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Bose Wireless Speaker How To Connect
It may be small, but it’s one of the best mini Bluetooth speakers out there and a surprisingly decent value at $150.
Bose Portable Smart Speaker With Built In Wifi, Bluetooth, Google Assistant And Alexa Voice Control Triple Black 829393 1100
Editor David Carnoy has been a senior member of the Review Committee since 2000. He covers a range of gadgets and is a noted reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He is an e-reader and e-publishing specialist as well as the author of the short stories Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Editor’s Note, Dec. 4: Bose SoundLink Flex just won an Editors’ Choice award. The following is the original review published on November 11th.
When it launched, Bose made some bold claims about the SoundLink Flex’s sound quality, particularly its bass performance. The exact quote is that it says “Fantastic bass…you can feel it in your chest.” There’s a lot of marketing hype going on there, but I have to say it mostly lives up to the hype. For its size, the Flex has surprisingly thick sound, is fully waterproof, and should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker. In fact, it’s the only new Bluetooth speaker to earn an Editors’ Choice award for 2021.
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Available in three color options – black, white smoke and stone blue – Flex is IP67 dust and waterproof. It floats, which is an important feature if you tend to drop your Bluetooth speakers in your pool or other body of water. I personally wouldn’t want to drop it anywhere, but thanks to its soft silicone back and powder-coated steel grill, it “won’t peel or flake and is resistant to corrosion and UV light,” says Bose. So it is designed to be durable and withstand small drops.
That silicone finish is really soft to the touch, but I notice it attracts dust and lint which is more visible on the black version. I preferred the speaker in blue, but the speaker in white was a close second. There are buttons on top to control playback, which is always nice, although most people will use their phone as a remote to play music. An audio input is missing, so you cannot connect an audio device via an aux cable. It’s definitely a Bluetooth speaker.
Released in late 2017, Bose’s SoundLink Micro has been upgraded to deliver impressive sound in its compact size. The Flex looks like it’s in the same family, but it’s basically twice the size, weighs 1.3 pounds or 0.59 kg — and it’s even better with better battery life than the Micro. While the Micro has gone up to $119, the Flex is a better value at this point in time at just $30.
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The Flex uses older Bluetooth 4.2 instead of 5.1, which seems unusual since most newer Bluetooth speakers use Bluetooth 5.1. Bose told us that moving from Bluetooth 4.2 to Bluetooth 5.1 won’t see any significant benefit to its customers, as the improvements “have no impact on the Flex’s A2DP performance” (as there is no change in the specification for A2DP audio from 5.1) . And given the limited benefit of upgrading to 5.1, the company decided to use the chip used in the SoundLink Micro, which has been “thoroughly field-tested and updated over time for function and reliability.”
I had no problems with the connection – it was generally rock solid – but for those looking for extended wireless range, it’s listed as just a standard Bluetooth range of 30 feet or 10 meters. Battery life is rated at 12 hours at moderate doses, which is pretty good. It basically doubles the battery life of the SoundLink Micro and charges via USB-C instead of micro-USB.
The speaker is designed to be hung horizontally, flat or vertically with its integrated loop. Bose shows it in the pictures with a carabiner attached to the loop, but the carabiner is not included and you have to pay for it yourself. But it’s nice to have a loop and it seems pretty solid.
Bose Soundlink Flex Bluetooth Portable Speaker Complete Features/owner’s Guide
The speaker sound will automatically improve depending on your holding position. I tend to keep it upright, but it has a built-in microphone, so if you’re using it as a speakerphone, you can lay it flat when people are sitting around it. It’s really good at picking up your voice and emits a lot more sound than the phone’s small speakers.
Bose says the SoundLink Flex can fill a living room with sound. Based on my testing, I’d say it should be a relatively small living room — it just puts out a lot of sound — and to be clear, it’s a mono speaker. But the important thing is that you can produce more bass than you think. In addition, it avoids distortion at high volumes and offers good clarity in the treble and midrange, with an overall well-balanced sound that is only slightly forward.
You will immediately be impressed by how loud it is and how decent it sounds. But you can’t completely avoid being a small speaker. The soundstage is quite wide and can be a little restrictive with more complex music tracks that play many instruments at the same time. To avoid distortion, certain frequencies are lowered, especially at high volumes.
Bose Soundlink Iii Bluetooth Speaker
I compared the SoundLink Flex to a number of other compact speakers. Compared to the JBL Charge 5, it costs $180 and is fully waterproof with an IP67 rating. The Charge 5 is slightly larger and emits a bit more noise. Its bass is big, but arguably boomier and too forward, so the mids, where the vocals are, are a bit off. Bose has better overall tonal balance and more bass definition. I liked the sound overall. Both speakers lack EQ settings in their apps, so you’ll have to go with their signature sound. That’s fine for me, but a lot of people like to have some kind of EQ settings to play with.
I found it compared very favorably to the $179 Sonos Roam, a great wireless speaker that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and connects to your Sonos system at home. Bose is Bluetooth only so it’s very easy to use.
Bose’s sound has more body and depth than the $100 older model UE Wonderboom 2 and manages to deliver good sound for its small size. I also like Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound A1 2nd generation. Bose outperforms even the more expensive model and provides a fuller sound. But the A1 offers multi-point Bluetooth connectivity, so you can connect it to your phone and computer at the same time. The Flex doesn’t seem to have that feature, although you can pair it with multiple devices and manually switch back and forth between them.
Bose Soundlink Flex Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
Some people have asked me how it sounds compared to last year’s partially updated Bose Revolvers in Canisters ($219). That model is a bit more expensive and sounds a bit more but it doesn’t really sound better and I like the design of the Flex. The larger Revolve Plus ($329) has a flexbeat, but that speaker costs twice as much — you can buy two flexes for the same price. That might not be a bad idea.
That’s because while the speaker is fine as a single speaker, you get a big boost in sound quality when you pair the two Flexes in stereo mode. I felt the same way about the Sonos Rom. You get real stereo separation, and both the soundstage and the bass seem really big. As a pair, they sound like real speakers, and can actually fill a decent sized living room with sound. You can pair the Flex with other Bose speakers in party mode — in other words, you can mix and match — but you need another Flex to get stereo.
I’ll end by saying that with supply chain issues and chip shortages, Bluetooth speaker prices are a little weird these days. And strangely enough I would say the prices are just going up and not selling much. So while $150 may seem high to some, it’s decent
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