Tuesday , October 24 2017

Bose’s Tiny SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker — Review

Bose launched their tiny new SoundLink Micro Bluetooth speaker at a Sydney event attended by Ausdroid just recently. The SoundLink Micro target market is people who want to listen to music while out and about while being active.

Sturdiness

Of course I had to try it playing music in a bowl of water; the speaker survived without a problem. It was interesting to see different sound frequencies and volumes cause the water to ripple or jump up in little water spouts. The sound sent from your paired music source to the 40mm Driver and Dual Passive Radiators inside the SoundLink Micro via it’s Bluetooth 4.2 wireless connectivity.

A handy feature of the SoundLink Micro is the silicon/plastic strap on the bottom which can be used to wrap it around your hand (as demonstrated in the photo above), bike handles, backpack straps etc. The strap looks quite sturdy; Bose claim that it is tear-resistant, super reliable and will hold just as tight whether it’s used for the first time or the thousandth.

Mentioning sturdiness, the SoundLink Micro is IPX7 rated which means it can be immersed in water up to 1 metre deep for up to 30 minutes. Bose say that the speaker should be able to exceed IPX7 because they tested it with soapy water, fresh water, ocean salt water and chlorinated pool water.

Note that while small and light compared to most other Bluetooth speakers, the SoundLink Micro weighs 290 grams and will sink if submerged in water.

The SoundLink Micro’s exterior is covered in silicon rubber that is smooth to the touch and comes in black, blue or orange.

While Bose don’t make any specific claims for how high a drop the Soundlink Micro can withstand, they told me that this material allowed them to eliminate as many seams and gaps as possible so it should withstand short drops without being dented, scratched or cracked.

Software & Connectivity

Software and connectivity are an important part of connected devices so it was good to see that the speaker connected really easily to my phone using the Bose Connect app and immediately had a firmware update available.

The app is easy to use and allows you to rename your speaker to make it easier to find when pairing. You can pair two SoundLink speakers in Party Mode or switch to Stereo Mode. This feature requires any two Bose Bluetooth speakers from the following list: SoundLink Micro, SoundLink Color II, SoundLink Revolve and SoundLink Revolve+.

If you’re a fan of Google Assistant you can press the multifunction button to find out “what’s the weather today” or “call Mum and Dad” etc without having to touch your phone. This worked fine during my testing.

Speaking of AI voice assistants by default the SoundLink Micro uses Voice Prompts to talk you through the Bluetooth pairing process which is a nice feature for non tech-savvy buyers. You can turn this off if you want via the Bose Connect app.

While the SoundLink Micro speaker can be used to provide audio for video watching on a phone/tablet, Bose warns that the quality of the experience – specifically, synchronisation between audio and video – may be compromised due to various digital signal processing technologies implemented in the speakers.

I haven’t had a chance to try this yet since I haven’t had any inbound calls this morning but the SoundLink Micro has speakerphone functionality. When a call comes in, the audio on the SoundLink Micro should pause and the call ring through the speaker. If you wish to answer the call through the SoundLink Micro, simply press the multifunction button (the three dots between – and + buttons) to answer the call. You can now talk into the speaker itself to conduct your phone call. Once you end your call, music playback will resume.

Battery

Battery life is rated at 6 hours and charge time when off is 4 hours at 1A or 3 hours at 1.5A. I used a 2A charger and it took less than 2 hours to go from 20% to 100%. Charging is via microUSB cable (included). There is no headphone jack.

As a battery test I paired the Soundlink Micro to my phone and played an MP3 of the bass heavy track Turn On The Music by Roger Sanchez on loop at 80% volume for 6 hours straight. To avoid driving everyone in the house crazy with this repetitive music I placed the speaker in a box with thick walls.

Surprisingly after 6 hours there was 80% battery life left according to the BOSE Connect app and the battery life indicator on the speaker.

This is quite unusual for a product to outperform it’s rated battery life by this much. If you’ve bought a Soundlink Micro please do the same test and let me know in the comments what your battery life reading was after 6 hours continuous playback.

Should You Buy The Bose SoundLink Micro?

It’s diminutive dimensions (9.83 cm Height x 9.83 cm Width x 3.48 cm Depth) make it an ideal travel accessory to take on holiday with you in carry on luggage since it’s light and also doesn’t take up much space. As a comparison the UE Wonderboom is over 3 times the size.

The SoundLink Micro’s pricing at $169.99 RRP is as expected for Bose, they aim to win the high end audio market, budget or bargain products are not where they play the game. If you have a much smaller budget have a look at the JBL Clip 2 (RRP $79.95).

Listening to some podcasts and music this morning the SoundLink Micro performed admirably considering how small it is. As I like it bass is not overly emphasised but was present. You can listen at high volume without distortion or crackling, I found 80% to be the maximum volume I was comfortable with. Of course the basic physics of speakers means bigger is better so the Bose SoundLink Revolve would sound better if carrying around a larger portable speaker isn’t an issue for you.

 
Disclosure Statement:
Bose has allowed Neerav to retain the speaker as a gift from the launch event.

Neerav Bhatt   Journalist

Neerav has been interested in Android phones since he bought the 1st one ever released (HTC Dream/G1). He has never bought an Apple product :-) His dream phone would have stock Android OS, fast high-res camera and swappable 4000mAh battery.

A high performer in multiple fields, Neerav has worked as an IT Support Analyst, Mainstream media writer/Photojournalist and University Research Librarian.

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