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Bose Home Speaker 500 or Amazon Echo Show: Which smart speaker is better for a smart home?

Both Bose Home Speaker 500 and Amazon Echo Show are top of the line smart speakers that feature a unique design and performance that is second to none.

The world is getting smarter. Smart lights. Smart cameras. Smart locks. Smart vacuum cleaners. Smart ovens. You see where I am going with this. The list goes on and on and on. There is one smart device that connects all these smart gadgets and that is a smart speaker. This seemingly simple yet, might I add, extremely useful device, popularised by Amazon with its Echo range of smart speakers and then adopted by others is the key to using the other smart gadgets.

Today these smart speakers do more than entertain your guests at the dinner table and perhaps even you when you are bored out of your mind and have nothing else to do. There was a time when smart speakers were known just for their smartness, that is, the artificial intelligent soul, like the Amazon Alexa, that resides inside their core. Today they connect our loved ones with their giant displays and video calling features and they power both our morning routines and our parties. The Amazon Echo Show that was launched in India earlier this year at a price of Rs 22,999 and the Bose Home Speaker 500 that was launched in India last year at a price of Rs 39,000 are two examples of this trend.

They both are top of the line smart speakers that feature a unique design and a performance that is second to none. They are smart. They sound incredible. They are resourceful. And it won't be unfair if I say that they are creme-de-la-creme of the smart speaker world. When presented with two such intelligent devices, which one would you pick to make your home smarter? The choice is not an easy one and the price and design of the two smart speakers doesn't seem to help either. The trick, therefore, lies in knowing what you want.

Here's a simple breakdown that may help you make a choice.

Design and display

Both the smart speakers -- Bose Home Speaker 500 or Amazon Echo Show - feature a design that is fundamentally different to one another. The Amazon Echo Show, which we reviewed earlier this year, comes with a 10-inch HD display that is cased inside a box, which, as I had mentioned in my review looks like one of those old CRT TVs. It has a 5MP camera in the front that can be used for making video calls using Alexa app or Skype. On the top, there are a set of buttons that can be used for controlling the volume of the device and for forbidding Alexa from listening in on your conversations.

Bose Home Speaker 500, on the other hand, stands tall and it comes with a host of touch-based buttons that do everything from controlling the volume to playing/pausing music to restricting Alexa from listening to your chats to launching different to giving you one-touch access to some of your favourite music and radio stations. It has small LCD display in the front that displays information such as source of music and the song that is playing on your smart speaker. In short, it isn't much of a utilitarian feature.

On the contrary, with Amazon Echo Show you can watch shows or even movies from Amazon Prime Videos and food recipes and even make video calls to your friends and family. Of course, Bose smart speaker with its anodised aluminium case looks far more elegant and futuristic than Echo Show, but its display definitely presents operational limitations.

Performance

Oh Alexa! My sweet Alexa! Both Echo Show and the Bose smart speaker are powered by Amazon's mighty virtual assistant Alexa. You can order food or cab, listen to jokes or music, check the weather updates, play trivia quizzes, set alarms and listen to your morning news updates using both the smart speakers. These functions work flawlessly in both the smart speakers.

Now comes the sound. Bose smart speaker is loud and when I say loud, I mean really loud. It is so loud that during the course of my review I couldn't play songs with the speaker's volume maxed out. But here's the good part, even though it is extremely loud, its sound stays balanced all the time. It never misses a beat, it never produces a distressing note that will make the sound bleed in your ears. The sound, no matter what the genre or no matter how high the volume, remains stable, textured, clear and perfectly distinguishable.

The sound of Amazon Echo Show, on the other hand, leans a bit too much towards the highs, especially when the volume is maxed out. It is extremely loud. In fact, I would say that it is louder than all other previous Echo speakers, and what's good about it is that you can customise the sound - add a punch of bass and focus less on the trebles - simply by asking Alexa to do so. Alternatively, you can also customise the sound using the Alexa app.

Another point of difference is that at volumes maxed out, Alexa may occasionally not hear you especially if you are using the Echo Show. But in case of the Bose smart speaker, that is never the case.

Bose Home Speaker 500 or Amazon Echo Show: Which one should you buy?

As I said before, both the smart speakers -- Bose Home Speaker 500 or Amazon Echo Show - are the best smart speakers available in the market right now. They both have their strengths and they certainly have areas where they can do better. Which smart speaker is the right fit for your home ultimately depends on what your primary purpose of use is and of course, how much money you have to spare.

If you are looking for a speaker with a smart sound that can do quirky things like talk to you, obey all your commands and be the life of all your parties, then Bose Home Speaker is the right match for you. But if you are looking for a smart speaker that features amazing sound quality and that you can also use to watch videos and movies on the go then Amazon Echo Show is your best bet.

And if you are hoping to save a lot of money and looking for a smart speaker that features amazing sound quality then you can also consider the Amazon Echo Plus that retails in India for just Rs 14,999.