What it's good for
- Rich, loud sound for your
- Mobile phone
- Whatever else you can connect via bluetooth or plug into the standard 3.5mm input
- Hours of battery life
- Weighs less than two cans of soda and is about the same size
- Built for carrying around and can handle abuse
Some key info
I bought this in May last year so I've had it for 8 months and I've used it pretty much every day since then
My brother bought one just like it and loves it just as much as I do. The charging port and cable could be better but that's pretty much my only complaint.
Why I like it
You really have to hear it to appreciate the fullness and quality of the sound that comes out of this little speaker. It never distorts and is always loud enough. Quiet video is one of my biggest frustrations, especially when watching YouTube content that doesn't always have the best audio production. The worst part of trying to watch something with more than one or two people isn't the tiny screen, it's not being able to hear anything.
It's a sturdy device that's can take rough treatment. It's survived a couple of drops from a bedside table with no signs of damage. That was on tile from a height of about 3 feet. At roughly 5.5 inches high and 5 inches wide it's smaller than most portable speakers. It weighs 534 grams which is less than two cans of Coke.
There are non-slip pads on the sides and bottom which work well and show no signs of peeling after 8 months of daily use. The weight is pretty evenly distributed with a little more heft at the bottom. It's easy to pack and carry around and it's stable on pretty much any surface.
It's got straightforward controls with 6 clearl-labeled buttons. Play/Pause works on iOS and YouTube. It probably works with lots of others too but those are the ones I've used. For music, the Play/Pause button will also go the next song if you press it twice and go to the previous song if you press it three times. Awesomely that also works on YouTube videos. The Play/Pause button is also used to turn mute on and off in AUX mode.
As one of the main selling points of the Bose Color, they put a lot of thought into the Bluetooth functions. The manual says 33 feet (10 meters) and I've found that to be true. Connects to every device I've tried with no fuss. It can connect to two devices at the same time and switching between the two is just a matter of pushing the bluetooth button. It can store up to 8 devices in memory. When you turn it on it will connect to the last two devices it was connected to if they are within range. If you add a ninth it will delete the least recently used device. If you don't have bluetooth you can connect through a standard 3.5mm input at the back. That's the size of the typical headphone jack.
The voice is clear and easy to understand. You'll get voice feedback when you connect it to a new device or switch between devices. If you hit the bluetooth button, it will tell you what device it's connected to. It's easy to turn off the voice prompts if you'd like by pushing the plus and minus buttons at the same time.
You can choose from 11 languages for the voice, including:
What could be improved
This is my only real gripe with the speaker. The charging cable looks nice and seems robust but mine quit after a few months. The same thing happened to my brother's speaker and it happened a lot faster. I'm not a big fan of Micro-USB in general because it has too many fiddly bits that can fail. In this case it seems that the port stretches with repeated use.
To fix this I recommend getting a more robust charging cable like this one from Anker.
It's a nice, tight fit and works like a charm.
Bluetooth issues and multiple devices
While I appreciate the way it remembers devices, I've never found connecting to multiple devices useful. While the Bose handles it well with easy switching and reliable connectivity it leads to more problems than solutions.
For example: The speaker connects to two devices by default and you don't always realise it's connected to both. Most of the time this ends up muting something without you knowing. I used to wonder why my phone hadn't been giving me notifications before I saw that it was connected the speaker and muted as a result. Now if I use it with my phone I make sure to delete it after I'm done to avoid confusion.
I have had some trouble connecting to Mac computers but I think that's got more to do with Mac's bluetooth issues than any problems with the speaker. That said, deleting the speaker and reconnecting it works every time.
How it compares to other products on the market
While I've had a few cheap bluetooth speakers I haven't had any other speakers in this price range. I have listened to a few of its competitors and I've never heard better sound from anything else. Worse, most of its competitors are bigger.
Order a better micro-USB cable when you order the speaker to reduce wear and tear on the charging port and avoid being stuck with no way to charge it if the included cable dies.
Turn up the speaker from your device first. The speaker's volume controls move in tiny increments. Once you've turned your device up to max then try the speaker if you need more volume. Holding down the buttons will make continuous changes. The one exception to this is with certain games that use the notification volume from your device rather than the main volume. For me this only happens with Boom Beach but it's a pain. Using the device controls has almost no effect and then when you change it on the speaker it goes from whisper to wailing banshee in one click. Bottom line, if you notice the volume isn't changing much, try whichever volume control you haven't tried yet.
Since Bose has introduced a newer version of this speaker this one is available for about $110 if you're okay with blue or red, $120 if you want the black and closer to $150 if you want blue or white.
I'd go with the newer version for $130 because it's got some cool new features such as:
- It's got a rubbery, silicone exterior which should protect it from short falls
- Built-in mic for accessing digital assistants like Siri or Google Now
It's a great device to carry around although it's done most of its work as a partner for my iPad mini at home. Using this speaker has meant I never have to worry about missing lines from my favorite shows or settling for tinny, crackly sound.
If anything happened to it I'd replace it as soon as possible. Like, I'd replace all my meals with Ramen noodles until it was on the way. So if you just want a cheap speaker this is not for you. But if you're looking for a great speaker, one that you can use with your computer or carry around with you, the Bose Color definitely gives you your money's worth.