Bose SoundLink Micro Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Dec 14, 2020 at 09:43 am
Bose SoundLink Micro Picture
5.9
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
7.3
Podcasts
5.9
Voice Assistant
6.7
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
Yes
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
Yes

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a small and lightweight speaker designed to be used on-the-go. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't test for it, and a rear strap so you can attach it to a bike or backpack. However, its sound profile lacks a lot of low bass and has a veiled treble range. It also has a mediocre battery performance and doesn't get very loud. Still, if you're looking for a compact speaker that's easily portable, it's a suitable choice.

Our Verdict

5.9 Music

The Bose SoundLink Micro is sub-par for music. It struggles to produce a thumpy, punchy bass and has a veiled treble, which affects the clarity and detail of lead instruments and vocals. It also doesn't have an EQ or any other sound enhancement features, and it doesn't get very loud at all.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
5.6 Videos/Movies

The Bose SoundLink Micro is mediocre for videos and movies. It lacks low-bass, so sound effects in action movies lack thump and rumble. It also doesn't get very loud, and there are some compression artifacts and pumping at max volume. On the upside, it has low audio latency on iOS and Android.

Pros
  • Low iOS and Android audio latency.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.3 Podcasts

The Bose SoundLink Micro is decent for podcasts. While it doesn't get very loud, it has a neutral mid-range that's well-suited for reproducing vocal-centric content. It's quite portable and can be paired with up to two devices at once. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream podcasts from your mobile device.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
5.9 Voice Assistant

The Bose SoundLink Micro is acceptable for voice assistant. It doesn't have its own voice assistant but uses the one on your phone when connected. While it's not voice-activated, it can pick up speech from far away. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Doesn't have a voice assistant built-in.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
6.7 Outdoors

The Bose SoundLink Micro is alright for outdoor use. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't test for it. It also has a strap so you can attach it to your bag or bike to take with you on-the-go. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud and lacks low bass. It also has a mediocre battery performance and takes a while to recharge.

Pros
  • IPX7 rating.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • 5.9 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 7.3 Podcasts
  • 5.9 Voice Assistant
  • 6.7 Outdoors

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a small, square speaker with a silicone rubber design. It's quite flat and has a rear strap so you can attach it to your bag or bike while you're on-the-go. It also comes in three colors: 'Black', 'Bright Orange', and 'Midnight Blue', so you can find a color that best suits your style.

9.4
Design
Portability
Volume
26 in³ (418 cm³)
Weight
0.7 lbs (0.3 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker is outstandingly portable. Since it's meant to be used while you're on-the-go, it's small, lightweight, and has a rear strap so you can put it on your bag. Since it also uses a battery, it can be used outside.

7.7
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Yes (IK rating unspecified)
Floats In Water
No

The Bose SoundLink Micro is well-built. Silicone rubber contours the entire speaker and there's also a silicone strap on its rear so you can put it on a backpack or bike. There are physical control buttons on the silicone casing, as well as five battery indicator lights. The speaker is rated IPX7 for water resistance, but we don't currently test for this. While it's impact-resistant, it doesn't have an IK rating.

7.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

This speaker has very good controls. There are three buttons. The '+' and '-' buttons allow you to adjust the volume, while the middle button is a multifunction button. Pressing once plays/pauses songs or accepts/ends calls. If you press and hold it, you can use voice control. Double pressing skips to the next song while triple-pressing skips to the previous track. There's also a Bluetooth button that, once connected, has a light that stays solid light to show your connection. However, there's no feedback when adjusting for volume, and the buttons aren't very clicky.

Design
In The Box

  • Bose SoundLink Micro speaker
  • USB recharge cable (micro-USB)
  • User Manual

Sound
5.7
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.63
Std. Err.
4.44 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
91.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
16.0 kHz

The Bose SoundLink Micro has disappointing frequency response accuracy. Like the Sony SRS-XB23, it really struggles to produce low-bass and has a veiled treble, which is pretty disappointing if you like thumpy genres like EDM or hip-hop. Just like the Bose SoundLink Revolve, it doesn't have any sound customization options either. On the upside, it has a neutral mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are accurately reproduced.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.4
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
1.04 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

This speaker has a decent soundstage. While it sounds large and wide, it doesn't have separate speakers for its left and right channels. As a result, it has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it, which doesn't create the most immersive listening experience. If you want a small speaker that can play stereo content, check out the Sony SRS-XB43.

Note: We tested this speaker flat on a table instead of being strapped onto a backpack or used vertically, which may affect its soundstage.

5.7
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
78.6 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.27 dB

The Bose SoundLink Micro has a disappointing dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, and there are some pumping and compression artifacts present at max volume. If you're looking for a portable speaker that can get louder with fewer compression artifacts, consider the OontZ Angle 3.

Active Features
6.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
7.8 hrs
Charge Time
5.4 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
Micro-USB

This speaker has a mediocre battery performance. Its battery lasts under eight hours and takes quite a while to fully recharge. However, battery life can vary according to usage, so your experience may differ. The speaker turns off after 20 minutes if there isn't any audio playing and you haven't pushed any buttons. There's also a voice prompt that lets you know the battery level each time you turn on the speaker.

It goes into battery protection mode after three days if the speaker's battery is fully drained or unplugged and unused while it has less than 10% battery life left. To reactivate your speaker, you need to connect it to a wall charger or a computer that's on. For a portable speaker with a longer battery life, consider the Bose SoundLink Color II.

4.9
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Decent

The Bose SoundLink Micro has a poor voice assistant integrated performance. It doesn't have any built-in voice assistant capacities, and it uses the voice assistant of the phone it's connected to. There's no mic mute or voice activation either. On the upside, it does a decent job of understanding speech from a distance.

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

Bose Connect is an alright app. You can use it on iOS and Android and pair two speakers together to create a stereo pair. You can also link more than one speaker together to play the same audio content throughout a large space. Unfortunately, there's no EQ, so you can't tweak its sound profile.

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

The Bose SoundLink Micro can't be used wired. It comes with a micro-USB to charge the speaker.

8.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
Unspecified
Bluetooth iOS Latency
67 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
98 ms
Bluetooth Range
187.0 ft (57.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The Bose SoundLink Micro has a great Bluetooth performance. It can connect to up to two devices at a time and has an excellent range, so you don't need to be right beside your speaker to use it. It has low audio latency on iOS and Android, making it suitable for watching videos. However, some apps and devices compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary.

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

This speaker isn't Wi-Fi compatible.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose SoundLink Micro comes in three color variants: 'Black', 'Midnight Blue', and 'Bright Orange'. You can see its label here. We expect these color variants to perform similarly to our test unit.

If you come across a different variant of this speaker, please let us know in the discussions and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a small, highly portable wireless speaker. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't test for it, as well as a back strap so that you can attach it to your bike or bag. Unfortunately, it lacks low-bass and its battery takes quite a while to recharge.

JBL FLIP 5

The JBL FLIP 5 is a slightly better speaker for most uses than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile, and it can get louder, although with more compression artifacts at max volume. The JBL also has longer battery life. However, the Bose supports your smartphone's voice assistant.

JBL Clip 4

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a better speaker for outdoor use than the JBL Clip 4. The Bose has better controls and while it doesn't get as loud as the JBL, it can reach its max volume with fewer compression artifacts. It also supports your smartphone's voice assistant, it has a companion app that allows you to connect it to other units, and you can pair it with up to two devices at a time. However, the JBL is better-built and has a slightly better-balanced sound profile.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker for outdoor use than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The Ultimate Ears has a better build quality with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, although we don't test for this. It has a better-balanced sound profile, it can play stereo content without downmixing into mono, and it can get louder with fewer compression artifacts. Its battery performance is better too. However, the Bose has a better Bluetooth performance and it has a companion app. 

JBL GO 3

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Bose has a better soundstage and longer battery life. It also supports voice assistants, though its performance is sub-par. However, while we don't currently test for it, the JBL has an IP6X rating for dust resistance.

Sony SRS-XB12

The Sony SRS-XB12 is a slightly better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The Sony can get a little louder but with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It has a significantly better battery performance too. However, the Bose can reproduce slightly more low-bass. It also has a companion app.

Anker Soundcore 2

The Bose SoundLink Micro is better than the Anker Soundcore 2. While both speakers struggle to produce low bass, the Bose's low-bass is more extended. It also has a better soundstage, a longer battery life, and a better voice assistant performance. However, it downmixes stereo content into mono, which doesn't sound as immersive. The Anker can play stereo content.

Bose SoundLink Color II

The Bose SoundLink Micro and the Bose SoundLink Color II are similarly performing speakers with a few different features. Although both are incredibly portable, the SoundLink Micro is even smaller, and it comes with a strap that lets you attach it to your bag or backpack. Its soundstage also has better directivity. However, only the SoundLink Color II can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono, and it can get quite a bit louder.

Sony SRS-XB23

The Sony SRS-XB23 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The Sony is better-built, it can produce more low-bass, and it can get louder, although with more compression artifacts present. It also has a longer-lasting battery life as well as a graphic EQ so you can tweak its sound. However, the Bose is smaller, which some people may prefer.

Apple HomePod

The Apple HomePod and Bose SoundLink Micro have different strengths and depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. The Apple has a better-balanced sound profile with an outstanding stereo soundstage. It has Siri built-in, which is great if you use voice assistants, and you can stream audio to the bar via Wi-Fi. However, the Bose is battery powered so it's more portable and better suited for outdoor use. It also has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.

Sony SRS-XB43

The Sony SRS-XB43 is a better speaker for most uses than the Bose SoundLink Micro. While both speakers have uneven sound profiles out-of-the-box, the Sony's is better-balanced overall, and it offers a graphic EQ for sound customization. It can also play stereo content, unlike the Bose, and it gets louder and has longer battery life. However, the Bose has a wider, less directional soundstage.

Google Nest Audio

The Bose SoundLink Micro and the Google Nest Audio have different strengths and depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other. The Bose is better for outdoor use as it's more portable since it's battery-powered, better-built, and has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test this feature. It also supports Bluetooth. However, the Google is better for voice assistant since it has Google Assistant built-in. It also has a more comprehensive companion app, a better-balanced sound profile, and you can play audio from this speaker using Wi-Fi.

OontZ Angle 3

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a better overall speaker than the OontZ Angle 3. The Bose is better-built and can be submerged in water. It's also able to deliver more bass, its soundstage is wider, and you can connect it to your smartphone if you want to use voice assistant. However, the OontZ has a better battery life and can get louder with fewer compression artifacts.

JBL PartyBox 100

The JBL PartyBox 100 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile capable of reproducing more bass. It also has a stereo soundstage, it can get much louder with fewer compression artifacts, and it has longer-lasting battery life. However, the Bose is more portable and better-built, especially as it has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. You can also connect your smartphone's voice assistant to the speaker.

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