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Product Spotlight: Bose's SoundLink Mini: the little speaker that plays big
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Product Spotlight: Bose's SoundLink Mini: the little speaker that plays big

2:57 /

There are plenty of compact wireless Bluetooth speaker options, but the SoundLink Mini stands out for its stellar design and impressive sound for its size.

Hi, I'm David Carnoy, and I'm here with Bose's ultra-compact, wireless Bluetooth speaker, the SoundLink Mini, which retails for $199.99. The first thing you notice about this speaker is that it's got a sleek design and almost looks like it was built by Apple, with a unibody aluminum enclosure that surrounds 2 small drivers and front and rear passive radiators. At 1.5 pounds, the Mini isn't as diminutive as some of the tiny Bluetooth speakers now on the market. But its metal housing gives it considerably more substance than most of its plastic competitors, and if nothing else, this thing feels like something that's worth $200. The Mini is designed to be very simple to use with clearly labeled buttons on the top. Like all Bluetooth speakers, it will stream audio wirelessly from virtually any Smart phone or tablet, plus any Bluetooth-enabled PC or audio player. The speaker remembers up to 6 devices, so you'll only need to pair it once. I like that the unit comes with a desktop charging cradle. You can also plug the included AC adaptor directly into the unit, so you don't have to take the cradle with you when you travel. However, it does not charge via USB, so you do need the AC adaptor. As for battery life, Bose claims 7 hours of play time and a 3-hour recharge time, while the cradle has a nice extra everything else will cost you. Bose is selling protective bumper sleeves that are nice, but they do cost a whopping $25 each, and a carrying case will set you back $45. In terms of connectivity, there's an auxiliary input on the side for non-Bluetooth devices, as well as a micro USB port on the back for a potential firmware upgrades. Like Bose's step up sound like Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II, there's no integrated speakerphone, which is too bad. It's a feature that not everyone uses but it's still good to have onboard. How does the Mini sound? Well, while it just can't deliver the performance of a large speaker for what it is and its tiny size, it sounds impressive. Overall, the sound signature is somewhat laidback and forgiving, so it's got a bit of a creamier sound. The base goes pretty deep, but it doesn't sound incredibly tight or punchy. All in all, however, you come away with a sense that Bose eked out about as much as it could from a speaker this size. In this prize range, I'm also a fan of the UE Boom, which has a bit bigger sound, better battery life, and a built in speakerphone, is water-resistant and better suited for outdoor use. However the Mini's combination of a topnotch design and respectable sound in such a compact package, they got a standout product in a crowded field of highly portable Bluetooth speakers. Yeah, it's somewhat pricey but I think most people will feel they've got their money's worth, will be quite happy to receive this as a gift. I'm David Carnoy, and that's the Bose's SoundLink Mini. Thanks for watching.

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