Small Package, Massive Sound
Portable speakers are becoming the norm, whether you’re throwing a house party, or taking a shower, having a reliable speaker with great sound is vital.
Companies like UE, Bose, and JBL specialize in portable, durable, and great sounding speakers for every occasion. The Bose Soundlink Micro falls within the very compact section. It’s a speaker small enough to throw in your backpack, take it on a hike or run, listen to music while taking a bath or consume content on your phone with. The added strap makes it easy to strap on to anything in reach.
With this portability, does Bose sacrifice sound quality?
Let’s find out in this comprehensive Bose Soundlink Micro Review…
The Bose Soundlink Micro’s name tells you all you need to know. It’s a Bose speaker in a micro-sized design. The whole speaker is covered with durable IPX-7 rubber that makes it waterproof. This means it can be submerged in water at a depth of 1-metre for 30 minutes. It’s also great for use in the shower or bath.
Unlike some of its competitors like the UE Wonderboom 2 that floats, the Bose sinks like the rock it is. Also, the rubber material itself doesn’t feel as premium as it looks, but grips nicely to surfaces and is the main reason the speaker is waterproof.
Bose doesn’t specify if the speaker is drop-proof, but after dropping it a few times ourselves, the Bose Soundlink Micro held up without any scuffs or dents.
The small form factor, paired with the extremely durable strap, makes it perfect for taking along on a bicycle ride or hike. The strap itself can strap onto anything it fits without hesitation: bike handles, bag straps, poles, desk legs, or even your arm.
On the front side of the speaker, you’ll find the two big plus and minus buttons for volume control, and right in the center of those two buttons, you’ll find another smaller button used for voice controlling virtual assistants.
Bose has also added LED lights on the side that show battery life. Tucked in underneath that is the micro-USB port for charging, which is unfortunate. At this point, all devices should come with USB-C, not only for the convenience of fast charging, but also to future-proof the speaker.
This little speaker gets very, very loud. It comes very close to some of the bigger speakers like the Bose Soundlink Color. Don’t expect to host a massive backyard party with it, though. It’s more suited for smaller occasions inside, maybe a small family or friends get together, or an intimate evening with your partner.
The sound profile is very Bose. The bass is thick, and the vibration from the speaker can be felt on the surface it’s playing on. The design is purposefully built to maximize the bass output when the speaker is face-up on a flat surface. If it is strapped onto an object with the bottom side open, you will lose some of the lower end bass.
It definitely provides heavier bass than the UE Wonderboom 2, but just falls short of the JBL Link 300.
Vocals are well fitted and clear in the mix until you start turning the volume up. Around the 70% mark, some distortion creeps in and gets worse as you raise the volume. It is common for smaller speakers to lose some clarity, especially when they get as loud as the Bose Soundlink Micro.
The speaker is best suited for inside use, where you would rarely crank the volume up to max. Once outside, nature takes its toll on the poor little thing.
The wind is every speakers enemy and can cause a lot of ambient noise to be lost. Usually, you’d crank the volume up, but then a lot of clarity is lost, and distortion is introduced.
The sound is still usable if you strap it on your bag for a hike or jog. However, on a bicycle or other fast-moving vehicles, it won’t sound good at all.
There is also a built-in microphone. It sounds fine when used at a pinch, for example, if someone calls you whilst you’re listening to your favorite song. The microphone picks up your voice fine with minimal ambient noise and caused no problems on the few calls we made.
One thing we were disappointed to find, is that there is no auxiliary port. The speaker is wireless only. It’s fine for the purpose it was built for and only a small flaw, but needs to be taken into consideration, especially if you want to plug in an external device that does not have wireless capabilities.
It uses Bluetooth version 4 and does well in most situations. Some latency issues were present when we tested videos on it. So, if you want to stream your favorite shows, you’d better look elsewhere.
Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are supported. It’s nice to have all three options for a change.
Bose also includes its party mode through the Bose app. This allows you to link more than one Bose device together to sync playback. It’s a great addition if you have more than one or know someone who also owns a Bose speaker.
Micro-USB is disappointing as we’ve mentioned before and makes charging the speaker a bit of an inconvenience. You’ll get just under six hours of playback at 50% volume. Expect less if you are listening at higher volumes.
Once your battery is drained, charging the speaker takes four hours for a full charge. This is the frustration that comes with micro-USB – six hours of playback on a four hour charge. It’s not the end of the world, but such a small change that could make a significant difference.
Who Is The Bose Soundlink Micro For?
This speaker does well, considering its small form factor. The strap is a great addition for anyone who enjoys backpacking/hiking. However, it’s difficult to recommend this speaker at its price range.
If you are a Bose fan and can’t live without Bose and need something smaller to travel with, by all means, get one, you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for smaller portable speakers in general, though, there are better and more affordable options such as Ultimate Ear’s Wonderboom 2 or the JBL Clip 300.
Bose Soundlink Micro Pros & Cons
- Very loud.
- Add-on strap is a great idea.
- Multi-Connection of Bose devices.
- IPX-7 rating.
- Micro-USB charging.
- Sound quality isn’t great at higher volumes.
Also see: JBL Clip 3 Review
More Portable Speaker Options
Not sure if the Soundlink Micro is for you? Do you want higher quality sound, or an easier charging routine and are willing to spend a little more?
If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the JBL Flip 4, UE Boom 3, the JBL Charge 3, the Anker Soundcore, the JBL Xtreme, the Fugoo Sport, the JBL Extreme 2, or the JBL Flip 3.
The Bose Soundlink Micro struggles to stand out at its price range. It delivers stellar volume at the cost of audio clarity. With better options available around the same price, it’s difficult seeing anyone loving the Bose Soundlink Micro unless they are die-hard Bose fans.
In the end, the Bose Soundlink Micro shows us that there is a downside to being too loud.