BOSE have released a series of wi-fi speakers called SoundTouch. They all offer the same features but vary in size (SoundTouch Portable, SoundTouch 20 and SoundTouch 30). We got hold of the largest SoundTouch 30 model to review.
The SoundTouch unit offers wi-fi streaming with the ability to connect directly to the internet to stream your favourite music service at the touch of a button including access to 20,000 Internet radio stations from around the world and music services like Deezer, Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. All pretty damn cool. So lets take a look at how it performs.
The design of the SoundTouch 30 is very simple lines and no unnecessary frills, it’s not the sexiest design out there but very functional. It’s buttons are easy to use and the display is clear. It fits comfortably into my living room and really looks great. The SoundTouch 30 is pretty damn heavy given the components inside, but in terms of physical size its smaller than your average hi-fi but considerably bigger than most portable speakers:
To setup your SoundTouch system you need to download one of their apps on your smartphone or tablet, link the two and follow the instructions. It works very well, using your phone to update the software on the speaker. After a couple of minutes you are setup and ready to go. I found this setup process quite novel and a great way to get setup (as opposed to having to input network details directly into the speaker etc).
Again you use the app to link in your music services or browse for internet radio stations from their list. Once you start playing music from the app you can hold down a button on the speaker to add that playlist from that service to a preset.
So next time you want to play that playlist just push the button numbered 1 – 6 and voila – no smartphone or app needed. This is really great and worked well for streaming radio stations, however Spotify was a major problem.
I’m a huge Spotify fan and its one of the reasons I was so interested in the BOSE SoundTouch system in the first place. However, using the two together does not work. I set it up correctly and had to endure ongoing stop starting of the music as it lagged. I checked internet settings, streaming quality, spoke to BOSE support – nothing worked. The only way I can listen to Spotify is through the AUX in port while streaming it via my phone. Doing some research on the matter it seems as though only a small number of users are having these issues, but with no solution in sight it leaves a very sour taste in your mouth given the price of the system and the fact that this is the key feature.
So for now I am relegated to using an AUX cable as the SoundTouch does not support Bluetooth. Apple fans however, will enjoy a bit more connectivity with the inclusion of AirPlay support.
If you move past the streaming issues and look at the audio performance you do a full 360. The audio produced by the SoundTouch 30 is amazing. Fantastic range of sounds and really solid velvety base. It easily fills the room (and beyond) with great sound especially at high volumes.
We tested a wide range of music from acoustic indie tracks to deep thumping EDM and found the SoundTouch delivered at all ends of the spectrum with crystal clear high notes and strong mids. For such a small neat speaker system it really packs a punch. The ability to add other SoundTouch speakers to the setup makes this a strong rival for Sonos and gives you a good multi-room solution.
In the box
SoundTouch 30 Wi-Fi music system
User manual/ setup guide
Dimensions 9.7-inches H x 17.1-inches W x 7.1-inches D
Weight 8.39 kg
Wireless network compatibility – 802.11 b/g
Supported audio formats – MP3, WMA, AAC