I have tested a lot of Bluetooth speakers in the past. I am not a professional sound engineer or a synthesist; I just happen to have a sensitive pair of ears. Between the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker series and Bose’s Soundlink Mini product line, there have been a couple of close calls. I also love Jambox speakers because of their high performance and low price factor; but somehow there are times when Soundlink takes the lead.
That being said, not all Bose products are superb. They are an old company – therefore they are cashing on the brand name philosophy. Among their notable releases, the Bose Soundlink Mini speaker sets the bar high by almost all kinds of standards. I grew fondness for this sick puppy by the time it was probably burned in (means I played the Soundlink Mini for well over 72 hours to get optimal performance levels).
The Good Stuff about Soundlink Mini Bose Bluetooth Speaker:
- Solid build and solid finishing. It is a work of art. The “gauze” like speaker cover does not bend in. The buttons on top of this unit are firmly held in place and have no chances of getting loose over a couple of years.
- Dust resistant cover(s) and the ability to order + select a variety of Soundlink Mini cases from Amazon makes it all perfect. (I am using the Red cover these days).
- Bluetooth pairing is hassle free; the speaker connects almost with any number of devices. For more details please see the Soundlink compatibility manual.
- Once fully charged, the battery can pull 10 – 12 hours easily. Though Bose says that the minimum battery time is 7 hours, but I noticed it goes far beyond that.
- Play as you go persona: You can take this small speaker anywhere, especially to outdoor picnics and family gatherings to make your experience more memorable.
Now if you have used Jawbone Jambox portable speakers, you may have a liking for them. As I already said that the pricing factor alone sets huge difference between the two competitors. Jambox performance is also sublime, but if it comes to visuals, build quality and durability, Bose gets a few extra points.
By the way, I hear that the Ultimate Ear BOOM portable/ Bluetooth speakers are also good. I have not tried them, or seen them at any of the local retailers. If you have had any experience with BOOM Bluetooth speakers, let me know at email@example.com.
First Impressions with the Soundlink Mini:
Upon unboxing, I measured the unit dimensions. It feels substantial and has a heavy feeling to it. Bose also made the bottom side of the speaker in a well proportioned manner. You will notice that the speaker does not wobble, slip or cringe whenever it is placed on a flat surface or on the charging cradle. The overall weight of the speaker unit is 2 Lbs. approx. There is a matte finishing and the top side is lined up with rubberized buttons.
Each button on top of the Bose Soundlink Mini speaker has the respective symbol on it. The good thing about these buttons is that the icons/ symbols appear to last longer than average buttons. You have seen those TV remote controls, haven’t you? After a year of use, the channel button numbers of power button symbol simply wears off.
Side Tip: You can wrap the top side of this Bluetooth speaker with protective plastic coating. They are easily available from Kitchen accessories department, either online or at local stores. The sheet itself is made of non-stick material and lasts for a few weeks. You can replace it later whenever needed.
Quick look at the Soundlink Mini Specifications:
- Weight 1.5 – 2.0 Lbs
- Dimensions 2.3 x 7.1 x 2 inches
- Battery: 7.4V, 2330mAh, 17Wh, Li-ion battery (battery is user replaceable)
- AC Adapter: 100-240V, 50/60Hz
At the right side of your Soundlink unit, you will notice a standard 3.5mm Auxiliary port. On one side of this port, there is a DC In charging dock/ port for connecting the adapter. The adapter itself is thin and does not have any temperature issues over constant prolonged use; I made sure of that. Plus, there is a 62 Inch long charging cable attached to the adapter, which makes it easier to move the sound unit around, while it is being used and charged at the same time.
I wouldn’t advise you to charge the speaker every god damn day. You will end up draining the Soundlink battery’s charge capacity – hence reducing the overall battery timing. Upon further inspection, I noticed a MicroUSB charging port on the lower side of the speaker. This is a standard charging port, so you can use any other compatible MicroUSB cable if you have damaged or lost the original chord.
Battery Replacement for Bose Soundlink Mini – Is it Possible?
The battery is neatly tucked underneath the cornered edge of the Soundlink Bluetooth speaker unit. It is covered by a rubberized protective flap; you can easily lift to see the battery. It is a 7.4V Lithium Ion battery and it’s secured by 4 T9 screws. Here I would recommend that you buy an extra battery for future use.
Also, a common problem with speaker batteries is that after a year or two, there are shortage issues. Right now, Bose Soundlink is popular so its accessories are easily available. However, after 4 – 5 years when you will need a battery, where will you go? Probably by then, the retailers will have run out of stock, or maybe the unit itself won’t be in such high demand.
As stated earlier, there is an entire row of high quality rubberized buttons on the top side of Soundlink speaker unit.
- Power On/ Power Off
- Volume Increase +
- Volume Decrease –
By the way, I did not write about these buttons the way they are ordered on the actual unit. Anyhow, when you will turn on the speaker for the first time, it will be automatically in Bluetooth pairing mode. All you have to do is enable Bluetooth scanning on your smartphone, or any other compatible device, to pair the speaker immediately.
The flashing blue LED will indicate that Soundlink is in pairing mode. In case there’s a pop up message prompting for a security pin, please enter “0000” to go through. Some smartphones do not ask for Bluetooth pair code, but the aforementioned combination will work. Once you have started playing media, you can increase volume directly through your smartphone, or by pressing the respective buttons on the unit.
If Bluetooth pairing is not an option, here’s where the Aux connection port comes in. By default, there should be an Aux cable in the Bose Soundlink Mini box packaging. Connect one end of the cable to your smartphone and the other end to the port on the unit. This will let you play music or any number of media files, but please know that the auxiliary connection option restricts the movement of smartphone devices.
Bose Soundlink Mini Vs. Original Soundlink and Soundlink II:
The three Soundlink products are equally competitive against one another. If I were to recommend anything, I’d say that the Soundlink Mini is better than the original Soundlink and the Soundlink 2. The availability of protective skins, better finishing and knowing that Soundlink Mini was just recently released, drops a future proof impression on me.
Compared to the Soundlink II, especially, the Bose Soundlink Mini does not have louder results. There is a decent thump effect if we go to the bass levels of the Mini. The mid and high notes of classic songs are pleasing to listen to, as compared to Ja Rule and Accent remix shit.
There is a small percentage of ex Bose Soundlink users who do complain about the lack of accessories. Look at it this way; you bought the Soundlink “Mini” for a relatively lower price as compared to the entire Soundlink product line. Therefore, the absence of bags or travel cloths etc. is nothing to fret about.
Word from Bose:
Enjoy better sound on the go, everywhere you go, with the Bose Sound Link Mini Bluetooth speaker. It delivers full, natural sound from an ultra-compact speaker that fits in the palm of your hand. The speaker connects wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth device. A lithium-ion battery gives you hours of unplugged play time. And the included charging cradle keeps the speaker fully charged while serving as its convenient home base.