5 Stars By Daniel Segal on 2015-01-22
Bose SoundLink Color: A truly portable Bose
First off, this item does not need any more reviews. It has plenty. But I feel I need to write one because, while there are a lot of reviewers who "get it" there are many who do not. This is a portable speaker. It was designed to be taken with you. It is *not* meant to replace your home theater system. So, to be fair you should only be comparing this speaker to other portable Bluetooth speakers. OK, so now we've got that out of the way. Here is what I was looking for when I set out to find a worthy replacement for my previous Bluetooth speaker - I wanted a good-sounding speaker that was portable enough, and rugged enough that I could take it with me when I travel, to the beach, on my deck, in my garage, in my workout room, and even as a tail-gating music source. Notice that I did not mention anything about replacing my home theater system!
To set the record straight, I am not an audiophile although I do love music and know enough about AV equipment that I feel I can provide a relatively thorough review. Next, I want to mention the categories that are important to me when evaluating a portable speaker:
1. Sound quality
Let's talk about #3 first. It is, by no means, the most important consideration BUT trust me - if you cannot easily connect your source device to your Bluetooth speaker it is a major bummer. I know from experience. My previous Bluetooth speaker (which sounded pretty darn good) took all sorts of voodoo magic to get my iPhone to connect (ie: turn Bluetooth on, turn speaker on, forget connected device, turn Bluetooth off, reboot speaker, cross fingers, turn Bluetooth back on, etc). And most of the time this routine was unsuccessful! So, believe me when I tell you that ease of connectivity is a feature not to be underrated. With that said, the connectivity on this device is amazing. It works exactly as I expect. Let me clarify - if you have Bluetooth enabled on your source (eg: iPhone) and you then turn on this speaker, it will connect instantly. However, if you turn on the speaker first, and *then* enable Bluetooth on your iPhone you will likely have to choose the device from your list and press it. But that's it. It works each and every time. Frustration factor = zero!
OK, now for the really important aspect - sound quality. Here's my one word review - Fantastic. Now, for the details. For comparison purposes I am going to explain how I reached my conclusion with respect to two other speakers which I compared against. The first one was the Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Angle Plus. I have been a fan of this company for almost 30 years so I had high expectations. When I received the Oontz I excitedly tore it from its shipping container and set it up immediately. And I was immediately disappointed. Have you ever taken your iPhone and stuck it inside an empty glass? It's actually a quick way to amplify and enhance the sound that emanates from the built-in speakers. The Oontz sounded slightly better than that. Not what I was looking for. So that went back to AlumiGogo (easy returns as always). The next one I tried (actually I tried two together) were the Bose Soundlink Mini and the Bose Soundlink Color (the one you're reading about). My search ended here. For the record I chose to listen to the re-mastered version of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" as my test track. It has a great combination of highs, mids and lows while not being over-laden with studio trickery and post-production enhancements. First, the Mini. This one sounds fantastic and, to my ears, sounds even better than the Color. It has a deep, warm bass that is so characteristic of Bose products. I have to say I really loved the sound. If you're like me, you probably have some audiophile friends who constantly disparage this company and its products. It's understandable. I liken it to the way a wine connoisseur treats boxed wine. Basically, Bose makes top-notch audio equipment for non-audiophiles. Since most of us do the majority of our music-listening in rooms other than recording studios, we know what sounds good to our ears and that's all that really counts. For the record, I have drank some tasty boxed wine.
So if the Mini sounds so good, why then did I choose the Color? Like I said in the beginning, I wanted something uber-portable. While the Mini is small it just doesn't scream "portability". It's a rather elegant piece of audio equipment. It's also heavy. I mean heavy in terms of not wanting to haul it around in a backpack or a cooler. The Mini would be an ideal choice for someone living in an apartment who wants to occasionally move their music from the living room to the bedroom. I just wouldn't feel comfortable dropping it in the sand. In other words it doesn't look like it was designed to go outdoors.
When I compared the sound of the Mini to the Color I did not hear a huge difference. If I had, I probably would have rationalized some way to make the Mini more portable and "go-anywhere" (eg: there are some nice silicon covers available for the Mini that make it a bit more portable). It's worth mentioning that the $70 price differential also helped tip the scales in favor of the Color. I wouldn't let $70 be the deciding factor in my choice but it didn't hurt, either.
One additional advantage the Color has over the Mini is that it can be charged using a standard USB-micro cable. While not a deal-breaker, it is nice knowing that, when I travel, I will not have to lug around an extra cable and power-supply.
Bottom line - the Bose Soundlink Color has the best combination of sound, portability, and usability that I know of. I am impressed every time I turn this thing on and start cranking tunes.
*** Update June 29, 2015 ***
This sucker is still going strong and now that I've owned it for about a half year let me provide some deeper insights:
1. The battery life is beyond impressive. I rarely have to charge it and when it *does* get close to needing a charge it gives you ample warning - kinda like the fuel gauge on your dashboard (you just know you still have like 60 miles before you bonk out).
2. This morning I knocked the speaker off the table onto the hard concrete slab floor in my basement. I mean it took a beating. Bounced around and everything. I half-expected to find myself grieving humpty-dumpty style over a pile of blue plastic shrapnel. But much to my surprise the Bose was unscathed - not even a scratch! So let's just go ahead and add another category - Durability, for which this thing rates an A+
But all is not perfect in Bose-land. Yes, I can be critical, as well. So here it is. I think the ergonomics of the design could be improved by making the base a little larger than the top. In other words I would prefer a more tapered design. Although it is durable to a fault, it is also a tad topsy-turvy. Hopefully a future model will incorporate that design "opportunity". Despite that trivial shortcoming, I have only managed to topple the Color once during the 6-months that I've owned it.
*** Update December 17, 2015 ***
I recently took my speaker on a business trip and used it to create white noise in my hotel room (long story). Anyway, I forgot to plug it in before I fell asleep. It ran all night into the morning CRANKING so loud so that it literally sounded like an industrial air conditioner. The punch line is that it was still going strong 8 or 9 hours later. So anyone who disparages the battery life of this thing must have had a dud because mine is a freakin' trooper.
on 2014-10-01 Big Sound, Small Package
With all the Bluetooth personal-size speakers on the market these days, it can be challenging to figure out which one will best meet your needs. Because of its portability and oversize sound, this little unit
has all of the positives of the "boom boxes" some of us remember from our youth, with the added benefit of smaller dimensions and freedom from C batteries.
Here's a targeted assessment of how the Bose has been performing. (UPDATE #2: As of December 2015, this speaker is still going strong. It has taken a couple of plane flights and even has served as a car stereo a few times.)
SOUND: This unit puts out a rich, clean, clear sound. Bass is present without being overwhelming; higher notes don't get tinny. When evaluating any speakers, I listen for how well they handle guitar and a cappella, because fuzziness and other issues will stand out. This little unit did not muddy the purity of the unaccompanied human voice. It also stood up to the subtle complexities of guitar -- in ballads, rock, and the music I love best, Hawaiian slack-key.
PORTABILITY. The unit is small enough to tuck into a day pack or oversize purse. Manufacturer specs note that the internal battery holds a charge of up to 8 hours' playing time, which means you don't need to bring the provided power adapter -- but if you do, it's in two compact parts, a USB cable and a slimline wall adapter with fold-flat prongs. The unit will simultaneously recharge and perform as a speaker. I was able to recharge a drained battery while playing music in about 70 minutes. I've expanded the battery/charging section of this review below.
EASE OF USE. Initial setup takes just a few minutes, and can be done while you are recharging the battery. The spoken instructions are easy to follow. Then it's a matter of getting your Bluetooth-enabled devices to recognize the speaker. Once this recognition process is complete, whenever the speaker is on, it will verbally identify any synched device that comes within range. And this is not a generic identification - the SoundLink uses the name you've assigned to each device. Toggling between devices is simple, too, just a matter of using the "pause" and "play" controls on your devices.
APPEARANCE/DURABILITY: The case is smooth, with rounded corners. The one-piece top panel and two narrow vertical panels on the sides of the case are rubberized, with some flexibility. Control functions are printed on the surface of the top panel, and are pressure-sensitive, so there are no moving parts exposed. The narrow strips on the sides of the case give you a surer grip when lifting or moving the unit. The SoundLink and power supply are both well-machined. Overall, the unit seems sturdy and capable of withstanding daily use, including frequent movement and plugging and unplugging.
BATTERY POWER: With the caveat that your experience will vary depending on such factors as output volume and whether you are connecting via bluetooth or cable, here are some updates as of December 2015.
(UPDATE #1 made in March 2015 follows.)
* The unit takes about 60-75 minutes to recharge using the included electrical adapter if you are also using it to play music. Charging without using the speaker usually takes about 45-60 minutes, depending on how low the battery has gotten, which is a matter of estimation until you get a low-battery warning. These time ranges have become consistent after several months' use, and I do time them periodically to spot any changes.
* I average at least 5 hours' playing time before the battery warning begins, but I tend to crank up the volume and have my music source 5 to 8 feet away from the speaker, so you may eke out longer intervals than I do. When testing the unit at various volumes and distances from my phone or laptop, I definitely noticed that a combination of higher volume and greater distance between speaker and source device decreased effective playing time.
* The battery takes about a week to discharge from full/nearly full. Note that I tested the time-delay draining just twice out of caution for the battery.
1 Stars By O. Gomez on 2016-03-21
Stopped Charging and Working
First off, the sound coming out of this speaker is strong, considering the size of this unit. Great bass and treble for the price.
The bad, it stopped charging and working in 3 months. Mind you, it has only been charged about 5 times since December.
This makes me question the durability of Bose's products. The company will be replacing my device. Maybe I was just one of the unlucky ones who received a lemon. My Big Jambox has yet to fail me after 3 years...
5 Stars By diego lara on 2016-03-27
Powerful tiny Bose device!
I had purchased a $50 dollar speaker from another brand earlier this week, the same day I received the $50 speaker my girl friend text me that she wanted the Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth speaker, because her friend had one and it sounded amazing. So i found the speaker on AlumiGogo for her and she ordered the mint green one. I decided to keep the $50 for now until I could compare the two speakers (Other brand vs Bose SoundLink). On Friday she came over to my house and we did a side by side comparison. My biggest concern was the volume level because the $50 speaker did not have much volume. I connected my Samsung Note Edge to each device and played music on each by switching back and forth to compare. At first the volume level was identical, although the Bose sounded much deeper and clearer. But I figured, "Hey its 66 dollars cheaper, Ill keep the $50 dollar one". So at this point my girl asks me to higher the volume on her Bose, and I replied "The volume is already all the way up on my phone" and she then pointed to the volume buttons on the Bose system. I then realized the volume on the Bose was only about half ways when I was doing the volume/sound comparison!. The $50 dollar speaker did not have a volume button and was unable to go any higher. At this point I turned around with my computer chair, and initiated the return process of the $50 speaker on AlumiGogo. Within 5 minutes I had the return label all ready to go (thanks AlumiGogo for the great service). I received my speaker to day, Sunday (2 days later) and I am enjoying amazing sound from such a tiny device! :) Thanks Bose!
1 Stars By David Boxton on 2018-04-17
CHANGE the PLUG!! It worked for me.
I have modified my review. I think it is fair to do so. I will leave the 1-star rating for a moment, in hopes that people that look at the 1-star ratings first, as I always do, will see my modified review. I used another plug. It lit up and started charging. So the, it could be the plug that shipped with it, is the problem. I remember having a problem plugging it in with the original plug on the onset. But now, it is working, fully charging and retaining battery life. I took the new plug out and plugged in the old plug; the result, No LIFE. Go get one of your cell phone plugs and try it. I want to be fair. I don't want to down a product unfairly. I will change the rating in a couple days too, I just hope to get anyone's attention to this find, that might be mad right now, like I was.
Simply put, the charging will fail you and you will have no other recourse. The internal battery will die, and it you try to play it plugged in, it won't work. Estimating the situation from my own Bose, it's battery digressed slowly. I only used the thing 1 time a week, in a meeting I belong too. It would be plugged in, but still give a battery low indication. Soon, it gave nothing, no indicator lights, just death. It is not worth the money. It looks cool, and when it worked it was nice and robust in sound, but the battery is a joke and, for some reason, feel like they knew this. So my feelings will not let me move on with Boss or recommend them.
2 Stars By GERI D on 2017-11-13
it was great WHILE IT LASTED
originally purchased this item Jan 2016..it was great WHILE IT LASTED..today is Nov. 2017 and the soundlink will only play while plugged into wall outlet.. battery no longer accepts a charge.. understand, i am not one that leaves a charger in ALL the time.. i charge to capacity then remove the charging cord... EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED in this BOSE PRODUCT...
1 Stars By New Mat Girl on 2018-01-16
Love the color. Hate that it doesn't work!
I bought my Bose 2 years ago. I don't use it too often. So after a year, I was surprised that it started acting fussy. It would connect then disconnect with my iPad several times during my short uses....always "announcing" that I was connected or disconnected. Did not make for a pleasurable listening environment. Then I discovered that if I connect an auxiliary cable to the Bose and my iPad- I no longer get connected/disconnected. So much for the joys of wireless - but at least I could use it. Today, I discover that despite having been plugged in for some time, the battery is dead. DEAD! what a waste of money.
5 Stars By friendly1013 on 2015-08-31
Great product, great value, superb sound quality and portability.
This has got to be the best value of any Bluetooth speaker you will find out there. The bass is true and never distorts. The volume is amazing. It is worthy of the Bose brand. More things I like: It is very portable (there are some great cases for it as well if you want to carry it around) it looks cool, its very affordable, and last but not least - I have never had ANY bluetooth connection issues with this thing. It remembers a lot of devices and if they are on and nearby, it just works. No re-pairing and re-connecting, or turning your phones bluetooth off and on to get it to work. It just works.
3 Stars By Kristen B on 2016-12-14
Nope, not what I expected
I bought this because I saw someone else rave about using it in their car. I was trying to decide if I should replace my car stereo which I know will cost a pretty penny so I thought after reading a review that this would be a good fit. Not so much.
Extremely easy to connect with my android.
The color is nice.
I charged it (full) and thought that was enough to make it mobile. I touched the power button, nothing. I held down the power button, nothing. So I plugged it into the charger and it lit up like it needed to be charged again (I just fully charged it the night before and only used to link it up and get a sample of the sound then turned it off). I was then able to press the power button to turn it on. Within a minute the green light came back on saying it was fully charged. I was able to use it from that point forward. On my way home. Same situation. I decided at that point I am going to return it. And then this morning I wanted to use it again (might as well until I return it) and the power button worked without plugging it in. WTH!!
As for the sound it was ok. I had hoped it would be a little better since this is a Bose but I suppose it's sufficient for some, just not me.
I will be returning this. I hope I get my "extended warranty" back too! Fingers crossed!
1 Stars By Q.C. Stickler on 2015-05-20
"Disposable BOSE" - Battery lasts for about 300 charges, then dies. Disposable e-waste engineering from Bose
You cannot replace the batteries. I was just on the line with Bose technical support. They stated: "This has a 300 charge cycle, then power diminishes."
After a year they will replace it with a re-manufactured unit when you pay to return it to them (with original receipt copy?), and provide $90 for this service.
So, in fact, the battery is not replaceable, and you will need to pay almost the cost of a new unit when the battery starts to wear out in order to "get the battery replaced". Otherwise, it runs plugged in with a weak or dead battery.
Come on BOSE, you are buying into the disposable e-waste engineering with this product, to compete with the other Apples and Dells and Microspots...
Can't you have a little more pride and environmental stewardship than that?