Blind Bargains

Quick Take: Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker with TTS is a Worthy Successor

I've been a happy owner of the Bose SoundLink Mini, a powerful Bluetooth speaker that's small in stature. So when I learned that its successor, the SoundLink Mini II, included text-to-speech and a speakerphone, I figured it would be worth the upgrade. And for the most point, I'm not disappointed in my decision.

For those unfamiliar with the SoundLink Mini line, these semi-rugged speakers are about 7 inches long by about 2 inches wide and high, or slightly larger than the size of the original Jawbone Jambox. The Mini and Mini II are, in fact, virtually identical in appearance, meaning if you're upgrading, your original case will likely fit the newer model.

Also basically identical to the original SoundLink Mini is the sound and volume of the speaker. The volume is considerably louder than the Jambox, and one of the loudest speakers available in its size class. It includes a decent amount of bass and can easily provide music or sound for a small meeting room, hotel room, or deck.

Bose has improved on the design of the original however with some notable improvements. The speaker includes text-to-speech support, making the pairing and connecting process much simpler. I have my device paired to 3 devices at once, and a button on the speaker allows me to switch between them while announcing the current device that is paired by name. The TTS is also used to speak the current battery status, expressed in intervals of 10 percent.

Speaking of the battery, this element has also been vastly improved. At half volume, I listened to music for more than 6 hours while only draining the battery to 70 percent in the process. The speaker now uses industry-standard Micro USB for charging as opposed to the proprietary power cord used on the original model.

Another major improvement in this model is the inclusion of a microphone, which allows it to be used as a speakerphone. This also means that voice dialing and Siri support are included on the unit, the latter activated by holding down the play/pause button for a couple of seconds. Strangely, Google's Voice Search function does not seem to work in the same manner when tested on a Samsung Galaxy S5.

The SoundLink Mini II supports Bluetooth 4.0, meaning the volume buttons on the speaker will also directly control the volume of the device for those that support it, including the latest iPhones and Android devices. Older speakers require the user to adjust the volume of the speaker and device separately.

While it's now possible to skip to the next track by pressing the play/pause button twice and rewind by pressing it three times, I still would prefer dedicated buttons for these tasks. But the basic player controls that are included are still better than nothing.

The SoundLink Mini II sells for $199 from Amazon and is available in two colors: carbon and pearl. That's the same price as the original, which now sells for $179. Given the TTS support, speaker phone, and improved charging port, I'm hard-pressed to find a reason to recommend the original. Often, Bose speakers are overpriced for the features they include, but the SoundLink Mini II is an excellent value in its class and maintains its status as one of the best.

Category: Articles
Displaying 2 comments.
darknexus Thursday, 06-Aug-2015 4:23 PM ET:

Regarding Google's voice search, make sure Samsung hasn't messed with your button settings. They do quite a few proprietary and nonstandard stuff with regard to speaker and headset button mappings, and it can cause some real headaches. Would be interested in how it fairs with a Nexus or other device with an Android closer to standard. The speaker I have, an Anker A7908, isn't nearly as high-end but the voice search function works without a hitch on my 2nd generation Moto G.

j1armstrong Monday, 17-Aug-2015 02:02 AM ET:

I finally saw one of the bose at the local Target and was impressed by the small size to large sound ratio.

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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