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Bose SoundLink Micro
September 20, 2017
9.9 x 9.9 x 3.6 cm
Portable Bluetooth speakers are a great way to bring the party anywhere, but they often forgo sound quality for portability. That’s not the case with the Bose SoundLink Micro. Even a few years after its release, this waterproof speaker remains one of our favorites. It even has an elastic strap that can loop around your bike or bag during an outdoor adventure day.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on August 23, 2023, to answer FAQ about Bluetooth pairing and Party Mode, to add the UE WONDERBOOM 3 to Alternatives, and to update formatting.
Hikers can latch this speaker to a backpack strap. It’s just asking for your to take it on your next big adventure, and the IPX7 rating means you can take it out in the rain. Bikers can secure the speaker around their handlebars and play music while biking. This is preferred to using earbuds while commuting because you can stay aware of all that’s going on around you. Students who need a reliable Bluetooth speaker should get the SoundLink Micro. From dorm parties to apartment parties, there’s bound to be a time and a place that needs music. Despite its size, the Micro actually gets quite loud and can provide a college dorm room with good sound.
What is it like to use the Bose SoundLink Micro?
The SoundLink Micro is available in black, midnight blue, and orange. A soft-touch rubberized finish, identical to the (discontinued) Bose SoundLink Color II, makes it easy to grip while protecting it from the environment. Although the SoundLink Micro is resistant to water, it can’t float like the UE Roll 2. Still, it makes for a great shower speaker. For the curious, the speaker continues to play music while submerged. Just for kicks, I tried to use Google Assistant while it was submerged and couldn’t get it to work. When out of the water, the Micro’s microphone effectively registers voices for smart assistant requests and phone calls.
This durable speaker also includes a tear-resistant silicone strap. Try as you may, that strap knows resilience. It’s easy to latch this onto a backpack, bike rack, or anything else you can wrap it around. The latch secures into a cutout built into the back of the speaker, which keeps things nice and tidy.
How do you connect the Bose SoundLink Micro?
The SoundLink Micro only supports the SBC Bluetooth codec, but it has a premium feature too: Bluetooth multipoint. You can connect it to two source devices at once. This nifty feature lets you stream music from your computer while keeping an ear on notifications from your smartphone.
Audio lags behind video with a one-second delay. The same goes for commands like skipping tracks. This isn’t a deal-breaker so long as you don’t watch videos, but can be annoying at times, especially when you don’t know if it’s just a latency issue or if Google Assistant didn’t hear you.
To pair the Bose SoundLink Micro with your device follow these steps:
- Ensure that in your device’s settings Bluetooth is enabled for finding nearby devices.
- Press the power button.
- Press-and-hold the Bluetooth button on the SoundLink Micro until the Bluetooth LED blinks blue (about three to five seconds), and a voice prompts saying it’s ready to connect.
- Select the Bose SoundLink Micro under devices.
- (Optionally) download the Bose Connect app to access all the features.
What does the Bose Connect app do?
The Bose Connect app offers fun features like Party Mode, which lets you connect two SoundLink speakers for double the audio output. You can even use Party Mode to listen in stereo, so long as you place the speakers far enough apart. You also get other features from the Bose Connect app like an auto-off timer, virtual volume controls, and more. While all of these things are nice to have, the main reason you should get the Bose Connect app is for access to firmware updates at the cost of some of your data.
To pair two Bose SoundLink Micro speakers simultaneously for Party Mode, or stereo you’ll need the Bose Connect app already set up with one of them. Here’s how to do it without the app.
- Bluetooth connect that one SoundLink Micro as you would ordinarily.
- On the already connected speaker simultaneously press-and-hold the Bluetooth and volume up buttons.
- At the same time press-and-hold the Bluetooth and volume decrease buttons on the second speaker until you hear a tone.
- Wait roughly 10 seconds for a voice to confirm Party Mode.
Here’s how to pair two Bose speakers with the Bose Connect app:
- Turn on both speakers.
- Pair one of the speakers as you would ordinarily.
- Open Bose Connect app, and select Party Mode.
- Select Continue and wait for your second speaker to connect. If that doesn’t work, try turning the second speaker off and on again.
If you want to switch to or from Party Mode (which plays audio in mono, just on more than one speaker) to or from stereo, go to the Party Mode section of the app once the speakers have both connected, just scroll down and tap Stereo L/R.
How’s the battery life on the Bose SoundLink Micro?
The Bose SoundLink Micro’s battery life falls short of the 6-hour playtime. When we set the volume to 50%, we squeezed out around 5 hours of playtime.
According to Bose, a 1A power source will take 4 hours to complete a full charge cycle while a 1.5A source will take closer to 3 hours. That ratio of charge time to playback time — not great. On the flip side, users can simultaneously play music while charging if at home or using a portable power pack.
Does the Bose SoundLink Micro sound good?
This speaker gets plenty loud. Volume output rivals the larger SoundLink Color II but can’t quite match it. Still, users won’t away with blasting the volume from a modestly sized apartment complex. As a matter of fact, the most defining aspect of this speaker may very well be its volume. Though it won’t be able to entertain a large party, the Micro can certainly handle intimate gatherings.
Lows, mids, and highs
Its minuscule size is misleading since the SoundLink Micro pumps out unexpectedly strong bass. With volume maxed out while playing Stupid Rose by Kweku Collins, I can feel the air movement against my hand when it’s 10cm away from the speaker.
The SoundLink Micro reproduces Collins’ vocals clearly and the low-end doesn’t overwhelm higher pitched sound until the volume reaches 75%. Again, bumping the volume beyond 60% diminishes sound quality. In Stupid Rose, treble clarity drops off during the synth-solo that begins at 2:45.
Does the Bose SoundLink Micro have a microphone?
The Bose SoundLink Micro belongs to a rare breed of Bluetooth speaker that includes an integrated microphone system, which is great, but it doesn’t sound spectacular. Low and midrange vocal frequencies are attenuated which can make you sound a bit unnatural. Plus, there seems to be some static that’s relayed during phone calls. Take a listen to and rate the demo below, doing so really helps other readers understand how the mic compares to a wide variety of products.
Bose SoundLink Micro microphone demo (non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
As of December 6, 2021, a total of 85% of readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty good result for a Bluetooth speaker microphone, and at the upper end of what you should expect to get out of any products of this type.
Should you buy the Bose SoundLink Micro?
If you’re big on traveling and want a speaker that you can take anywhere, the Bose SoundLink Micro is the Bluetooth speaker for you. Bose’s speaker may rock some outdated hardware, like the microUSB input, but it’s one of the best sounding portable speakers in this price range. Bike commuters and dorm party hosts everywhere will get plenty of use out of this portable speaker for years to come. Bose’s one-year warranty may not be the most impressive thing we’ve come across but it has you covered as far as manufacturing defects are concerned.
For those on the fence, know this: you won’t be disappointed by the SoundLink Micro. This is one of the best compact, durable, portable speakers around.
Should you buy this over the Bose SoundLink Micro or the SoundLink Color II?
There are plenty of reasons to go with this micro speaker over the larger alternative. The SoundLink Micro is less than half the size of the Bose SoundLink Color II and half the weight. If travel is your main concern, the SoundLink Micro is the better pick. Not only does it take up less space, but it can also be hooked onto almost anything.
The Bose-branded SoundLink Micro and Color II share many of the same features: both can connect to an Amazon Echo Dot and both support virtual assistants like Google Assistant. Both support Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, allowing for each speaker to simultaneously connect to two devices via Bluetooth multipoint. The main difference regarding features, is that the SoundLink Color II includes a 3.5mm input.
If you want better and louder audio output, get the (discontinued) Bose SoundLink Color II for $203 at Amazon.
What should you get instead of the Bose SoundLink Micro?
The Bose SoundLink Flex is the most direct alternative to the SoundLink Micro, and is within the same SoundLink series of speakers. With the SoundLink Flex, you get a more compact design with a smaller, non-detachable loop that you can hook through a carabiner. It charges via USB-C, and features a more durable IP67 dust- and water-resistant build. This makes the SoundLink Flex a better adventure speaker than the SoundLink Micro, but it’s also sometimes pricier ($129 at Amazon).
Alternatively, JBL has a great lineup of waterproof speakers that sound great for their modest prices. You can save some dough and go with the JBL Clip 4 ($59 at Amazon), or the even cheaper JBL GO 3 ($39 at Amazon). These are both compact speakers that you can easily clip onto your bag or bike handlebars, and they both have long-lasting battery life perfect for your day-long summer adventures.
If you want to spring a bit more cash while still staying under the $100-mark, get the UE WONDERBOOM 3. The main benefit here is that the WONDERBOOM 2 floats and it emits 360-degree sound and its rated for 14 hours of battery power for $91.99 at Amazon. Oddly, it still uses a micro-USB charger.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, the Bose SoundLink Micro can be used for phone calls. The microphone quality isn’t great, though. If you intend to use it for professional calls, you may want to go with a dedicated headset for conference calls.