The Bose Soundlink Mini is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker of its size to my ears and I’ve tested quite a few. The sound is simply unbelievable and Amazon’s reviewers confirm my experience.
But it had some drawbacks in convenience that others like JBL and Ultimate Ears were able to capitalize on to make more “Well rounded” speakers. Bose had a proprietary AC charger, it couldn’t be used as a speakerphone, its battery life was mediocre and it also could only pair with one device at a time.
We knew something was up last month when Bose dropped the price of the Soundlink Mini to $179 across the board and today we find out that our gripes above have been addressed with the Soundlink Mini II.
What’s new? We got just about everything we wanted and frankly expected when Bose released the smaller feature rich $129 Soundlink Color. Bose now lets you charge with the standard MicroUSB plug. That means you can use USB computer ports and plugs, external batteries and a whole ecosystem of products you already have to keep the Soundlink Mini II charged. Paradoxically, you won’t need to charge it as often because it now has an almost double-sized battery and playing time now rated at a more premium 10 hours. It will continue to have a charger stand which I found very convenient in the previous model.
The Mini II also now has a mic, allowing you to make speakerphone calls. I haven’t tried it (review is on the way) but I imagine Bose has taken great care to eliminate echo and blow out its noise canceling technologies with this product. I really can’t wait.
Bluetooth pairing has also improved with it remembering 8 devices and actually pairing two at the same time. Also voice commands help with the pairing process.
Finally Bose has added some cosmetic touches including an updated beveled accent and a micro-perforated steel grille (though no mention of water resistance/proofing). I didn’t really ask for these but will take them.
This is guaranteed a winner with pre-orders starting today at Bose.com for the same $199 price point (and currently on Amazon) and shipping from authorized retailers on June 21st. Prices on the original Mini stood firm during its whole run so there seems to be little reason to wait on this one, unless you want to get our review which we hope to have up by the time they go on sale. Update: Here’s the review and the money quote: “Inch for inch, Bose produces the best sound of any portable speaker I’ve ever heard”
Remaining gripes are few but there is no USB out to charge your phone like the JBL Charge II and the form factor isn’t quite as convenient as the Charge II or UE Boom (cup holder form factor FTW). Also water resistance again like the Boom or JBL Charge would be a cherry on top. The tradeoff is of course sound which we know the Bose Soundlink Mini II will blow the others “out of the water” (Son, that’s a water proofing joke).
Bose Press release and additional images follow:
BOSE INTRODUCES NEW SOUNDLINK® MINI BLUETOOTH® SPEAKER II
Iconic SoundLink® Mini Speaker Now With Speakerphone, Longer Battery Life, Multi-Connect, and Voice Prompts
June 4, 2015 — Today, Bose introduces the next-generation SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth speaker, the most feature-rich, ultra-portable SoundLink® speaker ever. The SoundLink® Mini II is updated with a speakerphone for taking calls out loud, longer battery life for all day listening, multi-connect for a phone and a tablet, and voice prompts for easy pairing — while still delivering the powerful, lifelike audio quality that made it the most famous little speaker in the world. The price remains $199.95. “The original SoundLink Mini did something remarkable,” said Jack Yu, product manager for Bose SoundLink® speakers. “There was nothing else like it, and it continues to amaze people with its sound. Our engineers kept all that performance — and added new ways to use it and love it.” The SoundLink® Mini speaker II has a built-in speakerphone, so taking calls out loud — and hearing every word clearly — just takes a press of a button on the top of the speaker. When you’re done talking, music resumes automatically. You can connect two Bluetooth devices at a time, letting you play music or any content from your phone and tablet. And pairing has never been easier. New voice prompts streamline the process, walking you through the simple steps to connect to a mobile device, and identify your devices by name using text-to-speech. The SoundLink® Mini speaker II stores the eight most recently used Bluetooth devices in memory, eliminating the need to pair again. The SoundLink® Mini speaker II now comes with an improved rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 10 hours, ideal for personal listening sessions and long days of work or play. For added convenience, it now charges with most USB power sources and includes a charging cradle, so it’s ready to go when you are. Take it almost anywhere. It’s durable and solid, tested for the rigors of everyday use, indoors or out. The new SoundLink® Mini speaker II is still Bose’s smallest Bluetooth® speaker, keeping the compact footprint and size of the original — weighing 1.5 pounds and measuring just 2.0”H x 7.1”W x 2.3”D. It features its iconic anodized aluminum housing that resists scratches and fingerprints, and includes an updated beveled accent and a micro-perforated steel grille. The same sound that redefined the Bluetooth speaker category remains at the heart of the new SoundLink® Mini speaker II, and it’s patented and exclusive to Bose. Proprietary dual-opposing passive radiators combine with two custom-designed, high-efficiency transducers to deliver full, clear audio, with dramatically deep low notes. Turn the volume up or down — Bose® digital signal processing optimizes the audio output for balanced sound at any listening level. “The SoundLink Mini II is another example of our obsession with the details,” said Yu. “Wireless is everywhere, but better wireless — better sounding, better designed, easier to use — that’s where we’re always focused. Combining the amazing sound and look of the SoundLink Mini with new features that are simple, intuitive, and brilliantly delivered provides another chapter in our story.”
The Bose SoundLink® Story Bose SoundLink® speakers have been globally recognized for delivering the standard for mobile audio since their debut in 2011, quickly taking the category by storm. The Bose SoundLink® speaker line features the SoundLink® Bluetooth speaker III, Bose’s best-performing Bluetooth speaker; the SoundLink® Color Bluetooth speaker, Bose’s most affordable and lightest speaker option; and now, the SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth speaker II, the smallest, most feature-rich Bose Bluetooth speaker ever, and the next generation of the SoundLink® Mini — now boasting thousands of 5-star Amazon reviews and millions of happy owners everywhere.
Pricing and Availability The new SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth speaker II will be available beginning on June 21, 2015, for $199.95; preorders begin today on Bose.com. The SoundLink® Mini speaker II comes in two colors: Carbon and Pearl, with soft covers in Deep Red, Energy Green, Navy Blue, Charcoal Black, and Gray, sold separately for $24.95 each. They will be sold through Bose stores, Bose.com, toll-free at 1-800-444-BOSE (2673), and select authorized dealers.
About Bose Corporation Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G. Bose, then a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today, the company is driven by its founding principles, investing in long-term research with one fundamental goal: to develop new technologies with real customer benefits. Bose® innovations have spanned decades and industries, creating and transforming categories in audio and beyond. Bose products for the home, in the car, on the go and in public spaces have become iconic. From the company’s home entertainment systems and Wave® music systems, to high-quality audio and noise cancelling headphones, digital music systems, Bluetooth® speakers and professional solutions, Bose has changed the way people listen to music. Bose Corporation is privately held. The company’s spirit of invention, passion for excellence, and commitment to extraordinary customer experiences can be found around the world — everywhere Bose does business.