Bose SoundTouch 10 review: This compact wireless speaker works with everything and packs some surprising punch

Bose’s SoundTouch 10 is the smallest and least expensive Wi-Fi speaker in the company’s line of DIY wireless multiroom audio systems, which added Bluetooth to their feature list in late 2015.

At $ 200, £ 160 or AU $ 299, the SoundTouch 10 competes with Sonos’ Play: 1 speaker. It is similar in size, although the Bose is taller and thinner, measuring 8.34 by 5.56 by 3.43 inches (21.2cm by 14.1 by 8.7cm). It’s also lighter, weighing in at 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) compared to Play: 1’s 4.3 pounds (2 kg). Despite being compact, however, neither speaker has a built-in battery for use on the go; must be plugged into an outlet. (Note that you can upgrade to the SoundTouch 20 and SoundTouch 30 models – they are larger and more expensive, but with identical features.)

Like Sonos, you connect SoundTouch speakers to your Wi-Fi network and control operation via a free app available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices. While your phone or tablet acts as a remote, Bose also includes a small remote that mimics the six preset buttons on the top of the speaker. These presets can be mapped to playlists from various music sources, including Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer, as well as internet radio stations, although it’s not currently the Apple Music service.

The Bose SoundTouch 10 has six preset “shortcut” buttons on the top of the speaker.

Sarah Tew / CNET

In early 2016, Bose integrated the Spotify music streaming service into its SoundTouch app (you can also use Spotify Connect to stream music to a SoundTouch system directly from the Spotify app). Like Sonos, Bose continues to update its app, adding new features and improving the interface. It has come a long way since its launch a few years ago, and system setup is now significantly easier than it once was.

While Sonos remains one step ahead – we still prefer its app and it has a wider selection of integrated streaming services – Bose has bridged the gap and is now Sonos’ most serious competitor, with a wide range of speakers and home theater systems that bear the name SoundTouch, all capable of interconnecting as part of a multiroom sound system for the whole home.

You can wirelessly connect the speakers to play the same music in separate rooms or play different music in different rooms. However, unlike Sonos, you currently can’t connect two speakers and turn them into a true stereo pair, designating one speaker as left, the other as right. This may change in the future.

In terms of file compatibility, the speaker will stream music from your network and supports MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless and FLAC playback. Audiophiles should be aware that, like Sonos and Denon’s HEOS system, it will only support CD-quality files and not 24-bit high-resolution files.

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