Picture of the Bose Wave Radio, Front View.

Bose Wave Radio 1 AWR131 Review

While some may call the Bose Wave Radio 1 model AWR131 merely a glorified clock radio, its notably extensive yet not muddy bass qualifies it as more like a high performance stereo receiver; one that just happens to support clock radio functionality.

Indeed, this model Wave Radio  sports a bright, easy to read green clock display in a tabletop sized form factor, and can be programmed to wake you up with your favorite radio station, just like a clock radio.  However, the punchy, full sound that you’ll here when you do that, sets this compact stereo system apart from most any other clock radio.

The Bose Wave Radio 1 also doubles as a fully integrated stereo sound system with a decent audio amplifier, speakers, and tuner, all in one compact and surprisingly light package. While we consider the entire Bose Wave sound system line a bit pricey, we do recognize that this technology bears some hallmark elements, and accurate sound with ample bass reproduction is certainly one of those.

Picture of the Bose Wave Radio, Front View.
Front View of the Wave Radio from Bose.

Bose Wave Radio 1 Benefits, Pros, Advantages, and Features

Comes with a Remote Control

Full-function remote control that operates the radio from up to twenty feet away.

Battery Backup

Battery backup, retains clock and station favorites settings for up to 72 hours, via a heavy duty 9-volt battery. It also powers the tone wake-up alarm.  So, even during power outages, this alarm clock still wake you, for up to three days without AC power.

Detachable Power Cable

Removable and replaceable AC power cord.

Top Panel Button Controls on the Bose Wave Radio 1

Push button controls to access most features, are located on the top of the AWR131.  These include: Sleep / Snooze, Volume Down and Up, six station presets, Tuning Up and Down, Alarm Set, Alarm Mode, and Clock Set buttons.

Stereo Auxiliary In and Line Outputs

The back panel features RCA-type AUX In ports and variable line outputs.  There’s also a 120-volt power connector and a 75-ohm external FM antenna F connector. So, you can play CD players, cassette tape decks, and any audio source that offers line-level audio outputs.

Small but Powerful Speakers

The system features two 2.5” speakers; one of which is attached to an internal folded wave guide.  This yields a bass response that rivals speakers three or four times this size. Their patented waveguide technology really does produce plenty of shocking bass.

Sensitive AM FM Tuner 

Makes those distant, weak stations sound local. The FM radio uses the power cord as an antenna when an external aerial is not connected. This means that for best station reception, completely stretch out the power cable.

The Bose Wave Radio 1 Has Twelve Radio Station Presets

Up to six AM and six FM stations can be programmed into the six favorite-stations buttons.

Easy to Read Digital Display

The AWR131 features an auto-dimming green display.  This shows current time of day, alarm times, and currently playing tuner frequency.  Also indicates whether the current station is broadcasting in stereo.

Standard or Military Clock Mode

Clock can display time in either 12 or 24 hour formats.

Dual Alarms

Two separate, independently programmable wake alarms.

Choose Alarm Sounds

Features waking to music or to an alarm tone, whose volume level can be adjusted.

The Bose Wave Radio 1 Features a Sleep Timer

You can program the sleep function to automatically turn off the Bose Wave Radio 1 up to 75 minutes hence.

Snooze Feature

The Sleep button doubles as a Snooze feature as well, used to silence the wake alarms for ten minutes when pressed.

Easy Setup

No initial setup is required, to begin playing this high-end radio as soon as you take it out of the box.

Bose Wave Radios Hold their Value

If you should ever decide to sell this radio, they do seem to hold their value better than cheaper receivers.  So, take good care not to scratch the case or expose the radio to cigarette smoke.  And, if you’re going to play it in the kitchen, keep it well away from the stove, to avoid splattering it with fats and oils.  The better the shape the unit is in, the more you’ll get for it should you put it up for sale.

The Bose Wave Radio 1 Has Awesome Sound

Room filling, rich sound.  Plenty of volume for indoor and small outdoor parties and small DJ venues.

Comprehensive Users Manuals

Extensive owners guide that features a Troubleshooting section that explains well how to resolve most any user-solvable problem with the radio.  See below for link to the manual.

Picture of the control panel on the top of the radio.
Top view of the radio, showing the control panel.

Bose Wave Radio 1 Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Limitations

No Bluetooth

Does not support Bluetooth, so you cannot play audio from your mobile device wirelessly through the AWR131.

No Internet Radio

Nor can it play internet stations directly.

Bass Output Not Uniform

Unevenly distributed bass output.  All the bass seems to come from the right front corner of the Bose Wave Radio 1, as it is this place where the hole into the interior wave guides is positioned.

No iPod Docking Port on the Bose Wave Radio 1

No iPod / iPod Touch / iPhone docking connector.  However, you can play these devices through the AUX input if you obtain the correct cabling.  Not included with this receiver.

No Audio Equalizer Controls

No bass and treble controls.  This appears to be a standard non feature of the entire Bose Wave Radio line.

For best bass renditions, position the Wave 1 within two feet of a wall, according to the owners guide.

Unusual Remote Battery

The remote control unit requires a rather difficult to locate CR2032 battery.  A triple-A (AAA) battery would have made the remote easier, and cheaper, to maintain.

Only ONE Auxiliary Input

With today’s proliferation of audio devices, everything from TVs, DVD players, DVRs, Etc., at least three inputs would have been far more helpful.

Dust Builds Up in Speaker Openings

The speaker grill on the Bose Wave Radio 1 has thin horizontal louvers that quickly catch and retain dust. A soft vacuum brush is required to periodically clean out this dust, which quickly becomes highly visible on the black version of this Wave Radio.

Speakers May be Too Close Together for Best Stereo Sound on the Bose Wave Radio 1

The internal left and right speakers are less than a foot apart so that optimal positioning for best stereo imaging cannot be achieved with this unit, unless you utilize external speakers.

Our Rating of the Bose Wave Radio 1

While we wouldn’t pay the suggested retail price for this radio during its production run, it’s nonetheless easy to hear why many people would.  The rich, realistic stereo sound, coupled with the sleek, substantially heavy, tank-like feel of this radio, definitely heightens its value above the run-of-the-mill clock radios.  We like large and bright status readout, the external antenna and auxiliary inputs, and with an appropriate cable, can play our iPods and listen to them as we would with a high-end boom box.  Thus, we rate the unit at 94 out of 100.  So pick one up on eBay if you can find it.

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References for the Bose Wave Radio 1

  1. Bose   Official Web Site
  2. Bose Wave Radio Evolution   on Wikipedia
  3. Owners Guide   (PDF)
  4. Where to buy the   Bose Wave Radio

Revision History

  • 2019-02-19: Added key phrase targeting, fixed some typos, and added more tags and subheadings.
  • 2015-11-15: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2014-11-06: Originally published this post.