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: expand full story