Not quite the consummate packet, but the SoundLink Flex might just take what it takes to satisfy your priorities…
- Sonic scale and conviction to spare
- Impressively hardy build and finish
- Good bombardment life
- Loses some composure at volume
- ‘Just’ Bluetooth four.2
- No EQ aligning
Born microphone lets you accept calls when connected to a phone
Bose Connect app
Personalise settings, pair multiple speakers, update firmware
The days when being a ‘big’ brand with a ‘big’ reputation was all that was required to dominate a item section of the consumer electronics market place are, happily, over.
And then information technology doesn’t matter that profiles don’t come much college than that of Bose. If the company’due south latest portable Bluetooth speaker is going to make an impression, it’due south going to take to do a bit more than but testify up with a big ‘Bose’ logo on its face.
Admittedly, Bose has never struck me as a company happy to residue on its accolade. But when you consider just how many very decent portable Bluetooth speakers are available at this sort of coin (Sonos, Sony, JBL and Ultimate Ears – to proper noun just a few – all want to part you from your greenbacks) it becomes obvious the SoundLink Flex has its piece of work cut out. Does it take what it takes to turn your caput? Or, even more than importantly, your ears?
The Bose SoundLink Flex is on sale now, and in the UK you should wait to pay very almost £150. Customers in the United states will be asked for around $149, while in Australia information technology’s priced up at AU$199 or something very like it.
As already mentioned, this pitches the Flex into quite a considerable chip. As well as the increasingly ubiquitous Sonos Roam, this sort of money buys very amusing alternatives from the likes of Ultimate Ears and JBL. This is no walk in the park for Bose, in other words, no matter how portable its speaker is.
- IP67 water and dust resistance
- Multiple orientations
- Iii finishes
If you want your Bluetooth speaker to exist truly portable, then ‘design’ is a large role of the deal. Bose seems to understand this, happily, so the SoundLink Flex is a tidy ix ten 20 x 5cm and a flyweight 600g. Add in its robust, hard-wearing soft silicone finish with pulverization-coated steel grille (fitted so snugly the Flex has an IP67 rating confronting moisture or grit intrusion) and the Bose has ‘portability’ pretty much covered.
Bose has fitted the SoundLink Flex with its ‘PositionIQ’ technology (which is ‘accelerometers’ to anyone who doesn’t work in the marketing department), and then that it knows its orientation and can conform its EQs accordingly. The chassis features little moulded feet to allow the Flex to stand in the ‘landscape’ position or lie flat on its dorsum, while there’s a hefty fabric loop at one end to allow it to hang off a carabiner, a hook or what-have-you.
The Flex is yours in a option of finishes. Likewise equally the ‘stone’ blue of this review sample, ‘smoke’ white and obviously old black are available.
- Bluetooth 4.2
- App, voice and physical controls
- 12 hours of battery life
Bose plays its cards mighty shut to its chest sometimes, and where certain aspects of the SoundLink Flex’due south specification are concerned the company’southward poker face is unwavering.
Yes, the battery is practiced for twelve hours of playback (equally long every bit you lot’re circumspect with the volume level). Aye, the Flex will get from ‘apartment’ to ‘full’ after a couple of hours attached to the mains via its USB-C input. But power? It’due south a hush-hush – every bit is the type of amplification the Flex uses, although I reckon Class D is a pretty condom bet. DAC details? None are forthcoming – and although Bluetooth iv.two connectivity proves acceptable when getting some high-ish resolution digital audio files on board, the DAC within the Flex tin’t bargain natively with a total-fat 24bit/192kHz file and must downscale.
What’southward certain is that there is a single total-range dynamic commuter inside the Flex – although its size and the material from which it is fabricated is unknown (past me, at least). There are also a couple of ‘racetrack’ passive radiators offer some depression-frequency reinforcement – merely as to their size, well… yous’re way ahead of me, aren’t you?
All of these secret ingredients tin can be operated using Google Banana or Siri voice command. There is a fairly brief suite of physical controls on the SoundLink Flex’south chassis, too – and so ‘power on/off’, ‘Bluetooth pairing’, ‘play/suspension’ and ‘skip forwards/backwards’ are all accessible at the press of a silicone-covered button. Or you may choose to use the Bose Connect app instead – it’due south helpful where setting upwardly a stereo pair, for example, is concerned, merely doesn’t have any EQ adjustment. And then the sound yous go is the audio Bose had decided you lot should be given.
- Dynamic audio of considerable calibration
- Tin get flustered past college volumes
- Good rhythmic expression
In quite a few ways, though, that’s just fine. In quite a few ways, the Bose SoundLink Flex is as accomplished a performer as whatever other portable Bluetooth speaker at this sort of money.
Certainly it wants for little where out-and-scale is concerned. Bose’s claim for ‘room-filling audio’ may exist a bit fanciful (unless you’re in a pretty small room) but the SoundLink Flex sounds far bigger and burlier than its dimensions might hint at.
There’s no denying the low frequencies could exist more than expressive, and they could definitely handle a little more light and shade where detail levels are concerned but, blimey, they’re ample. Want bass? Bose has you covered. And in that location’s quite startling dynamic headroom hither, too. If your favourite music travels a distance from ‘tranquility’ to ‘loud’ the Flex is more than than happy to travel correct forth with it. And the rather colourless low frequencies don’t arrive the way of the Bose beingness quite adept where direction of rhythms and tempos is concerned.
The midrange, though slightly estranged from the lowest frequencies, is much more than successful when it comes to dishing the details. A CD-standard 16bit/44.1kHz file of Scott Walker’s
Blackness Sheep Male child
is delivered with plenty of character and dash, giving the vocalist every adventure to communicate and engage. The transition to the top of the frequency is achieved calmly, too – which is actually only equally it should exist, given the midrange and high frequencies are delivered past the same commuter.
The Flex’due south acme end is very agreeable when listened to at sensible volume – there’s bite and shine to treble sounds, but there’due south enough of substance to them too. Only if you’re tempted to current of air the volume correct up do the highest frequencies become problematic – some spikiness and hardness creeps in and only becomes more than apparent the louder you want to listen. I’d imagine this sort of volume is only actually appropriate for outdoor listening, mind y’all, where accented fidelity generally takes a dorsum seat to ‘existence able to exist heard’.
Should y’all buy it?
You like a big audio from your footling speaker
The Flex has dynamism, scale and low-frequency presence to spare
You think louder = ameliorate
The Bose tin can become quite flustered at high book
Just considering a product’due south ‘not perfect’ doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for some. The Bose SoundLink Flex is hardwearing, hardworking and is built to last – which will exist ideal for some consumers
How we test
Nosotros test every wireless speaker we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. Nosotros use industry standard tests to compare features properly. Nosotros’ll ever tell you what we detect. Nosotros never, e’er, accept money to review a product.
Notice out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested using using music streaming services and sound formats
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Does the SoundLink Flex back up Party Mode?
Yes it does. You tin can link two Bose Bluetooth speakers together through the Connect app, and other supported speakers include SoundLink Micro, SoundLink Color II, SoundLink Mini 2, SoundLink Revolve (series I & 2) and SoundLink Revolve+ (serial I & Two).
Great britain RRP
United states RRP
Bose SoundLink Flex
201 x 52 x xc MM
Blackness, Smoke White, Rock Bluish
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