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Review Bose SoundLink III Bluetooth Speaker

Main / MINI / Review Bose SoundLink III Bluetooth Speaker

I've owned all previous versions of the SoundLink including the SoundLink Mini. Bottom line is that the SL3 looks much nicer, sounds better and has vastly better battery life (a claimed 14 hours.) Bose has still turned up its nose to aptX, NFC and handsfree. Bose still does not provide a remote control nor any controls on the speaker to play/pause music or to change tracks. Bose doesn't even include an AUX-in cable... even the most lowly of Bluetooth Speakers include an AUX in cable. The SoundLink III is sporting a new case design which is quite attractive and slightly larger in height and width than the older SoundLinks. Bose did away with the nylon cover/stand. That takes away some protection for the speaker but Bose offers optional cases ($35.) The speaker comes with only a power adapter. It is 100-240V, 50/60Hz and has a folding, non-polarized plug. The cord length is 62" and the adapter measures 1 7/8" wide by 4" tall and about 1 1/8" thick. I like that the power adapter. when it's plugged in to a standard wall outlet, doesn't take up so much space to not allow you to use the other outlet. The new case design is clean, simple and attractive. Many Bluetooth speakers will give you a little beep once you've reached maximum volume but the Bose does not. Also, there is no visual indication of any sort to let you know exactly where you are on the scale of loudness from zero to maximum. I usually just set the volume on the Bose to a somewhere less than the maximum and use my device to refine the volume. On the front of the speaker are 4 LED indicators that are nearly invisible unless they are lit, which is great. And when they are lit, they are subdued not glaringly bright like so many other LED indicators on other products. On the left side are: - Bluetooth indicator - Aux indicator On the right side are: - Mute indicator - Battery/charging indicator On the rear of the speaker, from left to right: - Aux In - Micro USB Service port - Power input The bottom of the speaker has rubber pads to help it not slide around. Whereas previous SoundLink speakers had an easily removable panel to access the battery, this does not have an obvious way to do that. Regarding the battery, the capacity is not specified but the original SoundLink & SoundLink II had a 12.4V, 1700mAh 19Wh capacity battery. Since the playtime of the SoundLink III has more than doubled, it must have a significantly larger battery than its predecessors. The sound from the SoundLink III keeps with the Bose tradition of emphasizing bass (some would say over-emphasizing) and using heavy DSP (digital signal processing) to sculpt the sound in such a way as to cause you to wonder how all this sound is coming out of such a small enclosure. There are 4 transducers behind the front grill and 2 passive radiators behind the back grill. Critical listeners and audiophiles bristle at the thought of so much DSP going on. Many people will gravitate to the new SoundLink III because of it's new case design, louder sound, vastly improved battery life (a claimed 14 hours) and improved overall sound compared to the previous SoundLink and SoundLink II speakers. This speaker sounds best when you can place it near a wall to allow the 2 passive radiators on the back side to reflect the sound off the wall. This is one secret to the bass sound that Bose is known for. I'm more impressed with this SoundLink III than I was with the SoundLink II or SoundLink. It's a much more worthy upgrade than the upgrade from SoundLink to SoundLink II was. But for my money and ears, I continue to be impressed with the value and sound quality that the SoundLink Mini provides. That's the sweet spot in the Bose lineup for me.


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