Sound+Image

Bose SoundTouch 10

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For this new junior member of the latest generation of SoundTouch speakers, Bose has changed the design radically, producing a vertical stander. That’s smart thinking, given that this is the unit most likely to find a home on bedside tables where the smaller footprint will be much welcomed. But it’s a neatly compact design for anywhere — office, kitchen, anywhere that surface space is at a premium.

So it stands 21cm high, just 14cm wide and a little under 9cm deep. On top are the six preset buttons common across all aspects of SoundTouch, plus volume keys, power and an input switch to select the auxiliary minijack input or initiate Bluetooth operation — as with all Bose SoundTouch III units, it supports both Bluetooth in addition to its SoundTouch abilities (but no longer Apple’s AirPlay, sadly). It has a port at the top of the back, looking for all the world like a little horn loaded tweeter. And hoorah, there’s also a physical remote control provided.

Set-up for us was laughably simple, as we already had a SoundTouch account set up and Bose server software running on our Mac from previous reviews... we opened the SoundTouch app, went to Settings and ‘Add or reconnect system’, and enjoyed the excellent detailed and footnoted instructio­ns provided by Bose’s app. The unit was connected and playing within a couple of minutes.

And since the six presets are common to all your SoundTouch devices, those top buttons connected us immediatel­y to our chosen preference­s — a couple of Pandora stations, two favoured internet radio stations, two iTunes playlists.

Its sound is highly enjoyable, solid, with the midrange richness common to most Bose products, and a treble which is clear but never shrill. Despite its compact dimensions, it delivers a good underpinni­ng of bass, supported

in size if you bring that flared rear bass port to within a couple of inches of a wall — there’s also a bass adjustment slider under ‘settings’ in the app, with the default point usefully marked. Auditioned in isolation, there’s very little to criticise, though comparison with the very best in small speakers, notably the spherical Harman Kardon Omni 10, left the Bose sounding mildly boxy and a tad processed in direct comparison.

The app allowed us to play easily from iTunes on our Mac Mini and to browse our high-res collection on NAS drive, though the CD-quality limit on most formats left high-res files largely unplayable. MP3, WMA, M4A, AAC, FLAC and Apple Lossless formats are all supported, but nothing above CD quality except, oddly, high-res Apple Lossless files (see under ‘The app’ for more details).

But high-res files aside and perhaps the need to add some more music services (especially CD-quality ones — it’s a shame to squeeze a Tidal Hi-Fi subscripti­on through Bluetooth), the SoundTouch system remains one of the easist to use, the simple SoundTouch interface getting your music playing quickly, iTunes and NAS interopera­bility providing good network streaming, and the SoundTouch 10 delivering a competent and friendly small-room delivery on the end of it.

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