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The Bose SoundTouch 10 suffices as a good home audio component with its premium aesthetics, a host of connectivity options and customisable channels. However, it's not the best-sounding speaker, if taken as a standalone component. There is a slight lack of clarity at higher volumes, along with a distinct bias towards bass. At 19k, you may consider it depending on your lifestyle, although it is not one for the hardcore audiophiles.
Over the years, Bose has stood its ground, symbolising quality audio with premium designs, and yet, appealing to the masses. With each passing day, we move ahead to a more connected environment, where our household machines can literally speak with each other. It is thus unsurprising that Bose decided to venture into the sphere of connected home audio. Bose’s latest SoundTouch range is a series of audio systems leveraging the rising lookout for inter-room speaker setups, comprising standalone speakers, high power units, soundbars & surround sound systems. What we have with us here is SoundTouch 10, Bose’s primary-level offering of connected home audio speakers.
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The Bose SoundTouch 10 undoubtedly looks elegant and premium, one that you would find in a room with sepia-toned Victorian wallpapers and ebony bedside tables. Bose’s venture into the connected audio space also signifies its importance, with the advent of the likes of Chromecast Audio to convert standard home speakers into connected devices. Without further ado, here’s the Bose SoundTouch 10 review.
The Bose SoundTouch 10 comes in two colour variants - black and white. While larger and more expensive products of Bose's SoundTouch lineup has a piano finish on the top, the SoundTouch 10 comes with matte, rubberised plastic, with a control pad on the top. The front face includes slightly glossier plastic material, with four LEDs indicating power, WiFi, Bluetooth and Aux connectivity. A thin chrome strip runs down the middle, below which is the neat fabric mesh of the speaker grille. The rear houses a dent to grip the speaker, with the aux and service ports towards the lower rear. The bottom has two rubber strips to add grip to the speaker, to keep it in place.
In terms of ergonomics and design, there is not much that you can pinpoint against the SoundTouch 10. Perceiving design depends much on your choice of aesthetics, but both in the general sense and in personal view, I believe that the SoundTouch 10 does its bit in looking suave, which some may term as signature Bose demeanour. The SoundTouch 10 is stern and upright, and has a stately aura that will see it fit most gorgeously-decorated rooms with fitting grace. The power socket sits at the lower end of the rear, easily concealable as long as you have a power socket behind the table. The aesthetic placement of ports help in keeping messy cables away from view, which also subtly puts away aux cables to the sideline.
While I personally found the black variant to be classier, a lot of my peers professed their love for the white finish. Truth be told, both the speakers look classy, and you will need to choose one based on the colour of your walls or what you personally prefer. The speaker weighs 1.87 kilos, which does not majorly affect proceedings seeing that the SoundTouch 10 is not meant to be portable, and Bose has its SoundLink lineup if you’re looking for wireless portable speakers. An excellent addition to the SoundTouch 10 is the SoundTouch Infrared Remote, which gives you the entire suite of options that are available on the speaker. You get the power switch, Bluetooth/Aux button, 6 presets, volume control, play/pause, rewind/back, forward/fast forward, and like and dislike buttons on the light, compact remote. The like and dislike come into play once you set the speaker up with the SoundTouch companion app, and so do the presets. To sum up, the Bose SoundTouch 10 is a well-crafted speaker with premium design cues and the convenience of a remote. All of this sets the stage well for good audio performance. This is where it gets interesting.
Audio Performance and SoundTouch app
The Bose SoundTouch 10 has an inkling of the typical Bose sound, but misses the mark by a margin. To begin with, the audio delivery is majorly bass-driven, which makes the sound boom and subdues the mids. The major issue with the booming bassline is that, while the bass frequencies have enough amplitude to sound loud, it sacrifices on the clarity of the bassline of tracks. This leads to a muddled bassline, one that sounds overbearing on tracks and not an enhancing backbone presence.
The low frequencies also sound slightly stiff, leading to a major bias towards bass-laden tracks. The best performance that you will get out of the Bose SoundTouch 10 at 50% volume on tracks that have a simpler, less profound bassline. Playing John Coltrane’s Equinox led to mixed thoughts, with the drumming taking precedence over the intricacies of Coltrane’s saxophone. Having stated this, the mid-frequency response of the Bose SoundTouch 10 is quite good, albeit a bit stiff. The stiffness leads to making tracks like Opeth’s Deliverance sound a little overbearing. This possibly occurs due to the dynamic balancing of the tracks that the SoundTouch 10 does by itself, peaking up the euphoric highs of tracks like Steve Vai’s Bad Horsie to give you an accentuated audio experience. The highs are sharp but well-balanced, adding a tone of warmth to the tracks that makes the audio sound wholesome.
However, there is a slight sense of harshness within the warmth, and the SoundTouch 10 surprisingly adds slight touches of distortion to incredibly clean tracks like Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia. The distortion is not too intruding to mess up the listening experience, but is distinctly present. Because of the overbearing bass, mid frequencies get muted to an extent. The dynamic balancing of tracks that the SoundTouch 10 does somewhat makes the audio balance better, but the mids still sound rather off.
Even though the audio balance is not supreme, the Bose SoundTouch 10 churns out warm, comfortable audio that makes it pleasant for casual listening inside a room. The SoundTouch 10 is also incredibly loud, reiterating its stance as a home speaker. For most of the time, you can keep the audio at levels of 30-40%, which is its sweet spot - clear of distortions, dynamic balancing making the best out of tracks, and comfortable, warm tones. For most purposes, you will find the Bose SoundTouch 10 sufficing your desire for warm, quality audio, even though the audio is not the clearest here. The best aspect of the SoundTouch 10 is the suite of connectivity options and customisable features. Once you set it up on multi-room format, you can synchronise it to pair with the other speakers in the house to play a track across the house. You can also set up the presets to play Internet Radio, local music or any music streaming service of your choice, aggregating the entirety of available audio on your device in one location, and these are the small aspects that make the Bose SoundTouch 10 an essential peg in the SoundTouch ecosystem, and a competent speaker to consider.
If you are a purist in terms of audio balance and clarity, the Bose SoundTouch 10 will disappoint you with its performance. What it does better than other ones is to provide multiple options to play music from your device. You can simply pair it via Bluetooth to instantly play music if you intend to use it as a solo speaker, or even connect an aux cable and setting it to Aux mode. It is convenient, and coupled with the warm, comfortable audio output, makes for a reasonably pleasant speaker that many will find decent. Bose also packs in a number of different adapters within the retail package, making the SoundTouch speakers convenient to connect to any power socket.
Watch Bose SoundTouch 10 Review
The Bose SoundTouch 10 is not the best in terms of audio quality, but what it does bring to the table is a host of connectivity options, programmable features via the very convenient apps, and loud, warm audio. At a price of Rs. 19,013, Bose is targeting a specific group of customers who are not only focussing on audio quality from their speakers, but a very premium facade to suit the lifestyle, too. Bose’s initial SoundTouch offering is a decent speaker. Whether you should buy it or not, though, completely depends on your usage requirements.