Bose is a household name when it comes to great sound and speakers that are easy to use, while charging premium prices. The S$499 Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III is no exception, but how does it stack up against other popular speakers from other brands?
The SoundLink III looks like it’s designed to appeal to the more polished, executive crowd. It comes pretty flat, like the shape and size of a B5 hardcover book. When I lift it, it feels hefty weighing roughly 1.5kgs, showing that Bose has tried to make this speaker as compact as possible. It’s got 4 speaker drivers facing front and a pair of passive radiators that face front and back. It’s battery life is rated at 14 hours on average, and large rubberised buttons on top and indicator lights in front make it very intuitive to operate.
I’m simply blown away by the sound quality of the Bose SoundLink III. Never have I felt that the sound was too bright or too grainy, just smooth. It doesn’t have the heart-thumping bass of the much larger JBL Xtreme, but the passive radiators delivered rich and meaty bass performance. This becomes more obvious when you place it in front of a solid surface, like in front of a wall. When playing bass-heavy tracks like Feel Good Inc. by Gorrillaz and Royals by Lorde, bass never sounded thin despite not hitting the lower registers. The speaker sounded so airy and open when I was playing Michael Buble’s ‘Fever’, with his vocals sounding weighty and clear. When playing classical music, instruments were clearly separated and distinct from each other. Due to its front facing drivers, all that bass and clarity projects nicely across the room. Staging was so wide and tall, in my living room it sounded like a much bigger speaker imposing its presence. Impressive!
The Bose SoundLink III does not have USB charging and that means you'll need to carry another adapter along when travelling, and you will always need a power socket. It's also not water-resistant so I'd be careful around certain places like the beach. No speakerphone yet, and that's becoming a standard feature in portables of this price range. Like most Bose products, it also commands a slightly higher premium than speakers of similar sizes, retailing for S$499.
In this size category, the S$499 SoundLink III by Bose is by far the best speaker that I have auditioned. It definitely has better audio quality and bass projection than even the Creative Roar 2! But then, the Roar 2 is cheaper at $229, and there are other speakers with good sound and more features under $400. But if you’re serious about audio quality like me, and don’t mind the lack of bells and whistles, I strongly recommend the Bose SoundLink III.
If you’d like to ask me how this compares to other speakers in the market, do leave a comment below and i’ll get back to you as soon as I can.