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Hands-on Gear Review
Bose SoundLink Micro ReviewPrice: $110 List | $99.00 at Amazon
Pros: Good sound quality, Completely waterproof, lightweight and portable
Cons: Short battery life
Bottom line: Great sound for a small speaker, but the short battery life feels limiting in something so portable
Inputs: 3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port
Reported Weight: 10.2 oz
The Bose SoundLink Micro is just about the most portable speaker on the market right now. It weighs only 10.2 ounces, has a slim profile and is totally waterproof. The sound is also quite impressive for a such a small device, with powerful bass and crisp treble that creates a full bodied sound that is better than many larger speakers. The one big drawback, however, is its battery life. In our testing it lasted only 5 hours, which feel somewhat limiting for a speaker that is clearly designed for adventures further afield. Though it doesn't sound quite as good as the SounLink Micro, the UE Roll 2's battery lasted a full 14 hours in our testing, and is thus our top pick if you're looking for something portable.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Bose SoundLink Micro is the best sounding of the smaller, sub 1 pound speakers that we tested. However, it only lasted 5 hours in our battery life testing, which we found limiting for a speaker that you can take with you anywhere.
The Bose SoundLink Microwas a fairly good all-around performer in our testing, with the exception of battery life, and thus earned a reasonably high overall score (as you can see in the table above). Below we describe the SoundLink Micro's performance in all of the different tests we use to find the best Bluetooth speakers.
The Bose SoundLink Micro sounds incredible for a speaker that is so small. It earned an above average score of 7 out of 10 in our sound quality testing. It produced enough bass power to make heavier music sound pleasantly thumpy, and was crisp enough that even complex melodies sounded clear and well defined. Only much larger speakers were able to produce a better, more well rounded sound in our testing.
For comparison, the UE Roll 2 earned a 6 out of 10 in this metric. ITs bass was just a bit weaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro's, and it often sounded a bit tinny at higher volumes, a problem not shared by the SoundLink Micro. However, we feel these slight sound quality trade-offs are worth the extended battery life.
The Bose SoundLink Micro earned a perfect score of 10 out of 10 in this metric, a feat shared only by the UE Roll 2. The SoundLink Micro weighs only 10.2 ounces and is IPX7 waterproof, so it can handle full submersion. It also has a rubber strap on the back that allows you to connect it to backpack straps or bike handlebars. This strap didn't feel quite as secure as the one on the UE Roll 2, but we never had any issues with it coming loose. The Roll 2 is also slightly heavier at 11.8 ounces, and is also fully waterproof.
The Bose SoundLink Micro earned an average score of 6 out of 10 in our volume testing. It is able to get fairly loud, plenty to fill a large bedroom, but it's not loud enough to power a dance party in a large apartment. When outside the Bose SoundLink Micro is plenty loud enough for personal listening and for a group of friends hanging out on the beach, but if there's a lot of ambient noise it can get drowned out. The Bose SoundLink Micro's main competitor, the UE Roll 2, turned in an almost identical performance in our volume testing.
This is the big caveat in an otherwise excellent speaker. The Bose SoundLink Micro lasted just 5 hours in our battery life testing, putting it towards the bottom of the scoreboard and earning it only a 2 out of 10. 5 hours can slip by quickly if you're taking advantage of this speakers portability and bringing it along on long trips and adventures. The UE Roll 2 lasted nearly three times as long (14 hours) in our testing, which feels like a much more usable amount of bettery life for a small, portbale speaker. For this reason we gave the Roll 2 out Top Pick for Portability award over the SoundLink Micro.
The Bose SoundLink Micro lists for $110, which is $10 more than the list price of its main competitor, the UE Roll 2. We feel that both of these speakers are good values, you just have to decide whther you prefer long battery life and slightly lesser sound quality in the Roll 2, or if you don't mind frequently recharging the better sounding SoundLink Micro.
The Bose SoundLink Micro is a great little speaker, but some may find its short battery life of 5 hours somewhat limiting. The UE Roll 2 is just as portable and lasted 14 hours in our battery life test, but its soud quality is slightly inferior.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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