Bose SoundLink Color review: A playful Bluetooth speaker that delivers serious sound for its size

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The Good The relatively affordable Bose SoundLink Color is a compact portable Bluetooth speaker that sounds very good and plays loudly for its size. It delivers up to 8 hours of battery life and charges via micro-USB.

The Bad No speakerphone capabilities.

The Bottom Line The Bose SoundLink Color delivers solid Bluetooth sound in an attractive, portable package.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

As it heads into middle age, Bose, now 50 years old, is starting to break out of its conservative mold.

Take the SoundLink Color, the company's lightest -- and least expensive -- portable Bluetooth speaker ($130, £120 in the UK, and AU$179 in Australia). As you might expect from a speaker called the Color, it comes in an array of palettes. Indeed, Bose seems to be targeting a younger demographic with its more playful design.

I personally like the blue model, but it's also available in black, white, blue, red and mint green. While it's compact, measuring 5.3 inches (13.5 cm) high, 5 inches (12.7 cm) wide, and 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) deep, it's got a little bit of heft to it, weighing 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg). Bose says it's designed "to fit easily into a handbag, knapsack or the palm of your hand," and it seems like it would be right at home in a kid's room or the kitchen.

Alas, no carrying case is included. And while it looks like it could be water-resistant, it isn't rated as such, leaving the audio input and USB ports on the back exposed.

As far as features go, Bose keeps things simple, with a pause/play button on top and volume controls but no speakerphone capabilities. The speaker remembers the last eight devices you've paired it with (complete with little artificial voice prompts when you turn it on), can pair with two devices at once (but only plays sound from one at a time), and gets up to 8 hours of battery life, which is pretty decent for a very compact Bluetooth speaker . I had no problem pairing it and re-pairing with both an iPhone 5S and a Samsung Galaxy S5 .

The SoundLink Color is available in multiple Colors. Bose