Bose SoundLink Mini Review

Updated February 28, 2014
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Bose SoundLink Mini
Bottom Line

We didn't find a single reviewer who wasn't impressed with the Bose SoundLink Mini. Both professionals and users say it produces amazingly good sound for its tiny size; some even think it's superior to many full-sized wireless speakers. However, it lacks many of the features you'll find on bigger speakers, like a speakerphone and auxiliary input. Its battery life is pretty good, but only half that of some larger competitors.

Performance

Amazing sound for the size. Reviewers consistently agree that the Mini produces far better sound than you could expect from such a tiny speaker. A few of them note that the speaker is somewhat constrained by its size, so it can't produce as loud or as full a sound. Users are impressed at how much bass this little speaker can put out, but professional reviewers often note that the bass seems a little "boomy" or undefined. The battery can run for up to seven hours on a charge -- better than many competitors, but only half as long as the larger Bose SoundLink III (Est. $300) and Jawbone Big Jambox (Est. $250) .

ProsGreat sound for its size, Very compact, Sturdy buildConsShort on features, So-so battery life

Ease of use

Keeps it simple. The SoundLink Mini doesn't include many bells and whistles. Many users, for instance, are disappointed that a speaker with such good sound quality can't function as a speakerphone. It also doesn't have a remote control or a USB charger (the micro-USB cable is for firmware updates only). It does include a handy charging cradle, however, which owners find more convenient than a plug. On the plus side, reviewers generally say that setup and pairing are a breeze with this speaker, and the onboard controls are intuitive.

Design

Small but sturdy. The Mini lives up to its name, measuring just 7 inches across and weighing in at 1.5 pounds. PCMag.com says it resembles a sleeker version of a 1960s radio, clad in a full aluminum case with a neat row of rubber buttons on top. Despite its small size, most reviewers say the Mini manages to be elegant and surprisingly sturdy at the same time. However, many reviewers, professionals as well as users, lament the lack of a carrying case. Bose offers one, but it adds $45 to the cost of an already pricey compact speaker.

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Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

Bose SoundLink Mini, Will Greenwald, July 10, 2013

The Bose SoundLink Mini is an Editors' Choice at PCMag.com, with 4 stars out of a possible 5. Greenwald praises its "room-filling sound," sturdy construction and handy charging cradle, but he says the speaker's light on the bass and lacks a speakerphone function.

2. CNET

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker Review: The Wireless Speaker Apple Could Have Made, David Carnoy, July 15, 2013

The Bose SoundLink Mini earns 4 stars out of a possible 5 at CNET. Editors love its sleek, sturdy and compact design, and they say the sound is very good for the size. However, it's pricey and doesn't include a speakerphone feature or a carrying case.

3. DigitalTrends.com

Bose SoundLink Mini Review, Ryan Waniata, Oct. 3, 2013

Digital Trends awards 4 stars out of 5 to the Bose SoundLink Mini, which it describes as "an attractive, minimalist speaker with a rich and potent sound signature." Waniata says it's light on features and occasionally too heavy on the bass, but overall a success.

4. ConsumerReports.org

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Speaker Systems, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, January 2014

ConsumerReports.org tests over 40 wireless and Bluetooth speakers, including the Bose SoundLink Mini. Each speaker is evaluated for sound quality, ease of use and features. The Mini is one of the smallest speakers in the "portable" category.

5. Which? magazine

MP3 Speaker Dock Reviews, Editors of Which? magazine, As of March 2014

Which? magazine, a British counterpart to ConsumerReports.org, examines 44 speaker docks, including the Bose SoundLink Mini, putting them through a rigorous series of tests. A panel of listeners rates the sound performance on seven different pieces of music, and testers evaluate features and ease of use.

6. Laptop Magazine

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker Review, Mike Kobrin, Sept. 6, 2013

The Bose SoundLink Mini is an Editors' Choice at Laptop magazine, which says it has the "best sound in its class and beyond." Despite its lack of features, the editors consider it the best compact Bluetooth speaker on the market.

7. TheWirecutter.com

The Best Home Bluetooth Speaker, Alexander George, Aug. 12, 2013

The Wirecutter calls the Bose SoundLink Mini "perhaps the most interesting competitor" to the Sony SRS-BTX500, its pick for the best home Bluetooth speaker. George says it delivers great sound for its size, but it can't really compare to full-sized speakers like the Sony, and it's short on features.

8. Amazon.com

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014

The Bose SoundLink Mini earns a perfect 5-star overall rating from more than 1,500 owners at Amazon.com. Users praise its sturdy yet compact size and its sound quality, saying it has superb bass for such a small speaker. There are a few complaints about lack of features, though.

9. Crutchfield.com

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker Review, Contributors to Crutchfield.com, As of March 2014

About 100 owners at Crutchfield.com give the Bose SoundLink Mini a perfect overall rating. Owners praise its sound, compactness, smooth pairing and ease of use. Their only complaints are minor quibbles, such as the lack of a case or a speakerphone feature.

10. BestBuy.com

Bose - SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of March 2014

We found more than 135 reviews for the Bose SoundLink Mini at BestBuy.com. The speaker earns an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, and 96 percent of users say they would recommend it. Owners praise its sound quality, compact size and ease of use.