Bose SoundLink Micro Review

By Chris / On / In Gear, Reviews

Bose SoundLink Micro

9

Audio Quality

9.0/10

Portability

10.0/10

Battery Life

8.0/10

Durability

9.0/10

Pros

  • Bose legendary sound quality
  • Water resistant and rugged
  • Battery life is good
  • Easy to use app
  • Price is right

Cons

  • Needs a way to lock the strap
  • Silicon outer case collects dirt/grime
  • Can't use it to charge another device

 

In wet ski school locker rooms, on sandy beaches, poolside at hot tubs, stacked on luggage in Chinese busses, attached to my pack while splitboarding, and clipped to a paddleboard while navigating whitewater, the rugged little Bose SoundLink Micro has accompanied most of my adventures for the last six months. Here’s what I’ve found from six months of traveling with tunes by Bose.

Bose’s sound quality is legendary, and with this speaker they’ve made an active lifestyle-ready speaker that can pump out the tunes while putting up with anything you throw at it (or throw it at). It’s simple, durable, plenty loud, and beats any other portable speaker I’ve had the opportunity to use. Basically, this thing is awesome, and despite a pile of various bluetooth speakers I’ve collected over the years, this is the only one I’ve been using.

The SoundLink arrived a little before I left for China last spring, and its first trip was to Aspen on a video shoot with PSIA-AASI, Snow Operating, and Halley O’Brien. Right from the beginning I knew this little speaker was going to be a game changer for travel audio with plenty of juice to fill the hotel room with music, and surprisingly good bass for it’s tiny size. From the room, to the hot tub, to the set, this speaker was with me for the whole shoot, keeping us entertained between work and play. I should add here that while Bose doesn’t specifically mention hot tubs, they do say that they used the IPX7 standard as a benchmark (3 feet for 30 minutes), and this speaker went in and out of the hot tub several times.

From Aspen, it was on to China where cross-country bus trips and long waits between flights were made infinitely better by connecting to the SoundLink. The Bose Connect app makes it easy to manage bluetooth connections and gives you access to features like “party mode” which links two of the speakers together and allows anyone to connect their phone and play DJ. While a totally “unnecessary” feature, party mode made for some fun on a drive that otherwise swung back and forth between meanderingly boring to terrifying deathtrap on windy mountain roads.

Once established in our rooms in China, I was glad to have the speaker to put on some white noise at night and low volume tunes as the first couple of days were spent getting accustomed to the flipped time zone and work schedule.

By the time I got back from China, the SoundLink Micro has thoroughly entrenched itself in my routines, and I rarely went anywhere without it this summer. I have a pretty great multi-room audio setup at home, so the SoundLink goes on a shelf to charge while the home system takes over the music duties. The next morning, depending on the adventures, the little speaker gets thrown in a bag, clipped to a pack, or strapped to a board.

I think it’s worth mentioning how simple the SoundLink is, thanks to only a couple of buttons, a charge status indicator, and the great app control for everything else. One button press turns it on and the speaker announces its battery life and let’s you know when it’s completed connected to a previously paired device. You’ve got volume up and down, a multifunction button, and a blutetooth connection button.

A few other ways I’ve used the SoundLink Micro:
I’ve attached it to the side of my pack for the splitboard ascent… and ride way down. I’ve strapped it to the top of a paddleboard for flatwater, and thrown it in a drybag for whitewater paddleboarding. You loose a little volume but it’s worth the tradeoff to keep it from sinking in the Colorado River. I love biking around town on a cruiser with it clipped to the handlebars. I’ve hiked dozens of miles of trails with it attached to the front of a backpack strap, and I’ve also brought it with me for disc golf, used it in my car for a few days when my stereo wasn’t working, brought it with me to beaches, hot tubs, and pools, and regularly hook it to a towel bar when I’m in the shower.

So what’s wrong with it? From my time using it, I really only have one concern, one gripe, and one feature I wish it included.

My concern is that the quick strap is great, but the device lacks any way to more permanently secure it to something. While in many cases the strap is a great benefit, and I like how easy it is to attach just about anywhere. However, with some sports, especially whitewater paddleboarding, I simply don’t trust the loop. I feel like it would be way to easy to lose the speaker when capsizing in rapids, and so would often put it into a drybag (where it still played pretty well). A low profile mount to slide a carabiner through or a way to lock the strap closed would do it.

My gripe is that silicon picks up dirt and grime, and the outer shell on the SoundLink is no exception. A backpacking trip will leave it dirty, tacky, and discolored. Thankfully, since the speaker is waterproof it’s no big deal to just rinse it off to clean it.

Finally, I really wish Bose had designed this unit with the new USB C ports – and allowed for two-way charging. The battery in this speaker is big enough to charge your phone a couple of times, and since I generally travel with a portable battery pack anyways it would be really nice to have the option of just bringing the speaker for shorter trips. Hopefully that makes it into the SoundLink Micro II, whenever it comes out.

Those three issues aside, I really haven’t had any issues with the SoundLink Micro. From Colorado to China, all over the US snowboarding, this really is a great little speaker, that lives up to the Bose marketing tag “Tiny. Until you Turn it On.” and I expect to keep rocking with it for years to come!

Disclaimer: Bose provided a SoundLink Micro for the purpose of this review. GetAWSM may receive a commission from sales generated on this page.

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