Hands-on Gear Review

Bose SoundLink Wireless II Review

Price:   $280 List | $229.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great sound, comfortable
Cons:  Noise isolation not on par with other high-end models
Bottom line:  A great choice if you don’t care for active noise cancellation
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Noise Cancelling:  No
Manufcturer Reported Battery Life (hours):  15
Weight (ounces):  7
Manufacturer:   Bose

Our Verdict

If you're ok with great rather than exceptional sound, and don't have the need for active noise cancellation, the Bose SoundLink Wireless II is a completely viable and significantly cheaper alternative to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or the Sony WH1000XM2. While the SoundLink Wireless II does have slightly weaker bass and lesser noise isolation than the other two models we just mentioned, 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 close to $100.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Sunday
January 7, 2018

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The Bose 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


The Bose SoundLink Wireless II combines great sound and comfort, which earned it a fairly high place on our overall scoreboard (above). To find out how these headphones performed in each of our individual, scrupulous tests, read on below.

Sound Quality


The Bose SoundLink Wireless II was just behind the top scoring models in our sound quality testing, garnering a score of 8 out of 10. It has exceptional clarity that is on par with both the top scoring Bose QuietComfort 35 II and the Sony WH1000XM2. Where the SoundLink Wireless II falls short of theses 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 like the TaoTronics TT-BH22US.

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

Noise Isolation


This is the one area where the Bose SoundLink Wireless II does really pale in comparison to the top tier models, scoring just a 5 out of 10. 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 can those conversations and almost totally eliminate them.

Comfort


Bose has a corner on comfortable design, and the SoundLink Wireless II is no exception, sharing the top score of 9 out of 10 in this metric. 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. We felt the SoundLink Wireless II headphone were significantly more comfortable than the Sony WH1000XM2, which can be bothersome for people with larger ears.

The SoundLink Wireless ll's comfy ear cups.
The SoundLink Wireless ll's comfy ear cups.

User Friendliness


The SoundLink Wireless II earned a slightly above average score of 7 out of 10 in our ease of use testing. It 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. It got a slightly lower score than its sibling, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, because it lacks a dedicated Google Assistant button.

Portability


The SoundLink Wireless II again earned an above average score of 7 out of 10 in this metric. This is due to its lightweight of only 7 ounces and the fact that a nice, semi-hard travel case is included, However, they don't fold down quite as small as other models, including the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, so it missed out on a top score in this metric.

A nice  convenient travel case.
A nice, convenient travel case.

Value


The Bose SoundLink Wireless II's value largely depends on whether you like active noise cancellation, and what the Sony WH1000XM2 is currently selling for. The SoundLink Wireless II lists for $280, but often sells more in the ballpark of $200. This is a great price considering the sound quality the headphones are capable of. However, if you want active noise cancellation and top quality sound, you're going to get a better overall value by spending more on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or the Sony WH1000XM2. The Sony headphones tend to fluctuate in price, sometimes reaching within $50 of what the SoundLink Wireless II sells for, so you might want to check in on their price before you commit to the SoundLink Wireless II.

Conclusion


If you don't need active noise cancellation and just want great sound quality, the 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

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