We are back with another Bluetooth speaker that we have been playing around with for about a week now, really getting a kick out of its range of sound when feeding it a finer selection of tunes.
Bose’s SoundLink Mini II portable Bluetooth speaker reaches out for the compact market, challenging brands like UE and Beats with a fine range of frequency deliverance (it’s basically Bose’s take on the UE Mini Boom). It retails for about $199 on average and features a look that you would expect from Bose (when you lay eyes on it, without even seeing the logo, it just screens “Bose” for some reason). The design features flat rubberized buttons on top along with the model name, the Bose brand across the front grill and a few ports on the side.
It comes in two color options, black (“carbon”) and white (“pearl”) and weighs around one and a half pounds. It travels well and offers a lengthy battery life of around 10 hours, allowing you to make use of it in most desirable situations.
The top side of the speaker features 5 buttons: power, volume down, action/multi button (for pausing, playing or changing tracks as well as answering calls), volume up and the Bluetooth button that brings it into pairing mode for new devices. The buttons feel well made enough that they should last long through the years without falling apart.
On the side, you find a micro-USB port for charging it with (the previous model required a proprietary cable) and it does come with the cable and wall adapter (always a plus). Right next to the micro-USB port is a 3.5mm input for wired devices (in case you have something that doesn’t support Bluetooth that’d you like to feed into it).
I mentioned it is basically Bose’s take on the UE Mini Boom because that it what it reminds me of the most. The SoundLink Mini II has a wider frequency range than the Mini Boom and just slightly more volume as well (although it degrades a little if you take it up too high). This is a mono-directional speaker, so you aren’t going to get any separation there, but it offers a great range for what it does. Good for simply filling a small (or close) area with sound. The Mini Boom (in my opinion) offers a little more bass than the SoundLink, but it doesn’t exactly lack good bass. It’s there and even more so if you feed it something a little rough like Deadmau5. At times it sounds as though it has a limiter in there depending on the track you’re feeding it, which may adjust the levels a little to optimize the output with to help prevent certain distortion–which is nice, yet can cause an unwelcomed EQ on certain tracks.
It performs best with bright music. Tracks with a nice focus on brass instruments, strings and vocals, really do shine on this speaker. The grungier music would do better on larger/warmer speakers (ie, Disturbed, Pantera and so forth)–if you’re more into that kind of thing. Classical tracks perform well and acoustics shine wonderfully on it (we enjoyed a lot of acoustic Chris Cornell).
Bluetooth connectivity is just slightly above average. We saw around 50ft in our tests and felt this could be a little better for the price (70ft would have been nice, allowing full movement around most homes without interruption).
Inside the box, you not only get the USB charging cable with wall adapter, but it also comes with a charging base that it can easy charge from without having to play with the cable. You simply sit it down onto the dock and it starts refilling its energy immediately. This is great if you want to take it with you to work or school all the time and drop it down once you get home and be done with it until it’s ready to make noise again.
There is no smartphone integration or anything–so no apps to play with, no customizing the EQ and so forth. This also means you can’t pair more than one together sadly. It’s just a regular Bluetooth speaker (that sounds good).
Finally, you can customize the SoundLink Mini II up buy purchasing optional covers to help protect it with and add color. They come in five different colors: Gray, Charcoal Black, Navy Blue, Energy Green and Deep Red. Price point is about $25, however you can find 3rd-party covers as well that feature additional things like a case for the same price or less (see here for more information).
It’s a great little speaker and competes well against many brands and models. It is a little pricey though and should have offered a pairing option in case you had more than one (then again, we didn’t dock the score too much for that since buying more than one would be that much more expensive, making a larger speaker a better buy). It plays well with fine music and offers enough volume for a speaker that size.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Speaker:2″ H x 7.1″ W x 2.3″ D (1.5 lbs)
- Charging cradle:0.63″ H x 6.2″ W x 2″ D (2.8 oz)
- Wall charger:2.65″ H x 1.9″ W x 0.6″ D
- Cable:59.1″ L
- Wireless range up to 30 ft (10 m)
- Battery life up to 10 hrs
- Power rating: 100 – 240V
- 3.5 mm auxiliary
- Micro-USB port
In the box
- SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth speaker II
- Charging cradle
- Wall charger
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