Bose Soundlink Mini II Review

Fantastic as a bedside table speaker, but also holds a heck of a charge – feel free to take the Soundlink Mini II to any room in the house.

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It’s been a good while since the original SoundLink mini was introduced, considering other manufacturer’s have been pumping out new designs and improvements annually. But, if it wasn’t broken, why fix it, right? Bose returns with a nearly identical look and feel to the original model, but after reporting on its press release, the changes are what lay inside. I personally paid $199 for the Mini 2 at the time of this review, and compared to other small Bluetooth speakers, it is on the upper end in regards to pricing.

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PHYSICAL FEATURES
Getting right into it, the Mini 2 comes in at 7 inches wide, 2 inches tall and 2.3 inches deep, it’s still that same portable size. And compared to some other Bluetooth speakers, it’s lighter at 1 pound and 7 ounces. But because of its beautiful one-piece aluminum body that goes all the way around, this thing feels heavier when you have it in your hands. Its not a bad thing, but it seriously gives the feeling of being rock-solid, more so than some of the competition. The same can be said with the front and back grill offering zero flexibility or compromise when I press it in firmly.

The top features the power, volume up and down, and the Bluetooth pairing button to the right. In the center is to control playback and answer phones calls with its built-in speakerphone feature. Regarding playback, I did test this on my Android Samsung Note 4 and also the Apple iPad Air 2, and playback does work for both operating systems.

But now going back to finish its simple layout, on the right of the speaker features a 3.5mm port for physically connecting this to your device, and below that, which is also a huge plus for everyone, is a micro-USB connection to charge the speaker. The last model relied on an AC port which meant you had to carry Bose’s electrical cord with you when you were traveling. Now just like the last model, there is a charging cradle that comes in the retail packaging, which does come in handy and is completely optional. Leave this sitting on your nightstand or so, and just drop the speaker in, and the unit starts charging. Very simple.

BATTERY PERFORMANCE
But regarding power and battery life (since we’re on it), Bose also improved its performance by offering up to 10 hours of use. With my standard test that I do on all of my speakers, leaving this at 50% volume playing music, after 12 hours straight and then checking on the speaker, 60% battery was still remaining. I had to do the same test one more time and, sure enough, the same result. So I did another test, one that I normally don’t do, this time at 100% volume, and you can say a stress test too. This time, the Soundlink Mini 2 died in 5 hours and exactly 1 minute. So from my personal experience and conducting three separate tests, the light use is great, and the heavy use, keep in mind blasting this at 100%, it actually does decently. Some speakers I’ve tested in the past lasts only 5 hours at 50% volume. And after the full 5 hours, I noticed the unit just ever so slightly warm, but far from feeling like a hazard or issue.

But enough about this internal battery. The very last feature that does improve the Soundlink Mini’s experience is verbal feedback. The Mini tells you specifically how much battery is remaining and informs you who’s calling you and which device it’s paired with.

SOUND QUALITY
Bose I gotta admit has done it again. The high price – I swear – is warranted in regards to sound quality. The bass (and keep in mind for a small Bluetooth speaker) hits a level that I personally enjoy. There’s just enough yet it’s not overpowering. Most genres of music will for sure be enjoyable. To better illustrate, when comparing the bass on this compared to the competitors, the Mini 2 does have more bass than most in its segment. Most other small Bluetooth speakers are underpowered in this area. If you’re listening to more modern day music; Pop, EDM, Rap, and hip-hop, if you’re looking for a portable unit, for sure the Mini 2 is the one that does hit harder.

As for the midrange where you hear vocals and most details of instruments, it’s clear, it’s not boxy sounding nor dull. The midrange provides enough life and emphasis while retaining a tonal balance that accompanies the slight bass boost you hear from the low-frequencies. And for the high-notes, it’s not ear ringing or has any tinging either. In today’s music, that constant 808 beat you hear throughout the music, for the most part, stays intact.

Regarding loudness, this no question fills small rooms. Medium sized rooms like master bedrooms, living rooms, this does very good as well. I also tested this in larger open floor plan areas and it’s okay for personal listening, but it’s not as immersive. Of course, that’s when you need to look into possibly the Bose Soundlink 3 or if Bose ever makes a Soundlink 4. Regarding audio separation which is very hard for any small Bluetooth speaker to do, the Mini 2 is still not there in having left and right audio channels to be distinct, however, I did notice in regards to physical location, forward and back locations of music and especially in movies are more evident.

If you’re looking into the category of a small Bluetooth speaker, the Bose Soundlink Mini 2 is one of the best on the market. Despite lacking some features that I would love, like NFC and a Charge out port, the audio characteristics really shine here. So I hope this review helped you in some way. If you like my work, add me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you get to see some behind the scenes info and you can always stop by to say hi. Again, I’m Jimmy with Jim’s Review Room. You guys take care and I’ll see you on the next one.