With multiple streaming music services now available to all there’s a new battlefield emerging for mobile accessories and it’s not headphones, it’s speakers; specifically mobile speakers that have a battery of their own and link to your device via Bluetooth.
Bose have a great reputation for producing high quality audio equipment, but can that translate over to a physically small, battery powered unit? We’re going to find out with the Bose Soundlink Mini II Bluetooth.
I was to be blunt, surprised at the size of the speaker; I was expecting something about twice the size given the need for it to have a battery that (according to the Bose info) lasts about 10 hours. So I was actually blown away when I opened the box and discovered that it was in fact the speaker I was expecting and it looks great.
The speaker itself feels really sturdy with its aluminium construction and comes with a really well designed dock that doubles as a charger so you don’t need to fiddle with plugging in a charging cable if you don’t want to. The other really nice little thing that works well for this speaker over others (from an Android users perspective) is the MicroUSB plug on both the dock and the speaker itself.
When you look at the design, and take into account the sound quality, this is where you see the difference and justification for the $299 price tag. The range of sound is right up there with larger speakers intended as home entertainment units. There’s scale of sound that is near unbelievable from a unit this small, but (personal taste, associate with the music I listen to) I found the high end sound a bit sharp to my ears.
That being said, the vocal range and bass (surprising amounts of bass!) were both really quite impressive. The bass particularly, gave a depth to the sound that meant the SoundLink Mini II had a quality of sound that was worthy of listening to; as you would expect though it did lose a bit of the clarity at higher volume though.
Be mindful that the speaker does clip some sound ranges when you really turn it up, you’ll lose bass for starters and you’ll lose some clarity in the mid range. That’s to be expected though, its essentially designed this way to protect the speaker from users turning it up too far and blowing it up. For anyone that really cares, I found that the sound quality dipped from about 60% volume and up, but much more noticeably at around 75% and upward.
The volume that this little speaker is capable of is staggering, so unless you’re hard of hearing or planning on being a long way from the speaker you shouldn’t need to really crank it up. But the point is to take it places, play some tunes and add to the atmosphere. At the volume this speaker is capable of, you could add said atmosphere to a playground for a kids party or a substantial area of a local park for a picnic – The choice is yours.
The area I felt that this was perhaps a mild let down was the battery life. The Bose information suggests that it could last up to 10 hours of playback which would be great, if it lasted that long. While the playback time did vary slightly depending on what volume I was listening at, the best I got was a touch over 8 hours. 8 hours is probably more than enough playback for most people to get through a full day, so it’s not that big a deal but worth mentioning.
What I really liked about the Bose speaker was the well built simplicity of it. There’s no party tricks, there’s no “nice to have” features… It is a really well built, great looking speaker that (particularly when you take into account the size of it) sounds great. The sticking point for a lot of users will undoubtedly be the price, $299 for a portable speaker isn’t something you’ll buy on a whim but if you’re out and about a lot the cost is something that you’ll be able to justify to enjoy your tunes.
If this sounds like something that may capture you, check out your local retailers (JB Hifi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys) to have a listen to the SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth speaker for yourself. Or if you’re prepared to drop your hard earned now, head to the Bose Australia website and order yours.
With many of the mobile manufacturers having their loyal followers who will purchase devices because of the brand on the device, the mobile market may be closing to some extent. But the accessories market is wide open and a developing battleground for manufacturers – who will you side with?
What accessories for your mobile life couldn’t you do without?