Bose’s new Dolby Atmos soundbar uses AI to try to take down the Sonos Arc

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar in front of a TV on a wooden surface
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose has unveiled a new premium soundbar, which it’s calling the Smart Ultra Soundbar. It’s compatible with Dolby Atmos and even features what Bose calls an ‘A.I Dialogue Mode’. It’s available now in both black and white, and is priced at $899 / £899 / AU$1,499. 

The most eye-catching feature of the Smart Ultra is clearly the "AI Dialogue Mode", with AI being such a hot topic. Bose says this uses machine learning to analzye dialogue and then adjusts tone balance to make speech clearer, without compromising on any of the surround effects. 

Bose says that it'll feature not only Dolby Atmos, but also Bose Spatial Technologies to create an immersive experience for both movies and music. Using Bose PhaseGuide technology, the Smart Ultra promises to add to Dolby Atmos’ overhead sound and pins sound to the left and right, so the soundbar envelopes you fully in the action. Of course, all soundbars claim this, but we probably believe Bose more than most of them. 

It also comes with Wi-Fi streaming, enabling you to stream the best music streaming services through it with a particular focus on Spotify Connect, but also AirPlay 2. The Smart Ultra Soundbar is also compatible with other Bose products like subwoofers and rear speakers for an even more immersive experience, and even some Bose headphones via the Bose music app for a more personal listening experience. It comes with voice assistant capability from Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. 

With its hefty all-in-one design suitable for TVs of 55 inches and above, two color options and promise of spatial audio from a single bar, it clearly has the mighty Sonos Arc in its sights. But it's less tall than that soundbar, which is a bit of a beast – the Bose looks better for today's minimalist TVs in some ways.

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar on a red background

(Image credit: Bose)

A new challenger appears 

Billed as a replacement for the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, the Smart Ultra Soundbar is aimed firmly at the likes of the Sonos Arc and Sony HT-A7000, which are some of the best soundbars available on the market today if you want an all-in-one box. 

Releasing the Smart Ultra Soundbar at the same price as the Sonos Arc certainly seems to indicate Bose’s desire to challenge the massively popular Arc. Of course, Bose has plenty of form and expertise in making great soundbars – the Bose Smart 600 is a soundbar we still highly recommend as a great mid-range option, and is better than the Sonos Beam 2nd Gen, so maybe the Ultra well eclipse the Arc in the same way.

Bose is certainly riding a trend at the moment with the introduction of AI technology. The use of this buzzword will definitely get the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar some traction and honestly, it sounds like intriguing technology. Clearer speech in movies is the main reason people want better sound often, so if Bose can use machine learning to improve speech levels in the same way that makers of the best TVs have used it to polish picture quality, then we’re here for it. 

Although Bose is still a popular name in the audio world, when it comes to soundbars, Sonos has definitely taken the crown in recent years. But, if Bose’s new Smart Ultra Soundbar can do everything it promises, we could be looking at the new king of the home theater.

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James Davidson
TV Hardware Staff Writer, Home Entertainment

 James is the TV Hardware Staff Writer at TechRadar. Before joining the team, he worked at a major UK based AV retailer selling TV and audio equipment, where he was either telling customers the difference between OLED and QLED or being wowed by watching a PS5 run on the LG 65G2. When not writing about the latest TV tech, James can be found gaming, reading, watching rugby or coming up with another idea for a novel.