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Bose Soundlink Micro review: This very tiny Bluetooth speaker delivers great…

Bose Soundlink Micro review: This very tiny Bluetooth speaker delivers great big sound

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The Bose Soundlink Micro is a pricey, but competent and compact Bluetooth speaker that performs well at all but the loudest volumes.

Best Today: Bose Soundlink Micro

The speakers inside smartphones improve with every new generation of handset. But they all sound like garbage when it comes to playing music without the benefit of headphones. That’s where the Bose Soundlink Micro comes in. This practically able Bluetooth speaker isn’t cheap at 110, but it punches far above its weight class.

Design

Unlike the other speakers in Bose’s portable lineup, the Soundlink Micro is designed to be carried and routinely abused. With an IPX7 rating, it’ll survive a trip into the shower or a dunk into the pool to a depth of one meter for up to an hour. The X in that spec doesn’t necessarily mean its not protected from dust incursion, just that it’s not rated for such protection.

JBL Flip 4

Part of this resilience in the face of the elements is due to the speaker’s silicon rubber exterior, which not only reduces the number of seams and other access points for water to seep into, but also protects its internal components from being banged around, dented, or cracked. The only port you’ll find on the speaker is a micro-USB port for charging its battery. A single charge will yield approximately six hours of audio.

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As with other Bose devices, the controls on the Micro are minimal, but adequate. You’ll find power and Bluetooth pairing buttons on the side of the Micro, flanking the speaker’s LED power level indicator. On the top are the volume controls and a button that can be used to play/pause or to move back and forth between the track list on your mobile device or computer. The button also provides access for Android and iOS users to access Google Assistant or Siri through the speaker (not on the speaker itself).

The Micro has two speaker grills: One on top to blast out the mid- and high-frequency sound through a single mono transducer and a passive radiator. A second passive radiator fires out of the Micro’s bottom-facing grill to provide a little bit of additional thump. Even if the enclosure could have accommodated a second transducer, it’s too small to allow the separation needed to produce true stereo. Buy two Micros, however, and you can put them in what Bose calls Party Mode to get true stereo.

While designed to provide its best sound when set up on a hard surface, like a table or desk, a built-in silicone strap makes it possible to mount it on a set of handlebars, strap it to a backpack, or locate it in any number of other places your life could be improved by the presence of a wee speaker.

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All of this fits into a package that weighs just over 10 ounces and measures roughly 4 x 4 x 1.5 inches. Currently the Soundlink Micro is available in three colors: orange, midnight blue, or black.

Connectivity and performance

The Soundlink Micro is stupid easy to connect to smartphones and tablets thanks to the company’s Bose Connect App. When pairing a new device, the speaker will provide you with audio prompts, walking you through the process. Switching connected devices via the app is a cinch, too. Should you want to connect to a device that doesn’t have access to the app, you can still kick it old school and pair using traditional Bluetooth pairing protocols.

SoundCore A3102 Bluetooth speaker

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There are a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers out there, at a similar price point, that play louder, deliver stereo sound, and significantly longer runtime than the Soundlink Micro. But on the whole, those competitors are larger, heavier, and not as well made as the Soundlink Micro is.

For its size, the sound produced by the Micro is exceptional—provided you’re not an audio purist. To keep the diminutive speaker’s transducer and passive-radiators from producing distorted audio at high volumes, Bose baked digital signal processing (DSP) into the speaker. Listen to the speaker at around 50 percent of its maximum volume or lower, and you get more bass. As the volume inches higher, you’ll get less thump. Employing the technology in the Micro is largely a success—but there are limits.

While streaming music from my iPhone 7 Plus at around 70 percent of the speaker’s maximum volume, the audio sounded crisp. There was a surprising amount of separation, and I could feel the bass vibrating into my forearm through my desk. But at higher levels, despite the speaker’s DSP reducing the amount of low-frequency sound, distortion started to creep in.

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The tuba in Hazmat Modine’s and Huun-Huur-Tu’s “Man Trouble” (from Bahamut) vibrated enough to ruin the track’s smooth blues groove. The same thing happened while I was listening to Colter Wall’s “Sleeping on the Blacktop” (from Imaginary Appalachia). Wall’s deep tremolo sounded present and true at lower levels, but once the speaker’s volume was jacked up all the way, I noted that his singing sounded muddier, with some of the detail of his voice becoming lost. That said, I seldom listen to anything at such high volumes; so the problem, for me at least, isn’t much of an issue.

It’s also worth noting that the Soundlink Micro makes a fabulous speakerphone. While engaging in voice calls, it provided excellent audio from the party I was yapping with. The person on the other end of the phone said I was clear and easy to understand as well.

Is it worthy of your cash?

The Bose Soundlink Micro is a pricey but capable Bluetooth speaker. Provided the limitations caused by its diminutive size are understood, it’ll be a rugged, highly-portable audio device that will serve users well.

Bose Soundlink Micro review

Bose has quite a history of surprising people with full-fledged sound out of very tiny enclosures. So their Soundlink Micro, rather smaller than two packs of cigarettes, should behold a maximum potential of astounding people. Remember Bose´s legendary Soundlink Mini defining the genre of tiny bluetooth speakers offering convincing bass.

The Soundlink Micro is also in the same vein, but its rounded and flatter shape is much better suited for handbags and backpacks. You can argue that Danish manufacturers like BO have occupied this territory already, but Bose seem to be more consistent here in terms of colours. Black, orange and dark red give the Soundlink Micro a certain 1970s retro touch, especially when being strapped to the bicycle handlebar.

What´s the story, Bose?

What turned out to be practical from the first go: voice announcements not only confirm successful connection, but also issue a warning in case battery life is coming to an end. According to the manufacturer, this is after 6 hours, which we consider realistic and fairly average. A small battery indicator on the side also reminds when it is time to get juice or end the party.

Despite from offerting voice assistant´s help, the Soundlink Micro is a Bluetooth-only concept offering no Wi-Fi connection or AUX inputs. The keys for standard functions such as Play, Pause and volume control are positioned quite prominently on the front.

A rubber strap for quick fastening to bicycle handlebars or e-scooters is included – and really handy. If you prefer to place the Soundlink Micro on a table, this strap serves as kind of isolating base and anti-slip. Bose is particularly proud of its IPX 7 waterproof rating, which makes it possible to submerge it for 30 minutes.

That said, a vented enclosure was no option. Accordingly, the tiny Bose uses a passive compound driver for extending its bass reproduction, as the majority of frequencies are handled by one fullrange driver. The Soundlink Micro is designed as a pure mono speaker and consequently does without features that are rather pointless at this size, such as virtual surround sound.

Summertime, and pairing is easy

Establishing a bluetooth connection worked completely flawlessly, especially since the Soundlink Micro´s voice feedback is commenting almost anything.

Two Soundlink Micros can be easily paired to create a stereo pair. You need the Bose Connect app for iOS or Android to do so. A party mode is also available with the app. For a firmware update, you might want to connect a computer via the included USB cable instead of the app.

Listening test Bose Soundlink Micro

Of course, one shouldn´t expect a miracle in terms of dynamics from a speaker of this size. But especially in the bass region, the Bose Soundlink Mirco turned out to perform surprisingly mature. The bass might not as substantial, which is quickly noticeable with hip-hop and bass-heavy pop, but you still don’t get the feeling of several octaves missing which is not an uncommon impression from speakers of comparable size.

In addition, it offers a tonally well balanced voice reproduction not overly finely resolved, but with a fair amount of clarity. It never gets annoying and is definitely suitable for long-term listening without getting lost too much in the murmurs of a spontaneous beach party.

Verdict and Alternatives

Especially in relation to size and functionality, the Bose Soundlink Micro is not the cheapest mobile speaker on the market. In return, mounting options such as the handleblar fix and its rounded shape are definitely strong points.

And so is the strong bass performance making it a relatively mature speaker. The only competitor being capable of keeping of is the comparably cheaper Tribit Stormbox Micro 2. The latter offers a bit more of dynamics and grippy speed, but cannot keep up with Bose´s relaxed timbre and subtantial bass.

Specifications Bose Soundlink Micro

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The founder and editor in chief of STEREO GUIDE has been testing for over three decades as a hi-fi expert for print and online magazines such as AUDIO, VIDEO, stereoplay and LowBeats. In addition to cultivated music playback, he likes fast cars. including classic cars. with rich sound. He also reports regularly on this topic, not least on this platform.

The Bose SoundLink Micro packs a surprising punch for such a tiny speaker

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The Bose SoundLink Micro isn’t exactly the cheapest Bluetooth speaker, but its portability, good sound, and durability almost justify the price tag.

  • Extremely portable
  • Rubber finish provides a durable build
  • IPX7 water resistant
  • Big bass output

Bluetooth speakers come in many shapes, but Bose’s SoundLink Micro (opens in a new tab) wants to make a splash with a tiny square design that comes in bright orange.

At 99, it’s pretty affordable as Bose products go, but for an ultraportable wireless speaker — the kind you might see strapped to bike — it’s on the pricey side. That tiny square has impressive sound, though, thanks to drivers inside that were designed specifically for this model.

Still, is it worth it when there are a plethora of cheaper alternatives (opens in a new tab) ?

A tiny footprint

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Thanks to the built in strap you can hand the SoundLink Micro from many common objects, and even your fingers. Credit: jake krol/mashable

The SoundLink Micro is small, measuring 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 inches and weighing under a pound. It has a rounded square design and can be easily held in your hand. It is about the size of two credit cards placed one above the other.

A rubberized silicone layer wraps around the device, and there’s a metal grille on the back. There are four silicone legs on the bottom as well, which give it a small boost. The perforations in front and in back show where the drivers are, but there’s no stereo sound on a speaker this small (linking two together allows for this effect). Rather, sound gets pumped out from the front and back.

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Bose offers the SoundLink Micro in Black, Midnight Navy, and Bright Orange. I tested the orange one, and the color really does pop. The front of the speaker features a Bose logo, playback controls, and a microphone. The top has the power and Bluetooth buttons, a battery indicator, and a microUSB port.

On the back there’s a silicone Band which will let you strap the SoundLink Micro to an object, which is a nice bonus. It can hang from a strap on a backpack, a chair arm or leg, or even an umbrella.

While the Band is stretchy, it had some trouble getting around a standard-size beach umbrella — this is clearly meant for bike handlebars or something smaller. Of course, the speaker can also be used when sitting on a flat surface or being held in hand.

Bose makes good use of the limited surface area on such a small speaker. The SoundLink Micro gives you easy access to controls but keeps its footprint tiny.

Don’t be afraid of getting it wet

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Since the SoundLink Micro has an IPX7 rating against water, it can take a dip and still pump out sound. Credit: jake krol/mashable

The rubber shell of the Bose SoundLink Micro is the first barrier against water. In fact, the entire speaker is IPX7-rated (opens in a new tab). meaning it can handle immersion in water up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes. This outer shell protects water from getting inside, but the internal hardware is sealed as well.

This means the SoundLink Micro can take a dip in the pool or get caught in a rainstorm. I tested it out with direct water contact, and it still pumped out sound. If it does fall in, you’ll want to dry it off and shake the water out. Since the micro USB charging is exposed (though still water resistant), you will want to let it dry before charging again.

If you stream some loud music to the speaker while it’s wet, it is neat to see the speaker remove the water itself during songs with heavy bass, as you can see the water shoot out in line with the music.

Bass exceeds expectations

Bose designed the internal specifically for the SoundLink Micro, so none of the main parts are re-used from other speaker designs.

And you can really feel it. The bass is solid, and it doesn’t distort at full volume. Streaming “ Than You Know” by Axwell Ingrosso via Apple Music resulted in a powerful punch of sound. The bass comes out of the front and back of the speaker, and on a flat surface, this results in the sound traveling out the bottom. But it’s not muffled: the four tiny legs allow the sound to bounce off the surface and up the sides of the speaker for a richer sound. It packs a punch with bass that doesn’t distort and is equally balanced.

When strapped onto something via the silicone Band, the speaker pumps out 360-degree sound but loses the stronger bass it gets when playing on a surface.

High tones and low tones sound properly balanced. Bose’s mixing puts a slight emphasis on the bass, but not an overwhelming amount. If you want an overpowering bass experience that lowers other tones, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

With all of this, the most impressive thing about this speaker is the bass. It’s most noticeable when it is on a flat surface since you get those reflections. You won’t notice the bass as much when it’s strapped onto something, losing the room-filling effect.

A microUSB port and Bluetooth connectivity

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Connectivity LEDs and the central micro-USB port live on the top of the SoundLink Micro. Credit: JAKE KROL/MASHABLE

Unlike the larger SoundLink speakers from Bose, the Micro variant goes all-in on Bluetooth; there isn’t even a headphone jack. You can connect it to your source just like you would any Bluetooth speaker, but it also works with the Bose Connect App. This allows you to perform software updates and you can even give your speaker a nickname. Bose has added a cute feature that will even suggest names for the speaker like Moon Boots, The Possum, and Heavy Metal Poet to name a few.

If you have another Bose SoundLink speaker, you can pair the two together for true stereo sound. Pairing more than two allows for surround sound. The connection and pairing is done through the Bose Connect app.

One thing I’m not thrilled about: The SoundLink Micro has a microUSB port for charging at a time when USB-C is picking up speed.

If Bose opted for USB-C, the speaker would probably be capable of faster charging, plus it would mean compatibility with future gear. It seems that Bose wasn’t ready to make the USB-C transition, as the current QuietComfort 35 II headphones opt for this for charging as well. Hopefully in a future variant of this speaker, it’ll get a USB-C upgrade, but for now, you can expect longer charging times.

Bose also states you should get up to six hours of battery life, which is what I got. Depending on the volume levels and if you take a few phone calls, it can knock this closer to five hours. Either way, I’d recommend bringing the charger with you.

Going the distance for the Bose name

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Ninety-nine bucks for a Bluetooth speaker isn’t cheap, but Bose has done a really nice job with the SoundLink Micro. At the end of the day, you’re paying a premium when you consider that a comparable speaker like the UE Wonderboom is 69. For that price, you get 10 hours of battery life and just as rugged build quality.

You do, however, get a smaller build with Bose, and if portability is important, you should know you’re not sacrificing sound quality or connectivity. If you’re a fan of Bose and know their audio mixing, the SoundLink Micro gives you a well-balanced mix with a surprising amount of bass.

Just be realistic: The Bose SoundLink Micro (opens in a new tab) packs a considerable punch for such a small speaker, but you’re also paying a premium for the Bose name.

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Bose SoundLink Micro is down to 99, and other Bose speakers are up to 24% off

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If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, BGR may receive an affiliate commission.

Earlier this week, I told you about a big Bose headphones sale that slashed 50 off Bose over-ear headphones and ANC earbuds. Bose is one of my favorite headphones brands, so it’s worth noting that those deals are still available now. But a few more Bose sales have popped up this week, including a deal that drops the popular Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth speaker to just 99. That matches the best price of the year so far, and it’s the cheapest price you’ll pay to get any Bose speaker.

Other Bluetooth speakers from Bose are also discounted in this new sale. For example, the Bose SoundLink Revolve II is 18% off at 179, and the Revolve II is down to 249 instead of 329. You can also save on Bose soundbars and wireless subwoofers in this week’s big Bose sale.

Today’s Top Deals

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To me, the Bose SoundLink Micro is one of the best Bluetooth speakers that Bose has ever made. No, it doesn’t have the loudest speaker or the fullest bass. It’s certainly not going to rattle any Windows, of course. But the SoundLink Micro has a few important things going for it that make it a crucial addition to Bose’s lineup.

First, it’s the cheapest Bluetooth speaker that Bose makes. That means that a whole new range of shoppers now have access to the incredible Bose sound quality that audiophiles know so well. This model retails for 119, which is already a solid price. And as I mentioned, the Bose SoundLink Micro is currently on sale for just 99.

Additionally, the SoundLink Micro is waterproof and dustproof. It has an IP67 rating, so you can literally drop it in a pool and it’ll be fine even if you leave it at the bottom on the pool floor for a while. Between that and the impressive 6-hour battery life, you can rest assured that the Bose SoundLink Micro will be fine no matter where you take it.

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Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker: Small Portable Waterproof Speaker with Microphone, Blac…

In addition to the SoundLink Micro deal on Amazon, there are a few other Bose portable speakers on sale right now.

The two most notable deals are on the Bose SoundLink Revolve II, which is on sale for 179, and the upgraded Revolve II, which is 24% off at 249 instead of 329.

These models are much louder than the SoundLink Micro, and they have better all-around sound quality. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Bose SoundLink Revolve II and I have to say, it’s definitely one of the best portable speakers I’ve ever tested in the 300-350 price range.

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Bose SoundLink Revolve (Series II) Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Wireless Water-Resistant Speake…

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Bose SoundLink Revolve (Series II) Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Wireless Water-Resistant Speak…

Finally, there’s a separate Amazon sale on Bose home theater speakers. It includes deep discounts on soundbars and wireless subwoofers, and you can shop the full sale right here.

Top Deals from BGR

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