Stylish, with plenty of bass, but more expensive than more capable alternatives
You know portable Bluetooth speakers have become mainstream when big names such as Bose get in on the action. The Bose SoundLink Mini is about half the size of a brick, and surprisingly weighty. Its brushed aluminium finish looks brilliant and even feels great when you run your fingers across it. At the top of the speaker is a bank of controls: power, mute, volume, Bluetooth pairing mode and an auxiliary input switch. The 3.5mm stereo input is on the right-hand side of the speaker, just above a power connector. At the bottom of the speaker is a USB port, but this is just for firmware updates.
As well as a charging port, the SoundLink Mini also has a charging cradle. Drop the speaker into place on the cradle, and it’ll be charged through the contacts on its base. This means that you can just pick the speaker up and take it around the house without having to worry about unplugging anything. We were surprised to find that this relatively expensive speaker supports neither NFC pairing nor the high-quality aptX Bluetooth audio codec.
The SoundLink Mini’s speaker configuration is similar to that of most compact stereo Bluetooth speakers; there are two speaker drivers and a passive bass radiator that helps to round out the sound’s low end. The SoundLink Mini has by far the most powerful bass we’ve heard from a portable speaker.
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