Bose SoundLink Color Review: Low Volume & High Price

Bose SoundLink Color Review: Low Volume & High Price

After a month-long trial, I determined Bose SoundLink Color II sounds good but it doesn’t have adequate volume and isn’t worth its price.

Sound: C+

  • SoundLink Color II sounds good relative to other portable speakers on the market, but most people will want more bass than it provides.
  • It has dual 40mm drivers.
  • Sometimes it sounds like there’s something covering the SoundLink Color II speaker because it sounds so boring and flat.
  • SoundLink Color II stays well balanced at higher volumes.
  • The disadvantage is its volume. For reference, SoundLink Color II at 85% volume, is the equivalent of Charge 4 at 40% volume. SoundLink doesn’t deliver enough volume to warrant $130.
  • For reference, it sounds better than UE Boom 3, but I prefer JBL Flip 4’s sound.
  • If you want to stick with Bose, you’re better off going with SoundLink Micro because it’s half the size, more durable, less money, while sounding similar with a little less bass and power.

Design: F

  • It weighs 1.2 pounds and is 5.25 inches tall.
  • It comes in Aquatic Blue, Coral Red, Polar White, and Soft Black.
  • It’s ugly and has a funky shape. This speaker isn’t aesthetically pleasing for some reason I can’t put my finger on. It has a wrapped silicone casing that feels cheesy. The casing is similar to what’s on Bose SoundLink Micro, but for some reason, I didn’t mind the material on a smaller version.
  • There’s no way to see the battery life on the device via LED light, a voice readout, or even in the app. When you turn on the device, the robot reads out “high,” “medium,” or “low.” While the app either shows a battery percentage of 100% or 40%. That’s a big difference and it’s usually stuck at 40% for hours. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s frustrating.
  • There’s a 3.5mm port for external audio devices without Bluetooth (like iPods).
  • There’s a “multi-function button.” One tap will play/pause, two taps skip the song, while a press and hold activate your phone’s voice assistant (there’s a mic for listening).

Durability: C

  • Only water-resistant but not waterproof. This means it can withstand a splash, but if you drop it in the water, your speaker is probably toast.
  • It can withstand drops.

Power: B

  • The listed playback time for Bose SoundLink Color II is eight hours and three hours to recharge. My real world tests:
  • 9 hours with 60% volume.
  • 4 hours with 85% volume.
  • You can recharge it with its exposed micro USB port.

Software: B

  • Party Mode lets you pair multiple SoundLink speakers. Pairing works well as long as one of the Bose speakers isn’t connected to two phones simultaneously.
  • You can change the auto-standby timer.
  • Two devices connected simultaneously with eight devices paired in total. In the Bose app, you can manage each device.
  • The speaker firmware is updated frequently, but these updates take forever and fail often.

Which is best for you?

Get Bose SoundLink Color II if you want to pay a premium price for an indoor-only speaker to play at low volumes. If you’re cool with a low volume and only plan to use it for personal listening, it’s not a bad speaker but not worth its price.

Get Bose SoundLink Micro for $30 less. It makes more sense because of its better durability, price, and amazing form.