Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II
The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile speaker II is an update to what was already a popular Bluetooth speaker. I spent quite a few hours listening to the SoundLink II and was pleasantly surprised with the overall package, including its sound quality.
- Very good sound quality
- Compact size
- Unique cover/stand
- Decent battery life
- Good range
- AUX input
- Clipping issue over Bluetooth
DESIGN & BUILD
The SoundLink II is about 5 inches high, 9.6 inches wide, about 2 inches deep, and weighs just under 3 pounds. It’s surprisingly compact, yet feels very durable and well-built. Its compact size makes it nice, not only for travel, but also for placing the speaker in tight spaces. Magnets keep the nylon cover closed and keep the folded sections together when acting as a stand. Closing the cover while music is playing will shut the speaker off. A version of the SoundLink II is available with a silver finish and a brown leather cover for an extra $50. You can also buy additional nylon (blue or red) and leather (tan or black) covers.
The front of the SoundLink II has a thin, black strip that hides the status indicators until they’re activated (AUX, Bluetooth, battery life, and mute.)
The control buttons, located at the top of the SoundLink II, include Power, AUX, Bluetooth, Mute, Volume Up, and Volume Down. The power button also doubles as a battery check.
The back of the SoundLink II has the DC connector, AUX input, and a micro-USB service port. The micro-USB port is only for firmware upgrades and cannot be used to play audio.
The SoundLink II can store up to six paired Bluetooth devices, but only one device can connect to it at a time. Pairing a device to the speaker is simple. You first make the speaker discoverable by holding the Bluetooth button down for three seconds, then search for it with your device. If your device asks for a code, enter “0000.” That’s it. You’ll know your device has been paired when the Bluetooth light on the SoundLink II remains solid. You can also clear all the device pairings by holding the Bluetooth button down for about 10 seconds, until you hear a tone.
Bluetooth audio uses compression, so getting great sound quality from a Bluetooth speaker can often be a challenge, especially given that most people are already using a compressed source (MP3 or AAC). Despite these challenges, the SoundLink II sounded very good during my listening sessions. Bass response was good and tight for a small speaker, while the mids and highs sounded crisp and detailed. The overall sound is fairly neutral, but the speaker responded well to EQ adjustments on connected devices.
I connected laptops, smartphones, tablets, and standalone music players to the SoundLink II. Whether I was listening to a FLAC music file, a high-quality MP3, or to Pandora over the Internet, the sound was impressive. It also never distorted, even at high volumes, and could easily fill a large living room. The only oddity I observed was the occasional clipping of songs at the beginning, when connected over Bluetooth. It’s only a millisecond or two, but it cuts off enough that you’re likely to notice it.
Bose rates the SoundLink II’s lithium ion battery for eight hours at moderate volume, or three hours at maximum volume. It takes about three hours to fully charge a drained battery. You can also check the remaining battery life by holding the power button, which will illuminate the battery indicator light on the front status panel. A green light indicates 70% or more remaining, a yellow light indicates between 20-70% remaining, and a red light means 20% or less remaining. If you tend to travel a lot, an optional car charger is available. It’s also worth mentioning that after two weeks of being unused and unplugged, the SoundLink II will enter battery protection mode. To reactivate the battery, you have to connect it to the AC power.
The Bose SoundLink II is an excellent Bluetooth speaker. It’s built well, connects easily, looks great, and of course, has very good sound quality. The clipping issue is a little annoying and the $299 price tag is steep, but if you’re looking for a premium Bluetooth speaker, the Bose SoundLink II should be at the top of your list.
Available from Amazon.com.
* Review unit provided by Bose