Bose Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review – Almost every home has a portable wireless speaker; Whether you want it for camping and traveling, playing outside, or taking it with you to the office or workplace, there are many ways to use it. Audio giant Bose is known around the world for its quality audio products, and the SoundLink Flex promises to be no different. The Bose SoundLink Flex is a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s rugged and durable, delivering powerful sound for its size with the promise of “amazing bass.” I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks with the new SoundLink Flex. I’ll tell you what it is, what it sounds like, and what its promised features are.
SoundLink Flex comes in three colors: black, smoke white and stone blue. It has a steel grid with powder coating and a silicone coating on the outside. Bose claims the finish will resist chips and flakes, as well as UV and rust, while maintaining a sleek and stylish look.
Bose Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review
The speaker is quite hefty for its size, which means it’s well made and solid without being heavy. It is wide and narrow and can be worn on the side, on the back or hung from the built-in strap. Sitting on its side, with a pair of rubber lugs holding it in place, it’s pretty sloppy, and on any unstable surface (boat, RV) it’s almost certain to flip over onto its back.
Bose Soundlink Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker Ii, Triple Black
There are 5 buttons on the top panel, including the power button, volume up and down buttons, multi-function button, and Bluetooth pairing button and pinhole microphone. The multi-function button allows you to pause and play songs, answer calls and switch between songs. Two clicks will skip a track forward and three – a track back.
The speaker is IP67 rated, which means it is (6) fully protected against dust and solid objects and (7) protected against all water jets and can be temporarily submerged in water up to a depth of one meter for at least 30 minutes.
The Bose SoundLink Flex also floats comfortably (unlike another competitor’s new portable wireless offering), so it’s unlikely you’ll even be able to keep it submerged long enough to cause damage, so for all intents and purposes the speaker is waterproof. This portable speaker is definitely made for camping, camping and even on the water.
Bose says it will withstand drops, bruises and other abuse. It worked well in my limited tests.
Bose Soundlink Flex Bluetooth Speaker: Tasty Sound
One of the great things about the SoundLink Flex is that it uses Bluetooth 4.2 instead of the current 5.1 standard. It’s entirely possible that Bose felt there wasn’t going to be any significant improvement in sound or speaker connectivity to warrant upgrading the technology. One would think that Bluetooth 5.1 would significantly increase battery life, but given that this is already too long for a speaker, perhaps that was a trade-off. Bose claims a Bluetooth range of approximately nine meters (30 feet). I tested it by turning on the music, then picking up the speaker and stepping away from the phone. Even when I went to every corner of my house and put walls between the phone and the speaker, the connection was rock solid.
The Bose Connect app lets you connect one or more devices to the speaker and assign left and right speakers if you’re connecting more than one Soundlink Flex. (The Soundlink Flex remembers the last eight devices it’s connected to.) I will say that pairing and multiple connections were a little tricky despite the speaker verbally telling me it was connected to my phone. More than once I had to go into the Bose app and/or Bluetooth settings to reconnect before I could hear sound.
You’ll also use the Bose app to update the speaker’s firmware, view the user manual, and turn on or off features like voice prompts and set the duration of the auto-off timer. There are no equalizer features in the app, although Bose could easily add them in future updates to the app.
Getting straight to the point, the Bose SoundLink Flex is a great sounding speaker. It’s powerful enough to easily fill a room, although I didn’t get a chance to test it outside due to the cold weather. The sound is well balanced, has good, strong bass and overall the sound is top notch.
Bose Portable Home Speaker Review
Bose claims the SoundLink Flex features Position IQ technology, in which an internal sensor detects whether it’s in a vertical, horizontal or hanging position and adjusts the mids and highs for maximum clarity. While there is no adjustable equalizer for the speaker (not unusual for outdoor Bluetooth speakers), the Position IQ uses a predefined equalizer for the different orientations it can be in. Cool I guess, but I didn’t really notice any audible difference.
The SoundLink Flex charges using the included USB-C cable. A single charge of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery should last approximately 12 hours, depending on the volume level selected. A full charge should take about four hours, and Bose suggests using their cable, as other cables may affect charging time. The long charging time is a bit of a disadvantage for me, as is the poor battery life. There are other similarly sized speakers that last longer, so people who need more time between charges may want to shop around.
I will say that the speaker seems to be effectively sleeping, turning itself off and on when not in use so as not to drain the battery unnecessarily.
Bose is known for multi-pairing its wireless speakers and headphones, and the SoundLink Link is no exception. This speaker can pair with multiple devices and you can switch between them manually.
Bose Soundlink Color Ii Review
You can also connect multiple SoundLink Flex to create a stereo effect. The Bose app lets you choose which speaker is left and which is right. There’s no audio feature, probably due to the device being waterproof, so you’ll only be able to connect via Bluetooth. Since I only had one Bose speaker to play with, I couldn’t test this feature.
The microphone in the Soundlink Flex acts as an extension of the microphone on your mobile device, so you can definitely use it to take calls. The microphone is capable of picking up your voice at a distance and I had no problems with clarity or gaps. The microphone also allows you to interact with your phone’s voice assistant.
Overall, this is a really great portable wireless speaker. It is small but portable and powerful. The sound quality is amazing, it’s easy to set up and use, it feels incredibly durable, and it’s also waterproof and floats. shortcomings? Sometimes it can be a little finicky about connections, and while it can remember other devices, it doesn’t always automatically connect to them when you connect to another device. The overall battery life is also at a good level and it takes several hours to fully charge.
If you can get past these shortcomings, you’ll love the Bose SoundLink Flex. It retails for around 189 CAD / 149 US Dollars.
Bose Soundlink Color Portable Bluetooth Speaker Ii Soft Black 752195 0100
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I am a journalist, tech blogger, writer, television producer, jeweler and jewelry designer, foodie and traveler. I blog, write for publications and provide freelance writing services in Calgary and around the world.
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