Product Type: Bose speakers
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Great Idea, Not Brilliantly Executed
Bose SoundLink II
Member Name: DanB7290
Bose SoundLink II
Advantages: Wireless technology means great portability, very well made
Disadvantages: Sound quality suffers because of Bluetooth
I got this based on previous experiences with Bose, and feeling the need for a wireless speaker (who can be bothered getting up and walking over to their dock to change the song?!).
First impressions are good; from getting it out of the box, you can see it is very well made, as Bose products usually are (save one pair of the in ear headphones I bought, but that's another story).
You have two options when buying a Soundlink II, you can have one with a nylon cover, or a leather cover, which is obviously more expensive; therefore I opted for the nylon. And to be completely honest, I wish I'd saved up the extra for a leather one, it's not that it's bad per se, but it just looks a little cheap on such an expensive product.
And now the big one; sound quality. I use the phrase 'by no means am I an audiophile' quite a lot when reviewing speakers and headphones, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm becoming one. I do know a good sounding speaker when I hear one, and I know a bad one too, unlike my mother, who cannot tell the difference between the terrible speakers in my Fiat and the Bose system in Dad's Audi. But I digress. Any wireless speaker system using Bluetooth is going to sacrifice some of the sound quality. I expected, given the excellent reputation Bose has built, that they would have worked their magic to minimise the decrease in quality as much as possible. But the truth is, they haven't. It sounds no better than those £40 iPod speakers with a dock connector that run off batteries.
In conclusion then; wireless speakers are definitely the future; the way Apple is pushing it on it's entire product line shows this. But I must give the Bose Soundlink II a C- here; while it is a great concept, and is beautifully made, the sound quality lets it down, something which I never thought I'd say about Bose products.
The best wireless solution I have come across is the AirPlay system from Apple. There are a few speakers with this enabled in the Apple store, and the idea is that the speakers connect to your wireless network, then music can be played wirelessly from iTunes on your PC/Mac, or by clicking the AirPlay icon when selecting music on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch on the same network.
I appreciate that the main selling point of the Soundlink II is it's portability, and the downside in the AirPlay system is it requires a wifi network to work. But what if you want good quality sound, say in the park? Then get one of the cheaper, battery powered speakers with a dock connector, as it's not worth paying £250 for the Soundlink II if that is what you're looking for.
Summary: While wireless speakers are definitely the way forward, Bose didn't quite get it right here
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