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Music. It truly enriches the human experience, and without it life as we know it would just not be the same. Modern technology has done wonders for music, and allows people around the world to enjoy it in ways that have never before been possible.
One of the most interesting innovations in music technology comes in the form of the modern portable speaker. These marvels of human ingenuity allow people to bring the music that they love with them virtually anywhere that they go and to enjoy it at just about anytime.
But all portable speakers are not created equal, and a prospective buyer will want to purchase a wireless portable speaker with certain universally appreciated characteristics. The eight speakers that will be reviewed in this article all come with many of these capabilities, and that is why they have earned the title of best portable speakers 2017 for under $100.
Modern portable speakers come with a dizzying variety of available features. It stands to reason that the more features that a given portable speaker has, the more expensive it is likely to be. The key in this situation is to figure out which features will be the most useful and which will not be.
That way, undesirable or unneeded features can be factored out of the decision, and this means that the chosen speaker will likely be much less expensive. Once this has been decided, it is a simple matter to find the speaker with the desired options.
2. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES
As technology in general has become more advanced, the technologies used to create portable speakers has advanced at the same pace. Some of the more feature intensive speakers have become so complicated that it can seem like a person needs an advanced degree to operate them. Speaker manufacturers have come to realize this, and because of this they have started to make their products as user friendly and hassle free as humanly possible.
As a result of this, many makers have decided not to include user manuals in the box with the speaker. Instead, they are increasingly opting to put the user manuals online on their company website. Because of this trend, prospective buyers should make sure that the online user manual is as easy to understand and informative as possible before they purchase their speaker of choice.
3. BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
There was a time when bluetooth technology was a novel and little used feature of some products. Well, times have changed, and bluetooth connectivity has now gone mainstream. Many common electronic devices now come with bluetooth as a basic feature.
One of the things that make bluetooth capable speakers so attractive is their amazing ability to stream high-fidelity music directly from some other bluetooth ready device directly to the speakers. This eliminates the need for messy external wires, and makes using portable speakers much more convenient. And with smartphones, tablets, and other hand held devices all the rage, having a speaker system with bluetooth allows users to harness the power of technologies that they probably already have.
There are also some other kinds of related technology that buyers should look out for. Many portable speakers now come equipped with wireless capability, which means that cumbersome power cords need not be lugged around any longer. They also come with internal rechargeable batteries, and for this reason expensive disposable batteries can be dispensed with. To add icing to the cake, many are also capable of getting signals from satellites, and this means that they can tune into the many satellite radio stations that are available today.
4. CHARGING CAPACITY
Modern speakers are chock full of amazing cutting edge technology. More often than not, these advanced features may require considerable power to operate. In addition to this, if the speaker is used continuously, or if it is used with the volume pumped up, even more power will be needed.
As was mentioned earlier, many good portable bluetooth speakers come with internal rechargeable batteries included. Buyers should make sure that these batteries have decent storage capability, as this will extend the usage period. A lot of portable speakers also come with regular run of the mill power cords for charging.
This is a good thing, but users may find themselves in situations where a power outlet in not easily accessible. For situations like these, it is good to have a portable speaker system that has alternative ways to be recharged. These can include things such as USB charging outlets or car charging adapters.
5. THE SIZE OF THE SPEAKERS
For many individuals, the size of the portable speakers is a major consideration. They may think that the bigger the speaker system is, the louder and better the sound it produces will be, and in some cases this belief may hold true. That being said, advances in modern speaker technology allows smaller speakers to pack more of an audio punch than ever before.
Many smaller systems offer crisp and clear high fidelity sound, and some even offer bass in the 60hz range. This means that dollar for dollar, they offer more than their slightly larger and possibly more expensive counterparts. In most cases, the best option will be to test out the sound quality of the speaker before purchasing it if it’s at all possible to do so.
6. DOES IT HAVE A MICRO SD CARD?
Many people enjoy spending time in the great outdoors doing things such as hiking, bike riding, camping, and other such activities. In such situations, they may be reluctant to bring along expensive and possibly fragile devices such as tablets and the like.
At times such as these, it can be a great thing to have a tiny but powerful micro sd card with all of the music that they love stored on it. For this reason, prospective buyers of portable speaker systems may want to purchase one that comes with the capability to read data from micro sd cards.
7. THE OVERALL QUALITY OF THE SOUND
In the past, there have been many people who have made complaints about the less than stellar sound quality of some of the available portable speaker systems. Some common issues have included tinny sound, a lack of pitch range, a lack of carrying power, or a lack of bass.
Luckily, there are a wide range of portable speaker systems that are designed to fit different needs. Prospective buyers should think carefully about situations in which the speaker is likely to be used, and then purchase a system with the fidelity to meet those needs.
In many cases, portable speakers come with different available accessories. One of the most popular accessory is the woofer, and many people who use portable systems in a work environment, such as DJ’s and musicians find these modern marvels invaluable.
These are not the only available accessory, and prospective buyers should do a little basic research into which accessories come included with the portable speaker system that they are looking to purchase.
9. THE COMPATIBILITY OF THE SYSTEM
Buyers of portable speaker systems will almost always have a device of some kind with which the speaker system will be used. Because of this, it is important to make certain that the portable system in question is in fact compatible with the device it is meant to be used with.
Some speaker systems are designed to work with specific operating systems, such as Android, ios, or others, so it may be a good idea to invest in a system that can work with many different platforms.
10. IS IT AVAILABLE ONLINE?
This is quite an important consideration. Portable speaker systems that are only available at a department or electronic store may seem to be easier to obtain, but there are drawbacks to that mode of purchase. For one thing, many stores have high overhead costs such as rent and employee salaries. Because of this, they tend to offer higher prices in the hopes of making a larger profit. This is good for the company, but not so good for the consumer.
For this reason, it is a good idea to try to purchase the portable speaker system online if at all possible. In most cases the prices will be appreciably lower, a larger range of products will be available, and the buyer can take advantage of modern rapid shipping services.
Okay, so now that we have looked at some of the things that go into a great portable speaker system, let’s review our picks for the best portable speakers 2016 for under $100.
The SoundBlock Ultra Portable Bluetooth Speaker 3.0 is a marvelous system, with a great price. It has dual 40mm 6 watt speakers, and its large sound cavity allow it to fill large rooms with a big sound. It has bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, and this means that it can receive wireless audio signals from a wide variety of bluetooth capable devices.
This also allows users to receive hands free phone calls directly through the speakers. It also has enhanced bass capability, comes with an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery, and even has a 3.5mm audio jack for those who may not have bluetooth ready devices. Its battery lasts for up to ten hours per each charge, and at just 6 inches by 2 inches, it is portable enough to put in a deep pocket.
This larger portable speaker weighs in at about $100. It is slightly larger than many portables, and this allows it to project its sound fairly well. It has a rechargeable internal battery that is rated for about 10 hours of continuous use.
It comes with a microphone that is integrated into the system, and this gives it speakerphone capabilities. It’s larger size means that it makes use of AC power to charge it, but this is balanced by its inclusion of a USB charging port for smartphones and other similar devices. It also includes an audio jack just in case bluetooth connectivity isn’t available.
This awesome speaker weighs in at 6 inches by 2 inches, and costs around $60 on Amazon. It is fully bluetooth capable, and also comes with an alternative 3.5mm audio jack. It boasts an internal rechargeable battery that can provide up to 8 hours of continuous sound, and comes in 5 different colors.
Despite its diminutive size, it has an amazing audio range, easily reproducing high or low tones and anything in between. It allows users to make, receive, or even reject phone calls, and its microphone allows for hands free use. It comes with a long USB charging cable for easy power ups, even has a velvet lined protective carrying case. Truly a marvel for its low price.
This system has 4 drivers and two passive subwoofers to boot. It comes with bluetooth, a speaker phone, has 8 hours of battery life, and get this: it’s waterproof! With its cheap price, it is truly a steal.
This system is fully bluetooth compatible, as would be expected. It boasts 20 hour battery life, comes with an available sound jack is bluetooth isn’t available, and costs under $100. It also has a 4 watt, 2 inch driver that delivers an unbelievable sound range.
This is yet another water resistant portable speaker, and that alone makes it worth the price any day. It comes in a wide range of colors, it bluetooth ready, and has an available audio jack. It can deliver up to 10 hours of sound, and comes with some accessories such as a kick stand.
Its 6X2 size makes it ultra portable, and it is fully bluetooth capable. It features easy to locate and use controls, and has an amazing sound range. It delivers startling treble and bass that actually pumps and bumps, making it a system that punches above its weight.
It has an integrated speaker system that allows hands free phone calls, and even offers text messaging if the music is playing. It comes with a USB charger for easy powering, and is also available in a range of colors.
This awesome piece of technology if fully bluetooth ready. It comes with a mix magnet system, to 50mm speakers, and two huge bass radiators that deliver truly astonishing sound. It has a built in 3.5mm cable, hands free calling capability, and a built in rechargeable battery that delivers up to 7 hours of listening pleasure.
Bluetooth speakers are very popular because they come in the most creative designs and they are ultra-portable. The Mpow® Armor Portable Bluetooth Speaker is specially designed for outdoor use with dustproof and waterproof features and emergency power supply for nonstop enjoyment of music wherever you are. But does this speaker deliver the sound quality and portability as advertised? Read on to find out.
What makes this speaker so interesting and popular is its design. The Mpow® Armor comes with a durable build made of high quality plastic allowing it to withstand drops from a few feet without a scratch. The aesthetic features are also remarkable especially for a speaker in this price range.
You get a plastic body with classic black radiator grilles and assorted color accents to bring a pop of color which mix well with the minimalist design. Controls are composed of one power button and a previous and next button to control your playlist and volume. Simply give the buttons a longer press when changing volumes. The speaker also comes with USB and AUX ports.
There’s no need to worry about this speaker adding too much extra weight to your camping gear. At 12.8 ounces, the speaker is light and easy to carry especially with its compact and space-saving design. Designers also included a lanyard hole so that users can carry the speaker on their belts. This way you can have music blasting as you and your group go on that hike, without any worries about keeping your speaker secure.
This speaker is also popular because of its rich, immersive sound quality that is hard to come by for speakers with this portability and price range. Sounds are sharp and clear and the bass is surprisingly good even when playing outdoors.
Distortions are minimal or absent even when the speaker is turned up to the highest volume. Of course, you won’t get hi-fidelity quality with portable speakers like these, but they come pretty close especially if you place the speaker in a location where it is free from any vibrations.
The speaker comes with a Bluetooth 4.0 range that allow you to sync the device with your phone. The speakers can also be used for taking calls. Connections are quick and easy and fairly strong, with decent signals for at least 15 feet. Users have experienced a slight decrease in signals when there are walls present but this does not affect the sound in any way.
This portable speaker comes with a rugged and water resistant build making it the perfect companion for outdoor camping trips, hikes, or picnics. It has a waterproof IP65 rating making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The rating also means that the unit can withstand waterjets from any direction, making it safe and perfect for rather extreme outdoor activities that involve running or gushing water.
It is important to note that this rating does not mean that the unit can withstand immersion in water. Only devices with an IP67 rating can be immersed in water without any damage. However, if users are unexpectedly in the rain or accidentally fall into a puddle, the speakers won’t suffer any damage.
Emergency power supply
One useful feature is the emergency power supply. The speaker can serve as a power bank that allows users to take calls on their phone even if they are low on battery. Simply connect the phone to the speaker in order to use its reserve power. This eliminates the need to carry an extra power bank. With 12 hours of operating time for a single charge, users have plenty of power available when the charge on their phones run out.
Battery life is excellently rated an impressive 5/5 by users. The speaker comes with a 100 mAh lithion ion battery which can power the unit for up to 12 hours of playing time for a single charge.
Mpow Armor Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Check latest price and shipping details from amazon.com
The SoundBlock Portable Wireless Speaker is specifically designed to redefine the way you listen to your favorite music: portable, compact, lightweight and with a pleasant and stylish design, this small speaker features two 40mm drivers that sum up to 6 Watts, along with a large speaker for a loud yet perfectly clear and crisp sound.
Designed for small and medium-sized rooms, cars and even open spaces, this portable speaker can easily fill the entire room with rich sound within seconds. Moreover, the speaker’s functionality should not be ignored either, as it has six control buttons attached to one side, thus allowing you to switch from one song to another, to adjust the volume or to answer a phone call with only a touch of a button.
What Makes The SoundBlock Wireless Speaker Stand Out?
At first, the reduced dimensions of this Bluetooth speaker may seem to undermine its actual performance, but its Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity allows you to quickly couple it with any Bluetooth device. Having said that, you can easily connect the Soundblock Portable Wireless Speakers to your smart phone, your tablet, your personal computer or your laptop if you want to take your favorite songs with you wherever you go.
Besides this, the speaker also lets you take hands-free calls directly through the portable device, and regardless of how you prefer to use these wireless speakers, you can count on them to deliver up to 10 hours of continuous operation before you need to recharge them again.
Another reason why the SoundBlock speaker is so popular amongst music fans these days is because it is compact and perfect for those who are always on the go – if you love road trips or camping trips and you do not fancy the classic headphones, then this device are all you need.
Those who want to make the best of their favorite playlist should know that this wireless speaker will certainly come in handy – measuring only 6 x 2 x 1.6 inches, the speaker is powerful yet small enough to fit into your luggage, your car’s back seat or your backpack.
The volume can be easily adjusted – you can easily turn the music up by using the control buttons that are embedded in the speaker, or you can do it directly from your Bluetooth device.
Once you have managed to connect the Bluetooth speaker to your smart phone or tablet, you can always keep an eye on its battery life: there is an acoustic signal that informs you when the SoundBlock is running low on battery and when it’s time to recharge. If you listen to music at a reasonable volume, then the speaker’s battery life usually lasts for more than 10 hours.
These speakers are specifically designed to help you save the time and effort as you do not need to pair them over and over again with your smart phone or tablet: once you have connected the two devices once, you can rest assured knowing that these wireless Bluetooth speakers will always remember the device and next time and they will connect automatically.
The speaker also features an embedded microphone that allows you to take calls when it is attached to your smart phone – if you feel that your phone’s built-in speaker is not strong enough or if you plan on taking a conference call and you want more people to be part of it, then you can always count on the Soundblock to maximize the sound volume and to enhance the performance of the mike.
Besides this, you can seamlessly share movies, games, phone and conference calls or music regardless of your location, as you can quickly pair the speaker to any device that supports the Bluetooth technology, without worrying about any pin code.
SoundBlock Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Check latest price and shipping details at amazon.com
The speaker features a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and it also comes with a premium sound with the advanced “Bass Enhance” technology that is specifically designed to produce a deep bass, which is particularly useful for those who like to listen to music while driving. Last, but not least, the speaker is available in many diffrent colors and textures to choose from!
When it comes to the wireless Bluetooth speakers, know that there are way too many options to choose from. The wireless Bluetooth speaker market, being ultracompetitive, paves way for high valued products and extremely reasonable rates.
However, things can get really confusing if you don’t know what to look for while getting yourself a wireless Bluetooth speaker, thanks to the tons of products the market is getting flooded with. Hence, in order to come out as a smart customer and win this confusion game, you need to do quite a bit of research.
Going through the reviews of some of the top products in the market surely goes a long way in helping you find the perfect Bluetooth speaker according to your needs.
The Oontz XL from Cambridge SoundWorks seems to be one such top pick in the Bluetooth speaker market. After all, it boosts of more than 500 extremely happy customers, and this surely means that it’s something worth considering for everyone who is looking to go for a wireless Bluetooth speaker.
Let’s take a look at some of its top features, so that you can evaluate whether this is the right choice for you or not:
Decent battery life
A steal price
Super high sound quality
Well, when it comes to a Bluetooth speaker, probably the most important feature worth considering is its sound quality. Also, if you are looking to use it for big parties and in large rooms, the level of sound is surely something you cannot afford to compromise on. After all, an extremely loud sound will what be the most important thing during such occasions, and if a speaker doesn’t offers that, it will probably be a no brainer to go for it.
The Oontz XL, however, is quite capable of offering a considerably loud sound, making it ideal for big parties and playing in large areas like large rooms and yards. However, the one particular issue that has turned out to be a big drawback of the speakers that come with a loud sound is the quality of their sound. They offer quite a loud sound without a doubt, but sometimes, when they’re played at a very high volume, the quality of sound starts getting unclear and a bit undesirable.
Hence, this means that a loud sound isn’t the only thing you would want to look for in a Bluetooth speaker, but the quality of sound as well. After all, it would be stupid to play your speaker at extremely high volumes if you’re getting quite an unpleasant quality of sound by doing so.
The Oontz XL ensures that it maintains a super high sound quality, regardless of the volume it’s being played at. This isn’t just an exaggerated claim by the manufacturer, but tested by numerous customers who wrote page long positive reviews for it. Hence, this is undoubtedly one of the best picks out there in the market if you are looking for considerable loud sound without compromising on its quality even in the slightest.
Comes with an elegant look
Now though to some people the design of their wireless speaker may not be mattering in the slightest, it’s quite an important thing to some. Also, if one thinks about it a bit, it’d seem quite obvious to focus on the looks front as well. After all, if it’s something that’s going to be used during big parties and other such important occasions, its looks are sure to be noticed.
And if your guests or friends or the other people finds the look of your speakers rather dull and unattractive, it surely won’t be a very good sign of your standard in their eyes. Hence, it’s quite important that you see to it that your speakers not only come with a great sound quality, but also with great looks.
Solid battery life
Battery life is indeed a common and major issue with a lot of wireless speakers, as a lot of them come with an annoyingly short battery life. They make it quite a bit of challenge to continuously play them for a considerable amount of time in one go. In fact, there’s also always a risk of such speakers running out of battery in the midst of important occasions and celebrations. Such things can obviously be a terrible experience and hence long lasting battery life is not an option, but rather a necessity for a wireless speaker.
The Oontz XL comes with a solid battery life of about 10 hours. This means that you will be able to play it uninterruptedly for 10 hours straight. This obviously gives it an upper hand over its counterparts, some of which may not even be able to run for more than 5-6 hours in go.
Price that would leave you with raised eyebrows!
Well, if you have done even a moderate amount of research on some of the popular and most powerful speakers on the market, you would be knowing that most of them cost in the range of about $150-$300 and even more. However, the Oontz XL absolutely stuns the reviewers by being offered at a price of less than $100. With all the features and sound quality the speaker comes with, the price is simply nothing but an absolute steal.
There are many other small but quite useful features as well. Some of these are:
You can charge your phone while playing the speaker using the USB power bank it comes with.
Connect wirelessly and seamlessly with all your devices including the popular ones like iPads, iPhones, Other Cell Phones, Tablets, iPod and even computers. This obviously makes it quite a desirable feature.
Comes with an important and quite expensive Bluetooth personal speaker phone, which is wireless as well as hands free.
The Oontz XL From Cambridge SoundWorks
Check latest price and shipping details from amazon.com.
The Oontz XL is one of the few wireless speakers that have managed to receive an exceptionally high customer rating as well as super positive reviews. More than 400 out of the 600 customers overall who rated the product, gave it a full 5 stars. Some of the few customers who didn’t gave it a very high rating are the ones who had to get their unit replaced due to being delivered a defective one or such similar problems. However, as these are simply some transportation problem, it has nothing to do with the actual quality of the speaker.
All these facts simply point to one thing in common, which is that the Oontz XL from Cambridge Soundworks is indeed one of the best options in the wireless speaker market.
Music fans and technology junkies love regular Bluetooth speakers, but in 2015 functionality is not enough to sell. OM/ONE is a Bluetooth speaker that works like any other such device. However, it also has something special: it can levitate above its base.
The Speaker That Defies Gravity
This device that defies gravity consists of a base and a round speaker that magically levitates while spinning in a gentle manner. Users can keep the magnetic base on their nightstands, for example, and simply grab the floating Bluetooth speaker when they want to move around and have a wireless speaker with them.
This impressive gadget also has a microphone built in, so it can be used to take calls and conduct conversations over the phone. Battery life expectancy is high as well for such a small and high-tech device; between 12 and 15 hours depending on the type of use.
Specifications and Technical Information
The OM/ONE wireless portable Bluetooth speaker orb has a diameter of 3.6 inches and weighs only 0.75 pounds. It has built-in microphone, a IEEE 1329 Type 1-compliant speakerphone and a 75mm audio driver. The device can be turned on and off with a touch sensor. If left to play continuously, the battery can hold up to 12 hours. It comes with a built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. The Bluetooth is v4.0 compliant and can support Enhanced Data Rate (EDR). Wireless functioning distance from base is 33 feet or 10 meters.
The OM/ONE magnetic base that allows the speaker orb to levitate also has a diameter of 6.3 inches and is 1.6 inches tall. It weighs 1.3 pounds, so the entire package rounds up at about one pound. The speaker orb levitates about 0.8 inches above the base. The OM/ONE package also comes with a power cable, a speaker orb case 24″ USB (LED) Charging Cable & Stand, and a quick start guide.
OM/ONE Is Close!
Om Audio, the maker of this amazing speaker has had a few prototypes in 2014. The company ran a crowdfunding campaign which helped put the speaker into production and bring it in the market for users to enjoy. In the first day of the campaign, on August 12, 2014, Om Audio managed to get over half of its $100,000 goal. The campaign was set to run for 50 days.
Tech junkies are able to pre-order the levitating orb now. The first gravity defying speakers will be greeting their proud owners in January or February 2015. Orders placed after January 5, 2015 are scheduled arrive in March or April.
Want to create pulsating lights at home when listening to your favorite sounds? Then look no further than the ION Party Speaker – a portable wireless speaker that will transform any room into a disco frenzy. Fast, flashing, multi-colored light patterns are combined with top-of-the-range booming sound in this unique speaker, which can easily be charged from your computer.
Here’s a review of the ION Party Starter Portable Bluetooth Speaker with built-in light show, with focus on the features and benefits of this product.
+ Multi-colored lights sync with the beat of your music tracks to create an awe-inspiring light show. Ideal for children’s birthday parties!
+ The speaker works effortlessly with a multiple of Apple and Android devices, and uses Bluetooth technology to provide you with the highest quality audio stream.
+ There’s no need for batteries – the ION Party Starter can be charged with a USB cable (which is provided with the item when you make a purchase). Simply plug in the USB to a laptop or desktop computer for quick and easy charging.
This ultra-compact speaker really packs a punch when it comes to sound. Experience high quality audio when streaming your favorite music tracks from any Bluetooth device. What’s more, the speakers work seamlessly when used with your iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android device.
Sounds good, right? Well, with its long-lasting battery can be charged quickly directly from your laptop or desktop computer with the provided USB charger – saving you a lot of time, money, and hassle.
The ION Party Starter projects flashing lights directly onto almost any surface. Transform the look of your ceilings and walls with multi-colored party lights and create a similar atmosphere to a nightclub or disco.
The speaker utilizes the latest technology to sync lights with the beat of your favorite music, effectively creating an eye-catching and vibrant light show. You’ll be able to dance to music with friends and family anywhere around the house.
The Party Starter comes with a USB cable, safety and warranty manual, and quick-start guide – providing you with all the information you need when setting up the product.
ION are also known for their excellent customer service, so you’ll be able to converse with a member of staff if you have a technical query, or just want to find out a little bit more about this compact wireless speaker. The product weighs 186 grams.
ION Party Starter Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Check latest price and shipping details at amazon.com
Don’t let first impressions fool you. Although the ION Party Starter might seem tiny in stature, it provides the high quality sound that you would expect to find from audio equipment triple its size. The product is great value-for-money, and comes with everything you need straight off-the-bat (USB charger, speaker, rechargeable battery), so you won’t need to waste time purchasing additional equipment.
The speaker is super-portable, so you can take it with you to create a party atmosphere anytime you want. You can even use the speaker as a light show without turning on any music, or listen to your favorite tracks without the lights – providing you with greater flexibility.
Bose’s SoundLink and Soundlink II mobile Bluetooth speakers have been a hit, but the cutthroat competition in this market segment meant that the company had to take it up a notch higher by introducing a sleeker, more compact, and more bag-friendly Bluetooth speaker. That’s how Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker came to be. It was actually introduced in response to its rivals’ – Jawbone Jambox and Logitech UE Boom, and has enabled the company to compete on both size and price.
At approximately half the weight and half the height of the SoundLink II, the SoundLink Mini is designed for hand held devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and can be an excellent option if you’re looking for a good sounding speaker for around $200.
Bose has a well earned reputation for awesome design, and this speaker is no exception. With a unibody, silver-colored aluminum enclosure, flat metal grille face, 1.5-pound heft, and measuring just 2×7.1x 2.3 inches, the SoundLink Mini comes with an unmatched build quality that’s not only attractive, but also solid.
The first thing you notice about the SoundLink Mini is its sleek-looking, very compact shape. Were it not for the Bose logo, which is splayed across the front, you’d be forgiven to think it’s an Apple product. I mean seriously, it uses an anodized aluminum casing – the same material Apple uses on its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks! The sleek aluminum casing wraps around the speaker, giving it a rather pretty unique look.
However, unfortunately this aluminum finish is prone to scratches, which can dent its classy look. Bose offers rubber covers, which are available in three colors: orange, blue and green, as well as a travel bag but these accessories can greatly inflate the overall price of your speaker.
Like with the higher-end SoundLink II, Bose designed this speaker with the ability to appease an extremely broad audience in mind. The buttons are relatively large (unlike those of the tiny all-plastic Bluetooth speakers flooding the market), clearly labeled, and its overall design is quite simple.
The control buttons of the speaker are arranged neatly in a row on the top, with Power and Mute buttons flanked by raised Volume Up/Down buttons on the left and Auxiliary input and Bluetooth buttons on the right. Lights found on top of the Power and Mute buttons show whether the power is ON or OF, while lights on Auxiliary and Bluetooth buttons show the type of input that’s active.
The 3.5mm audio input and the power connector are located on the right side of the speaker. The back of the speaker has a metallic grille from which the speaker’s inbuilt passive radiator can be viewed. This metallic grille is similar to that found on the front, but there’s no Bose logo. The bottom consists of a large, rectangular-shaped rubber foot, which covers and provides protection to the rechargeable battery and contact points for the charging cradle and micro USB port, and also keeps the speaker in position.
How Does Speaker Setup Work?
The Bose Soundlink Mini setup is a breeze with its easy-to-access and quick-to-pair Bluetooth features. The Bluetooth functionality can be accessed by pressing the Bluetooth button for a few seconds after which the light above the button flashes blue when it is pairing. Once you turn on the speaker, it’ll enter Bluetooth pairing mode automatically the first time, and then you can connect your iPhone, iPad, laptop, or other Bluetooth-enabled device.
The speaker streams audio wirelessly from almost all hand held devices, Bluetooth-enabled computers and audio players. It can remember up to 6 devices simultaneously, and you don’t have to keep synching each at a time since your device will automatically pair again with the speaker if it has Bluetooth activated and is in range.
How Does Bose Soundlink Mini Charge?
At first glance you might think that the SoundLink Mini charges through the micro USB port, like other Bluetooth speakers out there. But this is not the case. The speaker’s micro USB port is only used to service the speaker, particularly when upgrading the firmware. This trait is actually not one-of-a-kind as it’s shared with the Bose Soundlink II.
The SoundLink Mini comes with a cradle through which it charges. This consists of a rectangular plastic with a relatively large recessed area that provides the speaker’s foot. Because the cradle is simple and highly functional, the charging connections are very easy to make. They are made through the small exposed contacts located on the back-right corner of the speaker.
The charging contacts are well-designed, allowing the speaker to fall into place without unnecessarily catching on anything or missing them. When the speaker connects to the charging contacts, it makes a loud chime indicating that it has started to charge and you can now leave it alone.
How Long Does The Battery Last?
According to Bose, the SoundLink Mini’s built-in rechargeable battery can last up to 7 hours, which is approximately half that of the UE Boom and 3 hours less than that of the Jambox. The battery charges in about 3 hours.
How Good Is the Audio Performance of Compared To its Most Popular Alternative, Logitech UE Boom?
The Bose Sound Link Mini really packs a punch for its compact size. The sound is crisp and clear with moderate, but not massive bass. Mids and highs are just amazing, but the bass may not be as punchy as you’d like. After all, there’s only so much bass that you can get from a speaker this size.
The SoundLink Mini’s sound will fill a typical living room, coming in just short on bass against some larger, speaker systems. It also performs favorably against the UE Boom, and although its sound is more directional compared to that of UE Boom – which boasts of 360 degree audio field, the Bose SoundLink Mini produces more power and sounds just as good placed against one wall and facing the entire room.
The SoundLink Mini can never come anywhere near matching its bigger brother, the SoundLink II when it comes to producing a clear, strong bass. But it definitely manages to hold its own. The deep synth notes of electronic pop tunes like “Silent Shout” by The Knife are produced with solid sound, but those occasional pops may hint at the potential for slight distortion, especially at maximum volume. The speaker also puts out a suitably large sounding soundscape for the reverb and bass riffs to fill an entire room. But if you’re looking for wall-shaking base, then you might need to look elsewhere as the small size of this speaker doesn’t allow it.
Perhaps the biggest strengths of the SoundLink Mini are the Midrange and mid-highs, which surprisingly are quite clear and impactful. Those aggressive guitar riffs and drums of heavy metal tracks like the Red Fang’s “Wires” may drown out the vocals, but you’ll find that all three elements work great with this speaker. You can easily make out the lyrics without feeling as if the riffs are getting flattened. Its high-mid performance is without a doubt much superior in comparison to that of the UE Boom, which tends to sound a bit tinny.
Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker
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What Are The Major Downsides Of The Speaker As Reported By Users?
The BoseSoundLinkMini is strictly a Bluetooth speaker, and does not have a microphone or speakerphone capability. Some users find this very inconveniencing, especially given other speakers in this price range support speakerphone calls, USB charging, onboard playback controls, and even the ability to charge mobile phone. If you’re ready to forgo all that, then the SoundLink Mini could be a great choice due to its excellent sound quality.