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CNET First Look
Bose SoundLink Mini II: Top Bluetooth speaker adds featuresThe $200 SoundLink Mini II has been updated with speakerphone capabilities, USB charging and better battery life.
Bose's $200 SoundLink Mini was one of the best portable bluetooth speakers, but it did have a few small shortcomings. Now Bose has addressed them in the SoundLink Mini II, which comes in two colors, carbon and pearl, and costs the same $200. Hi, I'm David Carnoy from cnet.com, and this new 1.5 pound model looks nearly identical to the original SoundLink Mini, but it now has a built in microphone for speakerphone capabilities. Another improvement is its ten hour battery rating, up from seven hours in the previous model. The other important changes is that it now charges via a standard USB cable rather than a proprietary AC adapter. You can charge it with most USB sources and the speaker also ships with a charging cradle that also uses standard USB cord. The speaker which has a wireless range of around 30 feet, allows you to pair two devices to it at the same time. You can switch back and forth between the devices, alternating audio streams. And it can remember up to eight devices. Bose has also streamlined the pairing process with new voice prompts. And the speaker identifies your devices by name using Text to Speech. Connected to David's iPhone 3. As far as I can tell, the sound hasn't changed, the original Soundlink Mini was able to produce impressive sound for its tiny size, and this model does as well. It just plays a lot bigger than it looks. With a decent amount of bass and relatively clean natural sound. Like with all these small bluetooth speakers, you don't get any stereo separation. And when you throw complicated music at it or music with a lot of bass, the speaker compensates by restraining the volume a little and clipping certain frequencies so the speaker doesn't distort. In other words it has its limitations. That caveat aside, it is ideal for small rooms and is clearly one of the best compact wireless speakers with an excellent design, strong sound and improved feature set and battery life. The more rugged UE Boom and Sony's SRS X33 and SRS X55 are other top notch Bluetooth speakers in this size and price class And it's hard to wrong with a sound like mini two. I'm David Carnoy thanks for watching. [MUSIC]