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Bose SoundLink Micro Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Jan 17, 2022 at 09:10 am
Bose SoundLink Micro Picture
5.9
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
7.3
Podcasts
5.9
Voice Assistant
6.8
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 for use on the go. It has an IP67 rating for water resistance that certifies it as submersible for thirty minutes in water up to one meter deep, and it has 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 portable speaker, it's a suitable choice.

Our Verdict

5.9 Music

The Bose SoundLink Micro is middling for music. It has a balanced mid-range that means vocals and lead instruments are reproduced pretty clearly. However, they can also sound veiled due to the recessed treble range. Also, there isn't a lot of low-bass, so you can't feel the thump in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Unfortunately, there aren't any sound customization features available.

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

The Bose SoundLink Micro is sub-par for watching videos and movies. While dialogue is reproduced pretty clearly, voices can sound a bit veiled, and there's no rumble in the bass during action-packed scenes. On the upside, there's pretty low latency with iOS and Android devices, so you shouldn't notice a delay between what you hear and what you see. That said, different apps can compensate for latency differently.

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

The Bose SoundLink Micro is satisfactory for podcasts. Thanks to its balanced mid-range, dialogue is reproduced pretty clearly and accurately, though it can also sound a bit veiled. Its portable design makes it easy to bring with you from room to room. That said, it doesn't get very loud, so it can't fill up a large room.

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

The Bose SoundLink Micro is middling for voice assistant use. There's no built-in support for voice assistants, so you need to use the voice assistant on your paired smartphone. The speaker can understand you clearly, even if you're far away, but it has some trouble hearing you in noisier environments. There's no mute microphone button, either.

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

The Bose SoundLink Micro is fair for outdoor use. With its portable, lightweight design, you can bring it with you on the go, and you can even use its tear-resistant strap to attach it to your bag. Its IP67 rating for water resistance also means that you can submerge it in water at a depth of up to one meter for up to thirty minutes. On the downside, it doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • IP67 rating.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • 5.9 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 7.3 Podcasts
  • 5.9 Voice Assistant
  • 6.8 Outdoors
  1. Updated Dec 15, 2020: Review published.
  2. Updated Dec 15, 2020: Early access published.

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 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

The Bose SoundLink Micro is outstandingly portable. Since it's meant for use 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, you can use it outside.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Yes (IK rating unspecified)
Floats In Water
No

Update 01/17/2022: We previously reported that this speaker wasn't rated for dust resistance; however, Bose's website says that it's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance.

The Bose SoundLink Micro is well-built. It's mostly made of plastic, and there's a quality silicone rubber around the speaker. Also, there's a silicone strap on the back so you can put it on a bike or backpack. It's rated for dust and impact resistance, and its IP67 rating means that it's certified to be submersible in water at a depth of up to one meter for up to thirty minutes.

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

There are three buttons on top of the speaker. 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
  • Micro-USB recharge cable
  • 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 a middling frequency response accuracy. Its balanced mid-range means that vocals and lead instruments are reproduced pretty clearly, making it suitable for vocal-centric content like podcasts. Due to its veiled treble, higher-pitched audio can also seem a bit dark and dull. Like many small speakers, it also really struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass, which isn't ideal for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Unfortunately, there's no EQ available to help you customize its sound.

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 portable 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 that can affect audio quality. 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 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 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 performance. There aren't any voice assistant features built into the speaker, so you need to use the voice assistant on your paired smartphone. As a result, you can't activate it with your voice. On the upside, it can understand you pretty clearly when you're far away.

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 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

You can't use the Bose SoundLink Micro wired. It comes with a micro-USB port to charge the speaker.

8.7
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

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, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a small, portable wireless speaker with a simple design. Its IP67 rating certifies it to be submersible in water up to one meter deep for up to thirty minutes. It's a decent choice for vocal-centric content like podcasts, but there aren't any sound customization features.

See our recommendations for the best portable speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers.

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.

JBL Flip 4

The JBL Flip 4 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The Flip 4 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and can get louder. That said, the Bose is a bit smaller, making it more portable. It has a bit less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner-sounding audio at louder volumes.

Bose SoundLink Flex

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.

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, the JBL has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

Sonos Roam

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The Sonos has a better-balanced sound profile with its room correction feature enabled and can produce deeper bass than the Bose. Its companion app also features bass and treble adjustments you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. Additionally, it offers fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and can understand your commands even when you're far away or in noisier settings. That said, the Bose offers a wider-sounding soundstage and has a longer battery life, though the latter can depend on your usage and your experience may differ. 

Marshall Emberton

The Marshall Emberton is a better overall speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The Marshall offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Bose. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, resulting in a more immersive soundstage. It can also get louder than the Bose. That said, the Bose has less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volume levels. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't great.

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. 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. 

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-XB13

The Sony SRS-XB13 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The Sony has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio during louder listening sessions. It can produce a more extended low-bass than the Bose, and is slightly better-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage, and your real-world experience may differ. That said, the Bose offers somewhat better voice assistant support, since it does a better job of understanding your commands from far and in noisy environments.

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.

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.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The JBL can get louder and has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Bose. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage. However, the Bose is smaller, making it more portable than the JBL. It also has better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The Anker can produce a more extended low-bass, and you can tweak its sound to your liking thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured in its companion app. It can also get significantly louder and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, the Bose has better directivity, resulting in a more open-sounding soundstage.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a better overall speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The Revolve II can produce a more extended low-bass than the Micro, and can get louder. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage, and your experience may differ. That said, the Micro is smaller, making it more portable. It also has slightly better directivity, resulting in a slightly wider-sounding soundstage.

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.

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 out-of-the-box. 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, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. That said, the Bose is battery powered so it's more portable and better suited for outdoor use. It also has an IP67 rating for water resistance that certifies it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

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.

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 IP67 rating for water resistance. You can also connect your smartphone's voice assistant to the speaker.

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 IP67 rating for water resistance. 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.

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