A couple of months ago now, Bose launched their new range of SoundTouch wireless audio systems, and for that two months since, I’ve been playing with a Bose SoundTouch 10 here in the Ausdroid office. In fact, I’ve taken it places beyond the Ausdroid office; when I go do some work in the Ausdroid Shop, I take the speaker there too for some grooves on the go, and my gosh.
I get ahead of myself.
I enjoy listening to music when I work, when I relax, and sometimes while I sleep. I use headphones when I don’t want to annoy others, but when I don’t care, a high quality speaker is an absolute must. That I can find a high quality speaker that includes Bluetooth and WiFi support, as well as a hacky way to get Google Play Music going, is kind of thrilling.
What is the Bose SoundTouch 10?
The killer hook with the Bose SoundTouch 10 (and indeed, with the rest of the range) is the integration of both Bluetooth and WiFi based audio streaming. Unlike some other speaker technologies, Bose’ setup is kind of unique, and it works really well — you can stream from your phone using Bluetooth, but you can do so much more.
Using the included remote controller, the hardware buttons on the top of the speaker (pictured below) or the SoundTouch app (which works on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows), you can set six presets on your SoundTouch 10, including things such as Spotify playlists, Internet radio stations, and any combination of the above. On mine, I’ve got a few Digitally Imported Radio stations, SBS Chill, and Kiis FM Los Angeles.
With those presets, you can start your tunes without ever touching your mobile; the preset keys are on the top of the speaker, and on a convenient little IR remote that you can leave on the coffee table. Though it’s a small speaker (by comparison to some others), it emits a punchy sound. In fact, the audio quality really does transcend the unit’s small dimensions — 21cm tall, 14cm across and 8.5cm deep.
The value proposition
This might have something to do with the 2.5″ Unidome transducer inside (in other words, a big speaker) paired with Bose’ high quality audio DSP chip. I’m not that much of an audiophile, but I know that the audio coming out of this speaker sounds better than what comes out of most of my appliances, and that’s a good thing.
With WiFi support, my first question turned to Chromecast support … and sadly, the Bose setup has none of it. However, you can quite easily fix that. Google’s recently released Chromecast Audio makes a perfect addition to the SoundTouch 10, but it does leave you with a question of how to power it. You’ll find, though, that the SoundTouch 10 has a microUSB port on the rear for ‘service’, but if you use a USB-OTG cable, you can power your Chromecast from the speaker itself, and then throw your favourite Chromecast-compatible media at the SoundTouch 10 quite easily. In fact, while writing this, I’ve got PocketCasts streaming straight to the speaker and it works very, very well.
Probably the only annoyance with the range is that they require a power point; there’s no built in battery so you can’t take it to the beach for some care-free tunes. Without access to a WiFi network though, the usability of the speaker decreases a little, and frankly if you’re only using Bluetooth streaming, there are better (and cheaper) options on the market.
Bose have made much of the inclusion of Spotify, and if your music is in that ecosystem, you’ll definitely enjoy the inclusion of Spotify support, and the ability to link playlists, albums and more to the preset keys for easy enjoyment. However, if you’re not a Spotify user (I’m not), you can also hook into Pandora or Deezer, but without a Chromecast, there’s no Google Play Music support. Equally, Apple’s Music service isn’t supported directly (but you can probably Bluetooth it to the speaker).
The Bose SoundTouch 10’s value lies in the combination of Bluetooth for simple streaming and WiFi for advanced, phone-free use (while also offering the promise of synchronised audio in multiple rooms if you have more than one). That Chromecast isn’t built in is a little frustrating, but easily worked around. This leaves me with the conclusion that the SoundTouch 10 is an excellent little unit, and one I’d very much like to keep in my life.
Where to buy
You, too, can have a Bose SoundTouch 10 in your life, with retail pricing set at $299 from places like JB HiFi, though others (like Myer) are already discounting this unit to around the $255 mark. You can also buy online from places like BuyMac for $269. If you’re keen to try one out, head into JB HiFi would be my bet (as they’re more likely to have a working demo unit), then see if they’ll price-match some of the other retailers with more competitive pricing.
Ausdroid’s review unit was supplied by Bose Australia. Thanks guys!