Get insider access
Preferred store
Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

Bose SoundLink Flex Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Nov 07, 2023 at 04:16 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Feb 02, 2024 at 02:35 pm
Bose SoundLink Flex Picture
6.3
Music
5.7
Videos/Movies
7.5
Podcasts
6.2
Voice Assistant
7.0
Outdoors

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a small portable Bluetooth speaker that's meant to be brought with you on the go. Its IP67 rating certifies it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, meaning you can bring it outdoors without issue. Wherever you go, its PositionIQ technology adjusts the speaker's audio reproduction to meet the unique acoustics of your space.

Our Verdict

6.3 Music

The Bose SoundLink Flex is fair for music. Out-of-the-box, this small speaker reproduces voices and lead instruments with detail and clarity, ensuring that it's suitable for different genres. It gets loud enough to fill an average-sized room with sound, too. However, it lacks customization tools, so you can't switch up its sound. It doesn't get as loud as bigger speakers on the market, and it doesn't reproduce as much low-bass, either.

Pros
  • Good performance with dialogue.
Cons
  • Requires two units for stereo audio.
5.7 Videos/Movies

The Bose SoundLink Flex isn't designed for watching videos and movies. It's a small, simple speaker, and while it can reproduce dialogue with clarity, it doesn't bring a cinematic rumble in the bass like with bigger models on the market. Plus, it has some latency issues, especially when paired with iOS devices. You'll likely notice lip-synching issues, which takes away from the immersive feel.

Pros
  • Good performance with dialogue.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ or presets.
  • Compression at max volume.
7.5 Podcasts

The Bose SoundLink Flex is good for podcasts. You don't have any trouble following along with dialogue, thanks to its clear and accurate reproduction of voices in the mix. With its portable design, you can easily take your shows from room to room. Plus, it's loud enough to fill an average-sized room, though not quite loud enough to fill more open spaces like basements.

Pros
  • Outstandingly portable.
  • Can be paired to two devices at once.
  • Good performance with dialogue.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ or presets.
6.2 Voice Assistant

The Bose SoundLink Flex doesn't have built-in voice assistant support, but if you have a smartphone with Google Assistant or Siri, you can pair it to the speaker to control it with your voice. Amid a noisy party, it doesn't have any trouble hearing your commands, and it can also pick them up from further away.

Pros
  • Excellent far-field performance.
Cons
  • Voice assistants aren't built-in.
7.0 Outdoors

This speaker is decent for the outdoors. It's easy to bring along with you thanks to its small and lightweight design. Plus, it can withstand some exposure to the elements as it's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance. With a battery life of over seven hours, it lasts through most days on the go. That said, it doesn't get as loud as other speakers we've tested, so you aren't able to fill your whole backyard with sound.

Pros
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Outstandingly portable.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ or presets.
  • Compression at max volume.
  • 6.3 Music
  • 5.7 Videos/Movies
  • 7.5 Podcasts
  • 6.2 Voice Assistant
  • 7.0 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 02, 2024: We've added a comparison between this speaker and the Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition in Wired.
  2. Updated Dec 01, 2023: Added market comparison with the Anker Soundcore Motion 300 in the App box.
  3. Updated Nov 07, 2023: Minor text edits for clarity.
  4. Updated Aug 21, 2023: Updated the Portability picture for greater clarity and consistency between reviews.
  5. Updated Nov 14, 2022: Rewrote text for greater clarity. No changes in test results.
  6. Updated Jul 29, 2022: Added 'Carmine Red' color variant to 'Differences Between Sizes And Variants' box.
  7. Updated Nov 18, 2021: Review published.
  8. Updated Nov 15, 2021: Early access published.
  9. Updated Nov 04, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  10. Updated Oct 29, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  11. Updated Oct 21, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose SoundLink Flex comes in four color variants: Black, White Smoke, Stone Blue, and Carmine Red. This review represents the test results for the 'Black' variant, you can find its label here. The variants are expected to perform similarly.

You can also find a version of this speaker called the Bose SoundLink Flex SE, which comes without a microphone.

If you come across any other variants of this speaker, let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bose Flex is a small, portable speaker similarly designed to the Bose SoundLink Micro and the Anker Soundcore 3. That said, it's better built thanks to its solid and sturdy materials. Like other SoundLink speakers we've tested, the Flex supports voice assistants through your smartphone. That said, it does an excellent job of understanding your commands from far and in noisier settings.

You can also see our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best waterproof speakers, and the best speakers under $100.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 and the Bose SoundLink Flex perform similarly. They both offer neutral sound profiles and are well-built with IP67 ratings for dust and water resistance. The JBL's battery lasts longer than the Bose, though this can vary depending on your usage. However, the Bose is a bit smaller in size and supports voice assistants through your smartphone.

JBL Flip 6

The Bose SoundLink Flex is more versatile than the JBL Flip 6. The Bose supports voice assistants through your smartphone and is excellent at hearing your commands from far and in noisier settings. It can also produce a more extended low-bass than the JBL. It also has a slightly longer-lasting battery life, though this varies depending on your usage habits. That said, the JBL comes with a graphic EQ to tweak its sound to your liking and offers a slightly wider-sounding soundstage.

Sonos Roam/Roam SL

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Roam/Roam SL or the Bose SoundLink Flex. The Sonos is Wi-Fi enabled, and its Roam variant offers fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. It's smaller and more portable, too, with bass and treble adjustments to tweak its sound to your liking. The Bose can get a bit louder with less compression at max volume. It has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. Also, it has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage.

JBL Flip 5

The Bose SoundLink Flex is better than the JBL Flip 5 overall. The Bose offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the JBL. It's better built and can get a bit louder with less compression at max volume. It also supports voice assistants through your paired smartphone and is excellent at understanding your commands from far and in noisy settings. That said, the JBL is just a little bit smaller, and it has better directivity, so its soundstage is perceived as a bit wider than that of the Bose.

Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition. Both speakers are highly portable and have similarly balanced sound profiles that lack low bass but feature detailed and accurate mids. They even have very similar continuous battery life performances. However, the SoundLink Flex has a better build quality and is rated IPX7 for submersion in water. It also has companion app compatibility, which lets you pair it up with another SoundLink speaker for True Wireless Sound (TWS).

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is slightly better than the Bose SoundLink Flex, though have different strengths. The Ultimate Ears can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and its soundstage is perceived as wider and more open thanks to its 360-degree design. You can customize its sound thanks to the graphic EQ in its companion app, and it has a longer-lasting battery life of over 13 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage habits. That said, the Bose offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass out-of-the-box. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone.

Marshall Emberton II

The Marshall Emberton II is better than the Bose SoundLink Flex, though they have different strengths. The Marshall can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, resulting in a more immersive soundstage. Its soundstage is perceived as wider and more spacious. It also comes with EQ presets to tweak its sound to your liking and has longer-lasting battery life. That said, the Bose has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner-sounding audio at louder volume levels. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone and is excellent at hearing you from far away and in noisy environments.

Marshall Emberton

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a bit better than the Marshall Emberton overall. The Bose is better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It can get louder with less compression at max volume and has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Marshall. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone. However, The Marshall can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and offers better directivity resulting in a wider and more immersive-sounding soundstage. Its battery also lasts a bit longer, though this can vary depending on your usage.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ and the Bose SoundLink Flex have different strengths. The Anker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and can get louder than the Bose. Its sound profile is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured in its companion app. It also has a longer-lasting battery life of over 15 hours, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Bose is smaller, better built, and has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. It's also better for voice assistant support.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Flex, though they have different strengths. The Ultimate Ears offers a wider and more immersive soundstage. It comes with a graphic EQ and presets to customize its sound to your liking. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, making it better suited for long listening sessions. However, the Bose is smaller, making it more portable, and it supports voice assistants through your smartphone. It also offers a more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box that can produce a more extended low-bass.

Bose SoundLink Micro

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The Flex is better built and can get louder. It also offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Micro. That said, the Micro is smaller and lighter, making it more portable. It also has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may differ.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

You may prefer either the Bose SoundLink Revolve or the Bose SoundLink Flex, depending on your listening habits. The Revolve's 360-degree design ensures its soundstage is perceived as wide and spacious. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Flex has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. It's better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It can also get a bit louder with a bit less compression present at max volume.

Marshall Willen

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose SoundLink Flex or the Marshall Willen. They're both portable Bluetooth speakers with different strengths. The Bose supports voice assistants from your smartphone, unlike the Marshall, and it reproduces a more extended low-bass. As a result, you feel more rumble, especially with bass-heavy genres like EDM. The Marshall is more customizable, with EQ presets to help you control its sound, though it can't get a similar bass response to the Bose.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is better than the Bose SoundLink Flex, though they have different strengths. The Ultimate Ears is a stereo speaker with a more open and wide-sounding soundstage. It has less compression present at max volume and significantly longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. However, the Bose can produce a more extended low-bass and supports voice assistants through your smartphone.

Sony SRS-XB33

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB33, though they have different strengths. The Flex is smaller, making it more portable. It has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and has better directivity, so its soundstage sounds wider than that of the Sony. The Sony's sound profile is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ in its companion app. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II and the Bose SoundLink Flex perform similarly. The Revolve+ II offers a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Flex is smaller, and voice assistants from your paired smartphone are better at understanding your commands from far and in noisy environments. It's better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. Its sound profile is also a bit better built out-of-the-box.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II and the Bose SoundLink Flex have different strengths. The Revolve II offers a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage thanks to its 360-degree design. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Flex is better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It can also get a bit louder with a bit less compression present at max volume.

Anker Soundcore Motion 300

The Bose SoundLink Flex and the Anker Soundcore Motion 300 are portable Bluetooth speakers with similar designs. Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Bose can reproduce more low-bass, which is great for genres like EDM and hip-hop. However, unlike the Anker, it has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it back. The Anker gets louder, too, with a longer-lasting battery life. Plus, its companion app has more customization tools, like a graphic EQ.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2 is a slightly better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Flex overall. The Bang & Olufsen offers a wider-sounding soundstage and comes with a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and presets to tweak its sound to your liking. It also has fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa built-in, though it relies on your paired smartphone's Wi-Fi connection to work. That said, the Bose offers a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and can get a bit louder. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Flex, though they have different strengths. The Ultimate Ears offers a wider and more spacious sounding soundstage. It also plays stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. It has less compression at max volume, so your audio quality sounds cleaner when you blast the speaker. It also has a significantly longer-lasting battery life of over 22 hours on a single charge. The Bose SoundLink Flex can produce a more extended low-bass and supports voice assistants through your smartphone.

Bose SoundLink Color II

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Color II overall. The Flex is better built and has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Color. That said, the Color has a longer-lasting battery life of almost 10 hours, though this can vary depending on your usage.

Anker Soundcore 3

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a better speaker than the Anker Soundcore 3 overall. The Bose has a better-balanced, more neutral sound profile and can produce a more extended low bass than the Anker. It can also get a bit louder with less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. However, the Anker has a longer-lasting battery life of over 13 hours. Battery life can vary depending on your usage, and your experience may differ.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Flex. The Smart Speaker offers a wider-sounding soundstage. It can produce a more extended low-bass and offers incredible voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. It also comes with bass and treble adjustments to tweak its sound to your liking. That said, the Flex is smaller and better built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It has a bit less compression present at max volume, and you can pair it to two devices at once, so you can easily switch between audio sources.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

It's a small and sleek-looking speaker that you can place standing horizontally or lying on its back. It also comes with a built-in strap to suspend the speaker from a hook.

9.2
Design
Portability
Volume
57 inยณ (942 cmยณ)
Weight
1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This portable speaker is easy to bring with you thanks to its small and lightweight build. It's battery-powered, too, so you don't have to plug it into an outlet to listen to your favorite tunes.

8.7
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Yes (IK rating unspecified)
Floats In Water
Yes

This sturdy speaker is mostly covered by silicone rubber, and its drivers are protected by a black, powder-coated steel grille on its front and rear designed to withstand rust, so the paint doesn't flake off. It also comes with a small, thick strap on its side that you can use to suspend it from a hook or attach it to a bag. It's rated IP67, certifying it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. While the manufacturer doesn't specify an IK rating for impact resistance, the manufacturer advertises the Flex as rugged and able to withstand being dropped on the floor.

8.4
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Okay
Feedback
Decent
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
Yes (Physical)
Additional Controls
Yes

The Bose SoundLink Flex has a great selection of simple controls. When you turn the speaker on, it informs you of its current battery level and the devices it's connected to. That said, while the buttons are simple to use, they're a bit hard to press compared to the Bose SoundLink Micro and Bose SoundLink Color II's controls because of the thick silicone covering the speaker.

  • Power Button: Turns the speaker on/off.
  • Volume Buttons: Adjusts the volume.
  • Multifunction Button: Press once to play/pause your audio or answer a phone call. Press twice to skip to the next track and three times to skip to the previous track. Hold to decline a call or activate the voice assistant on your paired smartphone.
  • Bluetooth Button: Press to activate Bluetooth pairing mode.

Design
In The Box

  • Bose SoundLink Flex
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Start Here guide

Sound
6.9
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.22
Std. Err.
2.85 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
60.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
15.6 kHz

The Bose SoundLink Flex comes with PositionIQ technology, automatically adjusting the speaker's EQ according to its orientation. We tested it horizontally and found that its frequency response accuracy is alright. Out-of-the-box, it offers a balanced sound, especially in the mids, where most voices and lead instruments reproduce. Dialogue is clear in podcasts and audiobooks, and music is detailed and accurate in its reproduction. Ultimately, this speaker is suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. However, if you listen to audio with a lot of bass mixed in, like EDM and hip-hop, you notice less rumble than with bigger speakers.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
5.5
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.59 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

Its soundstage performance is middling. Its directivity is just okay, meaning you might perceive its soundstage as fairly narrow and directional. It requires two units to play stereo audio and downmixes stereo content to mono when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive.

6.4
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
87.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.02 dB

This speaker gets loud enough to fill a typical living room with sound. There's some compression when you push it to max volume, though. It's not suitable for listening in larger and more open spaces, either.

Active Features
7.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
7.2 hrs
Charge Time
2.7 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

It has a decent battery performance. It's advertised to last around 12 hours from a single four-hour charge. However, in practice, you'll get closer to seven hours of consistent playback, but on the upside, charging is even faster than advertised, at just under three hours to reach a full charge. That said, battery performance can vary depending on your usage, and your real-world experience may differ. There's also an 'Auto-Off Timer' power-saving feature you can enable and program to shut the speaker off automatically following 5, 20, 40, 60, or 180 minutes of inactivity.

5.7
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Speakerphone
Yes
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Assistant
Yes
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Excellent

This speaker doesn't have any built-in voice assistants. If you want to control it with your voice, pair a smartphone with Google Assistant or Siri to the device. It doesn't struggle to hear your commands, even if you're in the middle of a noisy party or if you're further away from the speaker itself. Note that this feature isn't available if you purchase the SE variant of this speaker since it comes without a microphone.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
Bose Connect
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The Bose Connect app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. You can use it to pair it to another Bose speaker to create a stereo pair or to multiple other Bose speakers and soundbars when you want your audio to fill a large room without increasing the volume. Unfortunately, it lacks sound customization features like a graphic EQ and presets, so you can't tweak its sound to better suit your preferences. The Anker Soundcore Motion 300 is a good alternative for a similar speaker with more sound customization tools.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

This speaker doesn't have any inputs. There's only a USB-C port to charge it. If you're looking for a Bose speaker with an AUX input, it's worth checking out the Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition.

8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
236 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
109 ms
Bluetooth Range
255.9 ft (78.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

This Bluetooth-compatible speaker makes wirelessly streaming content from your mobile devices easy. You can pair it with up to two devices simultaneously, so you can switch between your phone and your laptop as an audio source in no time. Latency with iOS and Android devices is slightly high, though, so it's not as ideal for streaming videos and movies, as you may notice some lip-synching issues.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
No
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A