Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker Review
- Great Sound
- Very Portable
- No Speakerphone Capability
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.
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What Makes the Design Stand Out?
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.
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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.