Bose is a name synonymous with premium audio products from full-on home entertainment systems to personal audio. So it may seem natural to get into the growing mobile Bluetooth speaker market. One that’s also very crowded with traditional players likes Logitech, JBL and Jabra. Bose has of course been there before, with the original SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker. This time though, the all-new SoundLink Mini is smaller, lighter and ultimately more portable.
I was already impressed in a big way with the SoundLink Mini (even more so with the QuietComfort QC20 earphones) during the product demo to the media at Atlas Hifi late last year. So I jumped on the opportunity to experience the sexy device more intimately with a proper review.
I’m not the only one who got a big impact from the diminutive speaker.
What Hi•Fi says, “The Bose SoundLink Mini put a smile on our faces when we heard the lashings of deep, rich bass coming out of such a tiny wireless speaker.”
CNET has this opinion, “The Bose SoundLink Mini is a very sleek, very compact wireless Bluetooth speaker that sounds very good for its small size.”
Design and build
Make no mistake, the SoundLink Mini speaker is small. In fact, measuring at just 5 x 18 x 6cm and weighing 680g, it is 30% of the size and 50% of the weight of the original SoundLink mobile speaker. You can easily pop the speaker into your messenger bag and take your audio with you.
If you appreciate clean, minimalist design, you’ll appreciate the “less is more” approach of the speaker. It is beautifully crafted with an anodised aluminium unibody that is resistant to scratches and fingerprints. It would certainly not look out of place beside your iMac or MacBook Pro, products also known for their minimalist, award-winning industrial design. Stunning.
Up top are the device controls, made from a soft-touch, rubberised material. You’ll find the volume up and down buttons, power button, mute button and a couple for Bluetooth and auxiliary input buttons.
On the side is the 3.5mm auxiliary input and AC charging port. The SoundLink also comes with a stylish charging cradle that can sit at the bottom of the device. The built-in lithium-ion battery is claimed to last for up to seven hours of use.
On the rear is also a microUSB port which enables connectivity to smart device. Unfortunately, the SoundLink Mini does not support charging via the interface.
Design-wise, there’s very little to fault as the SoundLink Mini exudes excellent craftsmanship and build quality, as one would expect for Bose.
For more photos, visit Flickr.com.
Its stunning industrial design aside, the SoundLink Mini features some snazzy new audio tech from Bose. The speaker has two new passive radiators that are driven by new custom-designed, high-efficiency transducers. These new transducers debut for the first time in the SoundLink Mini, moving twice the amount of air as a conventional same-sized transducer. This results in the ability to reproduce the lowest low notes.
The speaker has a range of about 30ft and pairs easily with smart devices via Bluetooth (A2DP). The SoundLink Mini supports up to six devices, and it remembers each device so reconnecting to a particular device is seamless and easy.
The built-in rechargeable Li-ion 2,330mAh battery is good for up to 7 hours of playback.
The auxiliary port on the size enables connectivity to other audio sources, like MP3 players. The microUSB port in the rear allows for future software updates.
Additional soft covers are available in red, blue, green or orange and they provide added protection from scratches or abrasions. There is also a handy travel bag as a carry case for the SoundLink Mini.
On the downside if you look at a different perspective, is that the SoundLink Mini is barebones. Absolutely no frills. No NFC, no Wi-Fi, no built-in mic, no fancy smart app to control the device. Nada.
And perhaps that’s a good thing, because what it does best is give you the most optimal audio experience it possibly can from its tiny footprint.
For full tech specs, visit Bose.
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