the room; you’ll just feel a loud noise from in front of you, instead of being surrounded by the sound.

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The earlier generation SoundTouch speakers supported Airplay playback from Apple devices, which made them very simple to use. However, Bose has now dropped the standard, and instead uses it’s own Wi-Fi technology. This means that you have to have the companion app installed on your phone, but it means it works with both iOS and Android now.

Setting up the speaker using the Android app was very simple, and we had connect to our Wi-Fi network easily. Connecting and streaming via Bluetooth is equally simple and foolproof. Using this app, you can also create multiroom audio setups, or use multiple speakers in the same room, and you can control multiple speakers through the app.

Verdict
The SoundTouch 10 is a great looking speaker that is louder than you would expect, but given the price, we have to question how much value you’re getting out of the device. If you’re just looking for a nice bedroom speaker or something for your desk, then the SoundTouch 10 isn’t really value for money – but if you’re looking at putting together a multi-room setup, then it is not a bad option.

Price: Rs. 19,013

Pros

  • Simple, appealing design
  • Very loud for the size
  • Companion app makes setup simple

Cons

  • Audio quality is not consistent at high volume
  • No portability
  • Expensive

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