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Bose's New SoundLink Max Bluetooth Speaker Will Ship May 16 and Cost $399

The jumbo version of Bose's excellent SoundLink Flex speaker is available for preorder.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read

The SoundLink Max ships on May 16 and costs $399.


A few weeks ago, CNET was the first to report that Bose was on the verge of releasing the SoundLink Max, a larger version of its popular SoundLink Flex Bluetooth portable speaker. Well, now the company has announced that the SoundLink Max is available for preorder for $399 and will ship on May 16.

Available in black or blue dusk, the SoundLink Max weighs in at 4.7 pounds (2.3kg) and is 10.42 inches wide by 4.73 inches high by 4.13 inches deep (the measurement I previously posted for its height was inaccurate). It has Bluetooth 5.3, is rated for up to 20 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels and is IP67 waterproof and dust-resistant as well as shock-resistant.

By comparison, the SoundLink Flex is 7.93 inches wide by 3.56 inches high and 2.06 inches deep and weighs 1.3 pounds (0.59kg), so the SoundLink Max is considerably bigger and heftier. 

Read moreBest Bluetooth Speakers of 2024 

The Bose SoundLink Max comes in blue and black
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The Bose SoundLink Max comes in blue and black

The Bose SoundLink Max weighs considerably more than the SoundLink Flex.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

I haven't tried the speaker yet, but it should sound very good for its size. Bose says the SoundLink Max leverages a Bose Articulated Array with three transducers across the front of the speaker to "deliver a spacious stereo experience that goes beyond the speaker itself." Meanwhile, two custom-designed passive radiators provide "a level of bass performance that also defies the speaker size."

As you can see from the photos, the speaker has a removable rope handle. Bose says that you can purchase an optional rope carrying strap and the rope handle comes in other colors that will also be available for purchase to "customize the speaker's look." I'll add pricing for those accessories as soon as I get them.

Additional specs listed include a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a USB-C port both to charge the speaker and charge external devices like your smartphone. On top of those, the SoundLink Max has EQ settings via the Bose Music app and is compatible with Bose SimpleSync so you can create a multiroom audio experience with any SimpleSync-compatible Bose smart speakers and soundbars you might already own.

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The rope handle is removable.

Tanguay/Screenshot by CNET

Bose also notes that the speaker is equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sound. That means that in addition to supporting the AAC and SBC audio codecs, it also supports Qualcomm's AptX Adaptive audio codec. Certain premium Android devices support Snapdragon Sound, although popular Android smartphones from Samsung and Google do not support AptX Adaptive (like iPhones, they support Bluetooth playback using the AAC audio codec). 

The SoundLink Max's $399 list price is higher than I thought it would be and seems quite steep. While the SoundLink Flex lists for $149, it's frequently discounted to $130 and sometimes less, making it a very good value, because it sounds so impressive for its compact size. (That's why we gave it CNET Editors' Choice award back in 2021.) At first glance, the SoundLink Max appeared to be about twice the size of the Flex so I thought the Max would land at $299. I suspect that we'll see it for closer to that price when it, too, inevitably gets discounted.

I'll have a full review of the SoundLink Max around the time it ships on May 16.