Most brands release a version 2 of their products like this: Add a new splash of color, new features here and there and tadah! You have version 2. Could it also be true with the $329 Bose SoundLink Mini Series II?
Just a little bit of context is needed before I carry on. The Bose SoundLink Mini basically took the world by storm back in 2013, when it was first released. Why? Palm-sized speakers typically could sound very loud, but very few sounded clear, and absolutely NONE of them had full and rich bass extension. The difficulty of getting around the size limitations meant people had to give up on getting that bass from palm-sized speakers. The Bose SoundLink Mini was the first to offer all that as an alternative to the feature-packed competitors, and it turns out, it got sibei popular because the sound simply blew everybody away. (I was one of those who kena blown away and bought one) But it didn’t offer everyone everything they wanted. It didn’t have a speakerphone, which was a common feature in most portables nowadays and it required a proprietary charger, while most portables were USB-charged. These features were common in most portables at that time.
But how is this new version different? For starters the Bose Soundlink Mini II has a longer battery life of 10 hours as compared to the last one’s 7 hours. It has voice prompts now which reads out the names of your connected devices, multi-point pairing and a speakerphone for phone calls! A more important improvement is that it now has USB charging, which means no need for a proprietary charger, just plug it in to your portable battery! So it turns out that Bose was listening after all. But first, it must test test!
I listen to my old Soundlink Mini a lot which means that I will know instantly whether there are any changes to the sound, and how it compares with the latest portables from other brands. First off, I played ‘Have a good time’ by the Brand New Heavies. Hmm it actually sounded a little bit different. It actually sounded a little clearer! The brightness of the trumpets came though loud and clear while the speaker retains its spaciousness. (The trumpets were positioned above it). I can tell that the EQ is slightly different here. Time to find out if there’s any changes to the bass...
The double-bass guitar in ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ (ISSE 2013 album) will show whether the bass-extension is as great as before. While the vocals were sharper and clearer, the bass extension sounded a little more flat. The double-bass didn’t hit home quite as much as the old Soundlink Mini. But when compared to other popular speakers like the Creative Roar 2 and the UE Boom, the Bose has a more open and spacious soundstage, cleaner bass extension (still) and makes a more reasonable purchase than ever with it’s updated features. Unlike the UE Boom and JBL Flip 2 it is not built to be splash-proof/shock-proof so I wouldn’t go swimming with it, but overall it still sounds awesome and superior to most speakers with the same features, size and price! It is definitely an improvement to the previous model in terms of features and battery life, but maybe I have gotten used to the bass extension of my old Soundlink Mini that I feel it’s not so urgent to get the new one.
For those of you on the lookout for a new speaker which is palm-sized, sounds powerful and with similar feature sets to anything that’s available out there, the S$329 Bose SoundLink Mini Series II is a solid choice. Available in both carbon black and pearl white.