The Battle of the Wireless Speakers: Sonos Play 5 vs Bose Soundtouch 30

(Last Updated On: May 1, 2017)

Wireless speakers are 2017’s boombox. These small, convenient devices produce a monstrous sound, all while being relatively inexpensive.

However, at the high end of this spectrum, two speakers stand out for their superior usability and sound.

Both the Sonos Play 5 and the Bose Soundtouch 30 are 2-way speakers that come in at $499. Both are also top of the line devices that can integrate with a whole ecosystem of other products.

Does the Sonos come to take the crown from Bose? Or is there a reason why Bose is still a household name?

Quick Compare

Sonos Play 5 Bose Soundtouch 30
Wi-Fi and Ethernet Wi-Fi+Bluetooth and Ethernet
Sonos Controller App SoundTouch App
14 lbs 18.5 lbs
8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in. 9.7 x 17.1 x 7.1 in.
$499 $499

Connectivity

Both of the speakers are the top of their respective ranges and meant to integrate into an ecosystem of speakers around your home.

The Sonos Play 5 doesn’t feature Bluetooth like other stand-alone speakers. Instead, it connects to your wireless network to stream from and to sync up to other devices you own.

If your wireless connection just isn’t making the cut, the Play 5 also has an ethernet port so you can easily plug it up directly to the wireless network in your home.

However, in terms of connectivity, the Soundtouch 30 has a leg up over the Play 5. In addition to having Wi-Fi functionality, the Soundtouch 30 can also connect directly to your streaming device via Bluetooth.

While Wi-Fi is great for most cases, configuring your network and settings can be a pair. Combine that with occasional outages of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth starts looking more and more attractive.

Of course, the Soundtouch 30 also features an ethernet port if that’s what fits your needs.

Ultimately, the Soundtouch 30 provides the most flexibility in terms of connectivity. With options for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ethernet, the Soundtouch 30 can easily hook up not only to streaming devices but also to streaming services and your local library without much fuss.

Sound Quality

However, all the connectivity options in the world don’t mean anything if the speakers don’t sound good. Thankfully both Sonos and Bose bring their A game in terms of quality.

As far as a definitive winner, it’s really a difficult decision to make. Both the Sonos Play 5 and the Bose Soundtouch 30 sound absolutely incredibly, filling a room completely with sound.

The Sonos sound rich and full, pumping out the low-end in one of the most pleasing ways I’ve heard from a single speaker. Instead of sounding over inflated and bloated, the Play 5 has a tight and consistent low-end which would be perfectly complimented with a Sonos sub.

The Bose tells a slightly different story. While the low-end is nice, rich, and full, it lacks the tightness and definition of the Sonos. The Soundtouch 30’s low-end does sound amazing but paired up against the Play 5, it just feels lackluster.

Throughout the rest of the frequency spectrum, the speakers sound oddly similar. The only, admittedly subtle, the difference I heard between the two was that the midrange was more defined in the Sonos and the top-end was a bit more hyped in the Bose.

However, these differences were so slight that I would call them negligible at best.

For a single speaker solution, and for my money, the Sonos Play 5 has a slight advantage over the Soundtouch 30. The low-end seems both richer and tighter, pumping in all of the right places. While the Soundtouch 30 follows very closely behind, the Play 5 wins out just slightly for this tightness.

App Integration

Both the Play 5 and the Soundtouch 30 require an app to be downloaded on either iOS or Android to take full control of the speaker. Whether you’re accessing your personal library, queuing up streaming services, or setting a play list, the apps can allow you to use all the functionality of the speakers.

The Sonos integrates with their Sonos Controller app. The application is available on iOS, Android, and on Mac and PC, meaning you can control the speaker on virtually any device.

Starting off, the app integrates with 49 different applications ranging from music to sports. Some of these include Spotify, Apple Music, and even Bandcamp. A number of services offered gives a giant field of access to almost any audio you could access on the web.

The app also features room control so you can take control of an ecosystem of Sonos speakers throughout your home. With this control, you can set different moods for every room, or even group rooms together to play the same music throughout different parts of the house, even allowing you to individually adjust the volume of each of the speakers.

Additionally, the app will make suggestions based on the music you listen to, allowing you to build playlists around your favorite music.

The Soundtouch 30 app features just about everything that Sonos has to offer. A ton of streaming services, access to personal collections, room control, and smart playlists are all features here as well.

However, the Soundtouch 30 goes a little further, featuring a beautiful marriage between software and hardware. The Soundtouch 30 features six dedicated preset buttons that can be setup within the app.

These presets are completely customizable and are stored so that you can easily jump between them without ever having to open the app. Weather it’s an album, a playlist, or even a radio station built around an artist, the presets make changing the music up a breeze.

While both apps hold just about the same features, the Soundtouch 30 wins out for the integration of preset buttons. Granted, both of the speakers are very easy to operate, and the Play 5’s app integration is fantastic, but having dedicated buttons like the Soundtouch 30 has pushed the functionality of the speakers just a little further.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s really difficult to draw a definitive winner from these two speakers. Both fall in at the same price point, and perform exceptionally well in almost every category.

The Sonos Play 5 is an exceptional speaker, highlighted by the incredible bass response and a healthy ecosystem of other products. For pure sound quality, the Play 5 wins out against the Soundtouch 30, albeit by a small margin.

However, the extended feature set of the Bose Soundtouch 30 shows why Bose has just a powerful, and longstanding, name in this industry. The attention to detail in terms of functionality make the Soundtouch 30 not only a joy to listen to, but a joy to use as well.

Overall, it comes down to preference. Both of the speakers are fantastic, and it would difficult to go wrong with either given their price point. If you can get your hands on both, try them out because they are both amazing.

For my money, the Sono Play 5 wins out due to the sound quality and because of the other products in the range. However, there is plenty of reason to go with the Soundtouch 30 as well.

Juan Alexander

Juan is a self-professed sound-nerd and the webmaster / lead author & tester for AllSoundLab. You might literally walk into him on the street because he's tuned out to the world and tuned in to his beats...

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