The Bose Soundlink Micro is the new ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker synonymous with home audio and noise-canceling headphones. It can usually be found around the $100 price point and is available online and inside most high street electronic stores and airports worldwide. We have had a good run lately with portable Bluetooth speakers. It really seems that the segment has improved exponentially over the past few years, so we were excited to review this little Bose unit given the companies pedigree in sound.
What is The Bose Soundlink Micro?
The Soundlink Micro is a tiny, pocketable Bluetooth speaker that is extremely rugged in its design and waterproof with an IPX7 rating. It has a claimed battery life of 6 hours and has support for Siri and Google Voice.
Build Quality & Design
Build quality is excellent. For the most part, I couldn’t find anything to complain about, and this little speaker feels extremely well made. The device is finished with a texturized rubber that should protect from drops and stop it from getting dinged and scratched when using it outdoors.
Buttons feel great and responsive to inputs, and I like the slight concave design to find them in the dark. Ports are well protected with a rubber flap that will stop both dust and water ingress, and I also like that the speaker grills are also made from the same material as the housing.
The strap on the back has proved to be a great little addition throughout our review process as it is convenient to hook it to a bag strap or over a handle. That said, the sound is far improved if the speaker is placed on a flat surface instead of hanging freely.
As for styling? I love it, and I think everyone else we let play around with it did too. The small size stands out, but it is also incredibly well laid out and functional. Ergonomically it fits great in hand, and its small size and equal dimensions make it easy to pack, and it’s even slim enough to be truly pocketable.
As you would expect from a company like Bose, the features such as calling and google voice assistant all worked exactly as we would expect. It must be pointed out, though, that I really don’t know many people that would use it in such away. The pairing was fast and simple; all it took was a press of the pairing button and proceeding through our device’s usual steps. After that initial setup, our phone would pick up the Bose in a matter of seconds.
The grip or loop, whatever you call it, as mentioned, is convenient, but we have only had it for a few weeks, so we can’t comment yet on its long-term durability.
Battery life is pretty poor if you as me. While Bose states you get 6 hours, the reality is louder volumes; you are more likely to get closer to 5. That might be ok for some of you, but for me, I don’t want to be charging my speaker every day.
Water-resistance is fine, we dunked it and sprayed it, and after a quick shake-off, the water cleared from the drivers, and the sound quality was back to normal.
In years gone by, I don’t think anyone expected much from a speaker of this size. It was always the same promise of great sound but what we got, in reality, was often tinny and shrill with positively no bass. The Bose can certainly pack a punch for its size, offer some bass representation, and remain relatively distortion-free.
Hard-hitting EDM and Rap Hip Hop and Pop will feel somewhat lacking due to that lack of fullness in the sound, but the unit does much better with rock and folk due to less of a requirement on the low end. Mids sound is pretty good with nice tones and a nod towards warmer presentation. Highs are dialed back to remain smooth and provide fewer high-end peaks than we have seen on similar past speakers.
The sound is enough to fill a small room, but it will get drowned out in larger environments, and pushing the volume limit past 85% will degrade the quality of the output. Again though, it’s hard not to be impressed by how much pop the Soundlink Micro has given its rather diminutive size.
The Competition: An elephant in the room
I am going to offer 2 main options for the direct competition to the Bose Soundlink Micro. One of which is who im guessing Bose is aiming squarely at, the popular JBL Clip speaker, and the other my favorite portable speaker, the incredible Minirigs Mini Bluetooth Speaker.
First up, and compared side by side with the JBL Clip 2, I would take the Bose every time. It is just the better all-around product. Sound quality is significantly better, as is build quality. However, if the price is a concern, then, by all means, the JBL is still a cracking little speaker.
Next, we have the still little-known king of this category, the new Minirigs Mini. All readers at Audiophile On probably know by now how much I loved the original Minirigs 2 speaker, and I still do, but for on-the-go use, it really is hard to look past the companies latest offering. You can read the full review here, but to summarise, in giving up IPX7 waterproof rating (the Minirigs is only water-resistant), voice controls, and a little bit of size, you get a whole lot back in return. Sound on the Minirigs Mini is leaps and bounds better, and it has the best low end I have found in this category to date. Battery life is a mind-boggling 30 hours vs. the Bose’s 6. Build quality is near the tank-like, and you have to option to daisy-chain it with other Minirig units.
The Bose Soundlink Micro is an excellent Bluetooth speaker for travel. It has a host of beneficial features and is well priced. I like that the sound is so improved from the portable speakers of just a few years ago, but I am not sure I can live with such short battery life. Still, it’s a great option to look for something to take with you to the beach or backpacking.