Design Reviews Tech

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is a Paragon of Design

"There's very little room for complaint with the Bose SoundLink Mini 2."
By Ankur Borwankar

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Price – 8/10 (₹ 16,200)

Sound Quality – 9/10 (by portable audio standards)

Build Quality – 9/10

Pros

  • Tremendous clarity, deep bass, and overall amazing sound
  • Dedicated back-firing bass radiator
  • LOUD
  • Elegant looks, solid build, durable
  • Long-lasting battery (8 hrs at normal volume)
  • Charging dock included, also charges through standard micro-USB
  • Super-fast bluetooth, remembers 8 devices
  • Inbuilt microphone for phone calls

Cons

  • Expensive. Available for $200 in USA (roughly ₹ 12,500)
  • Portable but heavy, weighs 667 gms
  • White “pearl” colour speaker gets dirty quicker than black “carbon” version

In The Box

  • SoundLink Mini 2
  • Charging dock and USB to micro-USB cable for dock
  • Charging plugs
  • Manuals

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The Review

The Bose Soundlink Mini 2 is an expensive speaker and requires some thought before committing almost 20k for a noise-machine. It is necessary to state at the onset that this is a portable speaker and should only be compared to other portable speakers. If you are looking for a good stereo system for your room or home then you should be looking at other speakers. Don’t expect this to replace your home theatre or be anywhere near that kickass surround sound Bose system in your Audi.

That being said, the updated Mini 2 is incredible. The sound, the smooth aluminium finish all over, the uber-simple design; this device is a work of art.

Not much difference in sound between the new and old versions. The cover of the first SoundLink Mini will fit the new version as well. If you want a more portable, water-proof speaker that sounds great for 11k, take a look at the Bose SoundLink Colour 2.


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Sound & Performance

This speaker hits all the right spots. The sound is wide and the bass is rich. The front-firing speakers deal out intense thump and the passive bass radiator reproduces sub-bass incredibly well. We did a frequency test, and you can hear it struggle at frequencies below 60 Hz, but everything until that point is deep and authentic.

The passive bass radiator also projects sound backwards. So if you place the speaker in a corner, it naturally amplifies the bass response. This is an easy way to boost performance in big rooms.

At about 80% volume it starts to limit the bass. At full volume, the treble and mids significantly overpower the bass you come to expect from the speaker. It does not distort, tear, or vibrate even at full volume, which is remarkable. But 50% volume is more than enough to fill a bedroom or normal sized hall.

You can play pretty much any genre and expect great sound. Beatles and Dire Straits sound perfect, as well as rock artists like Massive Attack and chillwave bands like The xx. In our experience, all Bose devices they play Blues and Jazz really well, and this speaker is no exception. Put on Miles Davis and it feel like he’s playing the trumpet live.


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Bose SoundLink Mini 2 and Charging Dock

We also noticed on this speaker that acoustic guitars stand out. Tracks from solo guitarists like Andy Mckee or Mike Dawes will not leave you disappointed. Just remember to use 320 kbps bitrate or higher.

When answering calls, the microphone works fine if you are close to the speaker. If you are more than 10 feet away, the other person cannot hear you.

Bose SoundLink Mini 2 vs. Creative SoundBlaster Roar

The main competition to this speaker in price and performance is the Creative SoundBlaster Roar. Even though we have always been Creative fans, the Bose is better for 3 reasons:

  • It sounds amazing. The 4 speakers inside the Bose are clearer and better balanced than the 5.1 speakers inside SoundBlaster Roar.
  • It is much more portable, at half the weight and much smaller size.
  • It has lesser features (no micro-SD slot, no USB port) but overall much simpler controls. Just 5 buttons.

After extensive testing, we believe the SoundLink Mini 2 could be the best choice for portable speakers under 20k.


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Creative SoundBlaster Road vs. Bose SoundLink Mini 2

Battery

We got about 10 hrs of continuous playback on one full charge while connected through bluetooth, at about 60% volume. And it takes 90 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%, all while playing music. Every time you turn the speaker on, the voice prompt will tell you the battery percentage in 10% increments.

The light above the power button is also a battery indicator. It is green (80-100%), orange (20-79%) and blinking red (0-19%) according to battery status.

Design & Features

Bose has done a solid job in this department. The first SoundLink Mini was perfect in terms of design and very little has changed. The dock is the same, but a standard micro-USB port has been added and Bose says the battery life has gone up from 8 hrs to 10 hrs.

The speaker is sturdy and practical, made almost entirely out of brushed aluminium. The front and back are heavy-duty metal grills. As a result, the speaker is heavy but still very portable. Not something to take hiking or on a picnic like the Bose SoundLink Colour 2. but you can comfortably take it along for a house party or star-gazing on the roof.

There is a grey rubber pad on the bottom of the speaker for grip, and a corresponding notches on the speaker and dock that keep the speaker in the right charging position. It’s probably best to leave it sitting in the dock.

On top there are 5 buttons: Power, Bluetooth, Volume Up/Down, and a multi-function key in the centre. The multifunction key will play/pause the music player when connected via bluetooth, and will only mute the speaker when connected via aux. Double-tapping the key will skip to the next track, but there is no way to rewind. The speaker automatically switches to aux input when you plug in a cable so there is no dedicated aux button.


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Buttons L to R: Power, Volume -, Menu, Volume +, Bluetooth

 


The bluetooth has good range around walls and remembers 8 devices — whether Android, iOS, laptop or desktop — and connects upto 2 devices at once. Hold the bluetooth button for 3 seconds to pair a new device, but only one device will play at a time. There are voice prompts to alert you when searching for a device to pair, when connected and disconnected to a device, and when battery is low. Every time you turn the speaker on, the voice prompt will also tell you the battery percentage in 10% increments.

A single light above the power button indicates battery status once when you turn it on, and blinks orange when charging. A light above the bluetooth button indicates whether the current input is bluetooth or aux. On the side there is an aux port and a standard micro-USB charging port.

The speaker will power off automatically when not used for 20 minutes.

Issues

In all our tests, we had only a few gripes with the Bose SoundLink Mini 2:

  • The buttons should be backlit. This would make night-time operations much easier, but would also consume more battery.
  • It should be priced at ₹13,000. The speaker retails at one-and-a-half times the price in India as compared to Amazon USA ($200).
  • The original Bose carrying case should be included in the box, but this is not such a big deal.

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Minimal Design, Maximum Sound

Verdict

There’s very little room for complaint with the Bose SoundLink Mini 2. The speaker has extraordinary sound, is fairly portable, lasts many hours, and feels sexy. If your budget is upto 20k, this is the speaker for you.

Bose SoundLink Mini 2

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The author, Ankur Borwankar, is the Chief Editor of Indus Dictum.
To follow Ankur on Linkedin, visit his profile.

Tweet at Ankur: @ankurborwankar



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