The Bose Soundtouch 120 and the Sonos Playbar are two pretty similar systems, but the Soundtouch does have some advantages over the Playbar, and vice versa. Here is a brief comparison and a little bit of a guide to help you decide if you are trying to choose between the two.
As a qualifier we will say that we do sell both of these products on our website. You can buy the Playbar here and the Bose Soundtouch 120 here. Since we sell both, we don’t really have any financial stake in you buying one over the other, so this comparison is very unbiased.
The SoundTouch Has Way More Bass
The most notable difference that you will instantly notice is that the Soundtouch has a lot more bass than the Playbar, and we mean A LOT. The Playbar doesn’t sound tinny, but it really doesn’t hit low notes very hard. The most common complaint, if you can call it that, is that you just don’t really feel and heart throbbing bass from it.
The product from Bose actually has another speaker enclosure in addition to the soundbar, which they call an Acoustimass module. It sounds like a fancy name but in reality this is your subwoofer. The soundbar itself doesn’t really have better bass, but with a subwoofer included you get way better bass performance overall.
Of course, our next point may bring a new perspective to this difference.
Price- The Playbar is More Affordable
A tradeoff to getting a subwoofer included is that you pay more for it. The Soundtouch retails for $1,099 most everywhere, while the Sonos Playbar retails for $699.
Now, you can also add a Sonos Sub for $699, which creates an essentially similar system to the Soundtouch 120. At this point, the Playbar and the Sub will cost you $1,398, and the Bose system is $1,099, so you actually may consider the Soundtouch 120 system to be a better value.
To really account for value though, you need to consider the quality of the product that you get in exchange for money. This brings us to our next point.
Sound Quality, Edge to Sonos
Bose is no slouch when it comes to sound quality, so we don’t mean to lead you to believe that you are going to be disappointed with what it sounds like if you do end up buying the Soundtouch 120. The Sonos just is slightly better. Clearer, sharper, more precise, and overall just a little better sound. The Sonos Playbar features 9 speakers, while the soundbar for Bose only has 5.
When is comes to playing music, or hearing a conversation with the sound turned down, the Sonos wins in clarity. When it comes to action, explosions, or other times when you want chest thumping bass, you will probably like the Bose better because of the included subwoofer. If you are going to add a Sonos Sub, we give the sound quality edge to Sonos in any circumstance.
Controller App- No Receiver Needed For Either
Both systems forgo a traditional receiver device and connect directly to the TV. Both also work over your home WiFi network, and can be controlled from a smartphone with a controller App. Both can play streaming music from a variety of music services such as Pandora or Spotify, and both have fairly user friendly controls.
We give a slight edge to Sonos because their app is a little more user friendly, but it really comes down to preference. Most anyone can easily learn the controls on either very easily. Sonos also makes it a little easier to add devices and control Sonos devices in multiple rooms, so if you are considering a more robust system you will notice that Sonos makes it all a bit easier than Bose.
This is a little extra feature included in the Bose system. It allows you to run the AdaptIQ when you first set up your system (essentially a self tuner) that can read the acoustics of the room and space around the speakers. According to Bose it can even correct for the surface the speaker is mounted on.
While in our tests we did not notice any real specific difference in clarity after running the AdaptIQ, we really did not test the speakers on less ideal surfaces such as linoleum floors or metal shelves. It is possible that under certain circumstances it might make a big difference, we just didn’t really notice it in our comparison tests.
The result really comes down to preference, and what specifically you are after. If you don’t mind spending the extra money you will be very happy with a Playbar plus a Sub. If you are comparing the Playbar against the Soundtouch 120 system we recommend that you just go with the Soundtouch 120 because the extra bass makes a big difference in a home entertainment system. You’ll be happy you have it when you watch a movie.