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Bose 300 vs 500 (2020): Which Bose Home Speaker Should You Get?

With the release of the Bose Home Speaker 300, Bose’s lineup of smart speakers offers users better variety. It presents a more affordable and compact alternative to the well-received Bose Home Speaker 500. Now for the tough part: which size is better for you? Well, there’s more to this comparison than simply a size difference so read on for our recommendation.

Bose 300 vs 500 Comparison Chart

ModelBose Home Speaker 300Bose Home Speaker 500
 
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at Walmart

Height6.3″8.0″
Width5.6″6.7″
Depth4″4.3″
Weight2.1 lbs4.75 lbs
Drivers1 x Full Range2
DisplayNoneColor LCD
AppBose MusicBose Music
Microphones68
BluetoothYesYes
Wi-FiYesYes
Apple AirPlay 2YesYes
Amazon AlexaYesYes
Google AssistantYesYes

Design

The Bose 500 has an LCD screen and is bigger than the Bose 300.

Bose 300 vs 500 Home Speaker Design
It’s easy to see how the Bose Home Speaker 300 (left) and the Bose Home Speaker 500 (right) belong in the same lineup.

One of the ways Bose made the Home Speaker 500 smaller is by removing the LCD screen and all the internal components necessary for it. What’s left is a compact device that’s half the weight and still capable of room-filling sound. Aside from this detail, it’s clear that both speakers belong to the same family of Bose products, as their design is essentially identical.

Each speaker has an oval shape with grills throughout its bottom half for maximum spacious broadcast. Their shells are made of the same aluminum material, with a capacitive touch panel on top and rubber pads on the bottom to keep them steady. An LED strip in front lights up to indicate voice assistant responsiveness. You can choose from either black or silver finishes, and both look great anywhere you place them in the room.

As the biggest design difference between the two, you’ll want to know what the LCD screen brings to the Bose 500. It will display information about the content that’s playing, such as artist name, track title, etc., and show full color album art. Aside from that, you can set it up to show the time when it’s on standby, and it does show messages during updates. It’s more of a bonus than a must-have, so it’s not a big loss for the Bose 300.

Setup and Controls

Both Bose 300 and 500 speakers allow numerous control and connectivity options.

Bose 300 vs 500 Home Speaker Controls
While both Bose speakers have controls at the top, you can also control them through mobile app and voice assistant.

Setting up either speaker is simple as you only need to download the Bose Music app and pair the 300 or 500 to your mobile device. From there you can setup Wi-Fi and voice assistants as well as other music services such as Pandora, Spotify and Amazon Music. It’s also compatible with Apple Airplay 2, so you have plenty of choices when it comes to how you want to maximize the speakers.

The touch-sensitive panel is a nice touch, no pun intended, since you don’t need any pressure to push buttons. An even better inclusion are the six presets which you can customize with playlists or different sound settings. It makes it a lot easier to get quick access to your favorites, especially with several users. You can have separate presets on multiple Bose smart speakers, unlike the SoundTouch line where presets carry over to every connected one.

Once you’ve chosen your default voice assistant, the six mics on the Bose 300 and eight on the Bose 500 do a reliable job of picking up your voice even with music playing. You can pretty much use these speakers as dedicated voice control devices to control other smart home products you might have installed. Expect slightly better reception from the Bose 500 though since it has a couple more receptors. A mute all button at the top will cut off power to all microphones for privacy.

Finally, the Bose Music app provides a central access station for all connected services on either speaker. You can rename the speaker, control music playback, change settings, etc., and you can also group other Bose smart speakers so you can issue commands to every one all at once.

Sound Quality

The Bose 500 produces a more powerful stereo sound compared to the Bose 300.

Bose 300 vs 500 Home Speaker Sound Quality
Expect the signature premium Bose sound from the Bose Home Speaker 500.

With two drivers facing opposite directions, the Bose Home Speaker 500 delivers true stereo sound that covers the room from wall to wall. It’s designed to take advantage of sound bouncing off surfaces and walls, creating a soundstage so large it’s surprising coming out of its relatively small frame.

It wasn’t only the LCD screen left out of the Bose 300 to reduce its size. Inside is just a single full range driver that fires onto an acoustic deflector, which in turn spreads the sound out through its enclosure. The result will still rock a room, though the difference in power with the Bose 500 is palpable. Its sound is even and balanced, with a strong bass even on default.

Still, for larger rooms you can crank up the Bose 500 higher without getting noticeable distortion. As a standalone speaker it certainly has the force you’d expect from a larger speaker. Sound quality is simply excellent, and the double drivers do a wonderful job of drenching the entire area with rich audio. You can also tweak the treble and bass settings to personalize your preferred sound further, on either speaker.

Verdict

The Bose 500 is better for bigger rooms than the Bose 300.

While both speakers can ably produce sufficient output for a whole room, the Bose Home Speaker 500 becomes the better pick the larger the room is. Its dual drivers really make a difference in delivering sound more effectively across longer distances. With a slightly bigger mic array, you’ll get better voice reception too. The LCD screen is simply a bonus feature that adds some eye candy to an already lovely design, but it’s nice being able to see content information at a glance.

Those looking to add a speaker to bedrooms, kitchens or other less spacious rooms will find the Bose Home Speaker 300 to be more suitable. It has enough power to blanket the narrower soundstage with detailed sound and punchy bass. Its price is more accessible too, which makes it a safer starting point if you’re just discovering the possibilities offered by smart speakers.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the difference between the Bose 300 and 500?

With its dual drivers, the Bose 500 produces a more powerful stereo sound compared to the Bose 300. Design-wise, you can tell them apart easily through the LCD screen found in the Bose 500.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Bose 300 and 500 compatible with Alexa?

Yes, both Bose home speakers are equipped with microphones so you can activate either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant even when the music is playing.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Bose 500 worth it?

Yes, the Bose 500 delivers a wide soundstage and high-quality sound that is consistently clean even if you crank up the volume. Its LCD screen adds an aesthetic flair to an otherwise standard-looking home speaker.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Bose 300 worth it?

The Bose 300 is a worthwhile purchase and sounds excellent in smaller rooms. If you plan on using your home speaker in a larger room, we recommend upgrading to the Bose 500 instead.

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Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.