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Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless Review

Want to know more about the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless? Well, hang around, we have all your questions answered right here!

To say that fans of Bose have been waiting patiently for the company to release a set of wireless, active noise canceling, circumaural (that’s over the ear) headphones would be stretching the truth. In all honesty, Bose are a bit late to the game, but with the release of the highly anticipated wireless version of the stunning Soundlink headphones, those fans (including us!) can finally see if they live up to all the hype!

Although they did have an earlier version of the Bose SoundLink on-ear wireless headphones (named the AE2w) that was compatible with a clip-on Bluetooth adapter, this was a pretty inelegant solution and one that just did not work that well.

It is safe to say that we were relieved to see that the Bose Soundlink wireless on-ear headphones have been able to shed the problems of previous models and even outshine competitors in many aspects. The addition of ANC (Active Noise Canceling) only adds to the user experience.

So, let’s find out all about them in this Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless Review…

Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Unboxing

Inside the box, we see all the expected gear with the headphones appearing first, followed closely by the case, a 3.5mm AUX cable (3 foot), a micro USB charging cable, and the warranty/user manual. These come with a 1-year standard manufacturer’s warranty.

bose soundlink on ear wireless review

Design

Weighing in at just 5.4 ounces (that’s 153 grams), this is one of the lighter sets of ANC headphones available right now. We found this lack of weight surprising at first, and we were worried that it might point to a low-quality design. Luckily this is far from what we encountered during testing. In fact, we found these to be some of the comfiest headphones we have tried this year!

Are the earcups and headband up to standard?

Without a doubt!

The Bose Soundlink wireless on-ear headphones ear cups have a feeling of solidity to them. They are made from high-grade industrial plastic and conform to the design aesthetic we are used to seeing from the USA based company. With matte black dominating (also available in matte white) and a spattering of blue and tan.

bose soundlink on ear wireless

Each ear cup has the Bose logo printed in metallic silver. The near-perfect oval shape is designed to fit any ear comfortably, and with the faux-velvet covered, memory foam earpads, they provide great passive noise cancelation. Even when active noise control is switched off, the headphones block out most unwanted noises.

Simple pairing process…

The right earcup houses the power button and the pairing button, which are combined into one sliding switch, as well as dedicated volume buttons (which can be used at the same time as your cell phone volume control). Simply hold the switch in the up position to initiate pairing, then all you have to do is wait for voice prompts to guide you through the rest of the process (so simple!).


There is also the standard play/pause, track skip, and call management buttons.

Lightweight and strong…

The hand band on the Bose SoundLink on-Ear wireless headphones is made of a combination of the same high-grade industrial plastic and aluminum. This is a tried and true combination that ensures maximum strength for minimum weight. Padded with the same memory foam/velvet as the earcups, even after hours-long use, this provided extreme comfort, with zero head squeeze present.

 Bose Soundlink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone

The plastic yokes that connect the ear cups to the headband are securely placed and feel sturdy enough to last. These yokes provide the fold needed to pack the headphones back into the carry case. When folded, the Sounlink wireless pack down to the smallest frame we have recently seen on the market.

Excellent call quality…

The all-new, Bose trademarked, “Adaptive Audio Adjustment” technology (which takes control of speech volume and ambient noise levels) and is paired with a new two-way microphone system. Bose have made some pretty bold claims here, stating that it is their opinion that this is system makes for the best phone call quality on the market.

We had a good time testing this around the office, and also on busy San Fransico streets. Our conclusion was that while the Bose Soundlink on-ear Bluetooth headphones might not be the very best on the market, they are right near the top!

Performance

Bose have made a name for themselves in the past 30 yrs for producing some of the best sounding headphones, with the Bose Soundlink wireless on-ear headphones being no different! The consumer friendly soundstage tends to favor the mids, with a softening of the lows and highs.

 Bose Soundlink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone, Triple Black

This is not to say that the highs are not detailed enough, or the lows lack power. Quite the opposite, in fact, with a beautifully balanced sound resonating from the cans. This is thanks, in part at least, to Bose’s TriPort technology, which not only provides the fullness of the bass without the need for electronic boosting but also helps in downsizing the headphones without sacrificing performance.

Does this claim hold true?

We think it definitely does!

The thumping kick drum and bass of “7 Nation Army” by the White Stripes was the perfect track to showcase just how well this piece of technology has been integrated into the headphones. The vocal drop in the third stanza was delivered with a purity rarely heard in this category.

Next up, we thought we would give another new toy; a Bluetooth enabled vinyl player, a whirl to see how the Soundlink wireless faired. We gave Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” a spin, and to say we were impressed would be today’s biggest understatement!


The thumping, walking bassline and the electric guitar riff are super clean and distinguishable, and when the man himself starts to sing, they go to a whole new level! The best way to describe this sound is precise, while not making tracks sound overly produced.

Battery & Connectivity

The battery life is one of the only aspects we could find where the Bose SoundLink on-ear wireless where they have let themselves down slightly. With a maximum of 15 hours playback time, they are well behind some of the competition.

A deal-breaker? Not for us!

The fact that we could use them all day without the need to recharge, and the super quick 1.5 hr full recharge time (with a quick charge of 15 minutes for two hours playback!) meant that we never truly worried about the slight lack of battery life. The included 3.5mm AUX cable ensures continued listening even if these do run low on juice.

 Bose Soundlink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

The Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) codec for Bluetooth worked great, with zero audio lags or dropouts experienced during our week-long test period. In terms of multi-point access (more than one device connected at once), we reckon the Bose SoundLink on-Ear wireless lead the pack. They seem to switch effortlessly between devices, with pausing on one and pressing the play button on the other being all that is needed.

Is there an included app for smartphones?

You betcha, with access to the Bose Connect App coming standard with every set. It not only lets you control and switch between multiple Bose devices, but it also allows you to give a name to your headphones, and adjust the volume. We found the most useful part of the app is that it automatically updates your unit, which will increase performance and possibly even the lifetime of the headphones!

Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Light and comfortable.
  • Super portable.
  • Multi-point access.
  • Top-class sound.

Cons

  • Shorter battery life than some.

Need Some Headphones For a Specific Purpose?

If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording, the Best Sony Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, and the Best Headphones under 100 dollars currently available.

The Verdict

If you are a regular commuter, student, office worker, or anyone in need of a great set of active noise-canceling headphones, then we think you will be hard-pressed to find a better value set than the Bose SoundLink on-ear wireless headphones.

They might not be the cheapest in this price bracket, but they are far from the most expensive, and they are so packed full of great features that you will not need another, newer set for years to come!

So what are you waiting for? Click out the best deals on the Bose SoundLink on-Ear wireless headphones right now!

Happy listening.


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