Bose - Bose SoundLink Color II


Bose SoundLink Color II: a portable speaker placed between two chairs

Aprox. 99€ - see price -

See specifications

At the end of 2014, the Bose SoundLink Color had succeeded in establishing itself as an interesting and cheaper alternative to the star of the time, the SoundLink Mini from the same manufacturer. Three years later, the portable speaker market has changed considerably, and more than decent speakers at a very reasonable price are no longer in short supply. The SoundLink Color II therefore faces much more fierce competition ... including at Bose.

Positive points

Its balanced.

Exemplary Bluetooth ergonomics.

Excellent hands-free kit.

Splash protection ...

Bad points

... and "only" against splashes (IPX4 certification).

Very short bass.

Distortion, fairly "plastic" sound.

Slightly weak power.

Very directive treble.

Our review


In terms of design, little has changed between the first SoundLink Color of the name and its heiress. The lines have only been slightly modified, and the colors revised - the Color II is available in turquoise blue, orange pink, white and gray. Otherwise, the covering is made of the same rubbery plastic, relatively usual for a portable speaker. It gives the enclosure proper protection against impact.

The only difference of importance is this layer of plastic which now covers the entire enclosure, including the control panel on top. A detail that allows it to be now resistant to splashes. This is certainly a good thing, but we can still be slightly disappointed with the low level of this protection: it only responds to IPX4 certification, ie immunity against splashes of light water, while many competitors go up to IPX7. Be careful not to drop it in the pool or in the bath water.

The orders are perfectly exhaustive. We particularly appreciate the presence of a source selection button, which allows you to select in a completely controlled manner whether you want to listen to the device connected via Bluetooth or the one connected to the 3.5 mm mini-jack input - a rarer luxury than you might think on portable speakers.

As always with Bose, the wireless ergonomics of the SoundLink Color II are absolutely exemplary. The speaker can connect to three different Bluetooth sources simultaneously, automatically broadcasting the stream from the device on which playback has just been started. On iOS and Android, the Bose Connect application gives access to all the functionalities that can be expected from it: personalization of the name of the speaker, management of Bluetooth connections, association of several speakers in stereo or mono, deactivation and change the language of the voice prompts, modify the duration of inactivity before the automatic shutdown, and finally update the internal software of the speaker.

The icing on the cake, the SoundLink Color II is also equipped with a high-quality hands-free microphone kit, with effective noise reduction, but which manages to leave the naturalness of the voice intact in most situations. captured.

According to our measurement carried out with the volume set at approximately 66% of its maximum value, the autonomy amounts to 9 hours. An honest value, which is still in the low average of the speakers of this size.



The ergonomic assessment is therefore very positive, but alas, the audio is far from rising to the same level. All told, this SoundLink Color II even has some flaws that we find surprising from Bose.

The single speaker provides a monophonic sound whose frequency response is certainly good, with an excellent balance over all the frequencies reproduced. However, a first weakness is already showing: the extension in the bass, limited to 80 Hz, is far from being spectacular. The passive radiator at the rear of the speaker is indeed quite inefficient and never really manages to produce well-maintained bass notes. It is disappointing compared to the obstruction of the object, all the more coming from a manufacturer who precisely largely built his reputation on his speakers with the report "level of seriousness / size" unbeatable. See for example the SoundLink Micro, much more compact, and yet capable of going down to ... 100 Hz, almost as low as this Color II!

The Color II lacks bass, therefore, but that's not all. Power and control are also somewhat lacking. The first point can be seen very simply by the fact that at the maximum volume, not only does the speaker remain confined to a relatively modest level of sound emission, but it must in addition apply to the sound a dynamic compression which is strong enough to arrives at this level. The pumping effect is as blatant as it is unpleasant, regardless of the type of music heard. To avoid having to undergo it, it is necessary never to exceed 75% on the volume control.

And even then, we can still regret a sound a little too polluted by the distortion and some parasitic resonances. It is adorned with a somewhat "plastic" and sometimes slightly aggressive sound: certain human voices, in particular, can become a little nasal, for example. Likewise, the transition between bass and low mids, between 200 and 300 Hz, is poorly assumed: the too pronounced distortion in the low frequencies means that the timbre of a bass guitar or cello, for example, does not fails to remain consistent over its entire range.

Let's not be too virulent with the sound performances of this SoundLink Color II. As disappointing as they are, they are not dishonor either: it is worth emphasizing once again the perfect balance of the frequency response on the reproduced spectrum - at least as long as you stay in front of the speaker, since its treble is very directive. But ultimately, as we started to say above, it is the competition from the SoundLink Micro that does it the greatest harm. In 2014, the first Color of the name was an interesting entry-level product in the world of portable speakers. In 2017, the Color II only offers sound that is marginally better than that of our reference ultra-portable speakers, with more space, and at a higher price. Difficult to recommend it in these circumstances.



Amidst the excellent SoundLink Micro and SoundLink Revolve, the SoundLink Color II struggles to convincingly complement the Bose line of portable speakers. The in-between in which it is found vain: for a few euros less, the Micro does not have much to envy him on the audio level, while offering a much smaller footprint; for a few euros more, a Libratone Zipp Mini offers a whole new level of sound experience, plus multiroom functionality.