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Bose SoundLink Wireless II Review

A great choice if you don't care for active noise cancellation
Bose SoundLink Wireless II
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Price:   $229 List | $229.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great sound, comfortable
Cons:  Noise isolation not on par with other high-end models
Manufacturer:   Bose
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jan 8, 2018
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Sound Quality - 30% 8
  • Noise Isolation - 25% 5
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • User Friendliness - 10% 7
  • Portability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

If you're ok with great rather than exceptional sound and don't require active noise cancellation, the Bose SoundLink Wireless II is a completely viable and significantly cheaper alternative to the flagship models from Bose and Sony. While the SoundLink Wireless II does have slightly weaker bass and lesser noise isolation, that is really their only relative shortcoming (apart from lacking the Google Assistant button of its Bose sibling). If you want the absolute best you'll have to spend top dollar, but if you can stand sacrificing just a little bit of bass and active noise cancellation these headphones can save you quite a bit.

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Price $229 List
$229.00 at Amazon
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Pros Great sound, comfortableGreat sound quality, great noise cancellation, comfortable, user friendly featuresInexpensive, powerful bass, effective active noise cancellation, comfortableGood sound quality, good active noise cancellation, less expensive than competitorsIn inexpensive, reasonably good sound quality, portable
Cons Noise isolation not on par with other high-end modelsExpensive, both sound quality and noise cancellation fall just short of being the best in the fieldLacks some brightness in mid and vocal ranges, headband may be to large for smaller headsNot comfortable for those with larger ears/headsPoor noise isolation, not comfortable for large ears/heads
Bottom Line A great choice if you don't care for active noise cancellationPremium cans that offer unique features on top of great sound quality and noise cancellationImpressively inexpensive given the sound quality, active noise-canceling performance, and comfortAn impressive combination of good quality at a reasonable price that makes for a good valueOffers a decent listening experience for a relatively low price, but certainly doesn't stand out in any aspect
Rating Categories Bose SoundLink Wire... Jabra Elite 85h Soundcore Life Q20 JBL Live 650BTNC Tribit XFree Tune
Sound Quality (30%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Noise Isolation (25%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
User Friendliness (10%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Portability (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Specs Bose SoundLink Wire... Jabra Elite 85h Soundcore Life Q20 JBL Live 650BTNC Tribit XFree Tune
Type Over-ear Over-ear Over-ear Over-ear Over-ear
Noise cancelling No Yes Yes Yes No
Manufacturer reported battery life (hours) 15 36 40 30 40
Measured weight (ounces) 7 10.5 9.3 9.1 10.3
Included case Semi-hard case Semi-hard case Lined drawstring pouch Lined drawstring pouch Semi-hard case
App Yes Yes No Yes No
Earcup padding cover material Micro suede Alcantara Leatherette Leatherette PU Leather Leatherette
Charging cable length (inches) 47" 12" 40" 47" N/A
Microphone for voice? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.2 4.1
Onboard buttons Volume, play/pause, forward/back Volume, play/pause, forward/back, noise cancelling, voice assistant, power/bluetooth, answer/decline/mute calls, toggle between sound modes Volume, multifunction, power, NC Volume, play/pause, forward/back, noise cancelling, voice assistant, power/bluetooth, answer/decline/mute calls Volume, play/pause, forward/back, noise cancelling

Our Analysis and Test Results

The SoundLink Wireless II offers a near-perfect balance of price and performance that provides close to field-leading quality at a less than premium price. If you don't mind having slightly less powerful bass than the best headphones you can buy, these headphones are a great deal.

Performance Comparison


This pair offers great sound quality Bose is known for, and by...
This pair offers great sound quality Bose is known for, and by skipping active noise cancellation, it costs less, too.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Sound Quality


The SoundLink Wireless II was just behind the top-scoring models in our sound quality testing. It has exceptional clarity that is on par with the top-scoring Bose and Sonymodels. Where the SoundLink Wireless II falls short of these models is in the bass department. The bass is still plenty powerful to give rock ballads and hip hop tracks solid backing but is still slightly lacking when compared to the upper tier models. Both the SoundLink Wireless II's clarity and bass are clear steps up from a budget model.

The SoundLink Wireless II provides high quality sound with just a...
The SoundLink Wireless II provides high quality sound with just a hair less bass than the top scoring models.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Noise Isolation


This is the one area where the SoundLink Wireless II does pale in comparison to the top-tier models. This is solely due to their lack of active noise cancellation. Bose does use fairly deep ear cups which block out a fair amount of noise on their own, turning loud conversations into a muffled din. However, that just can't compare to the active noise cancellation models, which adjust to those conversations and almost totally eliminate them.

Comfort


Bose has a corner on comfortable design, and the SoundLink Wireless II is no exception. Bose uses plush, synthetic leather padding and deep earcups on all of their headphones, which makes for a cozy, hot-spot-free fit no matter your ear size.

The SoundLink Wireless ll's comfy ear cups.
The SoundLink Wireless ll's comfy ear cups.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

User Friendliness


The SoundLink Wireless II has simple volume controls and a multifunction button that acts as a play/pause button when pressed once, while multiple presses can skip tracks forward and back. Bose also includes an app that lets you adjust EQ settings for the headphones.

Portability


The SoundLink Wireless II is lightweight, weighing only 7 ounces, making them noticeably less heavy when worn throughout the day. A nice, semi-hard travel case is included, too. However, they don't fold down quite as small as other models, thus they missed a top score in this metric.

A nice, convenient travel case.
A nice, convenient travel case.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Value


The SoundLink Wireless II's value largely depends on whether you like active noise cancellation. The price is fair considering the sound quality these headphones are capable of. However, if you want active noise cancellation, you're going to get a better overall value by spending more on the flagship model from Bose.

Conclusion


If you don't need active noise cancellation and just want great sound quality, the Bose SoundLink Wireless II is a great pair of headphones. However, if you're willing to spend this much on headphones, many users may want to spend a bit more to get active noise cancellation to pair with that exceptional sound.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata