Bose SoundLink Mini II Review
THE VERDICT:
The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 has just about everything you want in a portable speaker. It's compact, and has a pretty good battery life. Throw in its solid sound quality and there's no reason not to buy it.

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Design8.5
Value 8
Features7.5
Sound Quality8.5
The Good
  • The aluminum body on the Bose SoundLink Mini II is durable. It has better sound quality than you’d inspect from a small speaker. Improved battery life over its predecessor.
The Bad
  • No stereo pairing. Not waterproof.
8.1Overall Score

The Bose SoundLink Mini II (MSRP $199) measures a compact 2″ x 2.5″ x 7″ and comes in two finishes, Pearl and Carbon. Visually, it looks nearly identical to the original Mini. However, Bose has made some improvements, namely in its battery life and the inclusion of speakerphone capabilities.

Bose SoundLink Mini 2 Review

The Mini II features the same sturdy aluminum body of its predecessor and weighs in at about 1.5 pounds.  It’s light enough that you can easily slip it in a bag and take it with you on the go. When you hold it in your hand it definitely feels more substantial than most of the plasticky speakers you’ll find on the market today. The aluminum body of the Mini II is durable, but it isn’t waterproof.

 

Bose SoundLink Mini II Features

To charge the Bose SoundLink Mini II, you have two options. You can use the included charge cradle or the micro USB cable. This gives you pretty good flexibility. When in the office I found myself plopping the Mini II in the charge cradle most of the time. The micro USB cable came in handy when I wanted to take the Mini on the go. The Mini II is advertised to have a battery life of about 10 hours on a single charge. I found this to be a fairly accurate estimate during my tests.

 

All the buttons you’ll need to control the SoundLink Mini 2 are mounted on top of the speaker. As soon as you hit the power button on the Mini II you’ll be greeted by a pleasant voice prompting you to pair your bluetooth enabled device. A bluetooth button, volume buttons, and a multi-function button round out the controls.

Bose SoundLink Mini 2 Controls

Hold the power button down and the Mini II will tell you how much juice the speaker has remaining. The multi-function button allows you to play/pause tracks, but not skip. Press the bluetooth button and the speaker will tell you which bluetooth device it’s connected to. Speakerphone functionality has also been built-in to the Mini II if that’s an important feature for you.

 

Sound Quality

Bose speakers have always been praised for their natural sound and the Bose SoundLink Mini II doesn’t deviate from this. With the Mini II, vocals had a very clean natural sound on par with larger speakers. The Mini did well with instrumental pieces too. At about 80% volume, instruments were impressively detailed and lively.

 

Bass response was also very good. In fact, the little speaker pushed out more clean and accurate bass than I would have expected from such a small form factor. It wasn’t until I drove the volume past the 75%-80% mark that the SoundLink Mini II ran into some problems. Overall, if you like bass you’ll probably be pleased with the Mini 2.

 

Most small speakers have limits to what their little drivers can do. This is also the case with the Mini II. Push it too hard and you’ll hear noticeable clipping in its bass response and treble. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the Mini II didn’t do this, the bass would sound distorted and muddy while the treble would be harsh and inarticulate. To save your ears from this abuse, Bose does the smart thing and clips certain frequencies. It’s a fair trade-off.

 

The SoundLink Mini 2 doesn’t have great stereo separation which isn’t surprising with a speaker of its size. Unlike other speakers in this price range, like the Beats Pill Plus, you can’t set two Mini IIs in a stereo pair. The Mini 2 is designed to be a standalone speaker.

 

The Verdict

The Bose SoundLink Mini II, overall, is a very good bluetooth speaker. Its 10 hour battery life makes it a great speaker to take with you and its solid sound quality means your tunes actually sound pretty good.  The Mini II faces stiff competition at its price point, but considering its excellent combo of features you really can’t go wrong.

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