Smart battery speaker in the field test: Bose shows Sonos how to do it


Bose against Sonos. This is the current market for upscale smart speakers with battery operation. Bose does everything important much better than Sonos, the move had us disappointed. We compared the Bose Portable Home Speaker directly to the Sonos competitor. Because the Sonos speaker is not useful in battery mode as a smart speaker usable. This is different in the Bose competition, everything works as expected. We were particularly impressed by what Bose sounded out of the small loudspeaker housing during the battery life.

  • The first part is about which of the two battery speakers is better suited for mobile use.

  • In the second part we listened to Bose's Portable Home Speaker and compared him not only with Sonos' Move, but also with Bose's Smart Home Speaker 500 and Amazon's Echo Studio in the blind test. Both are among the smartest speakers with the best sound. In addition, we have received in the test of battery life very pleasing results and also the use as a mobile smart speaker works exemplary and much better than the Sonos competitor.

  • The third part deals with the functions as a smart speaker. The Portable Home Speaker can be used with either Alexa or Google Assistant, but with functional limitations. Especially in combination with the Google Assistant, we had big problems and are annoyed that an important music streaming service is not supported.

Job market

  1. TenneT TSO GmbH, location Lehrte, operational area Hamburg
  2. Highland SE, Heimenkirch, Schongau

  • In the fourth area we looked at the multiroom capabilities. The Bose system has some weaknesses in this discipline. In addition, we fought with an annoying behavior in the Airplay 2 operation in conjunction with the Apple TV.

  • Finally, we conclude.

All controls are located on the top of the Portable Home Speaker. In addition to an on / off switch, there are volume buttons, a pause or resume button, and a button to manually activate a digital assistant. There is also a Bluetooth button and a button to deactivate the microphone on the speaker. All buttons are under a rubber coating and have a good pressure point.

Bose Portable Home Speaker (Image: Martin Wolf /

When we play music on demand, pause and resume it, the new model now responds as fast as other Alexa speakers. That was not the case with the Home Speaker 500. Here Bose has optimized a lot. However, this does not apply if we interrupt the music on the speaker by pressing a button or continue. Then it still takes about two seconds for the music to pause – that's just too slow.

Around the control panel there is an LED ring that displays status information. Since the ring is not on the edge of the case, this can only be seen if the speaker is placed below eye level. Here, Amazon's approach is exemplary on most echo speakers, because the outer LED ring is always clearly visible, no matter how the speaker is set up.

When the music is paused, this is indicated by four light dots inside the ring – a smart idea that would also be practical for other smart speakers. All this is well explained in the manual that the customer needs to download from the Bose homepage or through the Bose app.

Mobile usage

The Bose speaker is noticeably smaller and daintier than the comparatively large and heavy move from Sonos. The Bose model has a handy wrist strap to carry the device around comfortably. The loop is much more practical than the grip on the Move. In addition, the Bose model wears much more comfortable, because it weighs only 1.06 kg and no 3 kg as the Move, we just do not want to wear long.

Bose Portable Home Speaker (Image: Martin Wolf /

Bose and Sonos alike assure that their loudspeakers withstand crashes easily. Both models are very stable and solid and are protected against splashing water – so they can get wet outside without being damaged. On the back there is an easily accessible USB-C socket to charge the speaker battery.

For the small case, the Bose speaker delivers a particularly impressive sound.