Bose Portable Smart Speaker: The Perfect Addition to Your Home

The compact Bose Portable Smart Speaker performs exceptionally, delivering impressive bass despite its small size. Its water-resistant construction enables you to carry it with you, even for outdoor activities like picnics. Additionally, the speaker is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This allows you to select the smart assistant that best suits your needs.

While the speaker is pricier than some alternatives, it also has a limited selection of streaming services available. Moreover, the extent of smart functions available may vary depending on your location in the world.

The Bose brand has a wide-ranging ecosystem, and smart speakers are a logical addition to its lineup. The smart speaker bose portable speaker seeks to merge intelligent features with portability. This enables seamless movement from room to room or outdoor settings. However, with numerous smart speakers available, is the Bose Portable Smart Speaker distinctive?

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Experience Using Bose Smart Speaker

Using the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a breeze, and it lives up to its name by being compact and highly portable, complete with a convenient handle for carrying. Weighing approximately 1kg and measuring 191.5mm x 119mm x 104mm. It is easy to move around without feeling too heavy or bulky.

The speaker also has an IPX4 rating, which provides some peace of mind against water splashes or drips. While it is not fully submersible or suited to harsh conditions, incidental moisture should not be a concern. Bose states that it can sit near bodies of water, but it may not survive if accidentally submerged. Nonetheless, you can take it outside to a patio or park and enjoy background music during a picnic without worry.

If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, the smart speaker bose will work as a regular portable Bluetooth speaker. But you won’t be able to use its smart features.

How to Set Up Bose Portable Smart Speaker

Setting up the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a refreshing change from other smart speakers, as it is relatively straightforward. While it is clear that this model is designed to integrate with other Bose speakers, it can operate independently. You can choose to set up either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, choose your preferred streaming service, and then give voice commands.

However, as a Wi-Fi speaker with Bluetooth capabilities, it shares the same peculiarity as many similar configurations: when connected solely via Wi-Fi, only compatible apps can play audio through the speaker, and others will not. For instance, if you open YouTube on your phone when it isn’t connected via Bluetooth, the audio will play through your phone rather than the speaker. To make sure that all audio plays over the Bose Portable Smart Speaker, you can establish Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options.

Control Buttons

All the control buttons on the Bose Portable Smart Speaker are located on the top side, including power, Bluetooth pairing, volume up and down, play/pause, mic mute, and an action button. Additionally, the status LEDs are also located in this area, which can become quite detailed. All of the buttons are concave circles, and apart from a small nub under the power button, they are visually indistinguishable from each other. This may pose some challenges for visually impaired users. However, the action button can be utilized in tandem with your voice assistant to carry out various functions.

Voice commands are undoubtedly one of the defining features of a smart speaker, and the Bose Portable Smart Speaker allows you to use them to adjust volume, make inquiries, and perform other actions. Nevertheless, not every music streaming service allows you to play/pause content or skip tracks via voice commands. Bose provides a list of the smart assistants and music streaming services that can be controlled by voice commands in different regions around the world. If your combination of smart assistant, region, and streaming service is not on the list, you may not have access to all of the available features.

Bose Music App

It seems like the Bose Music app is essential for setting up the Portable Smart Speaker with Wi-Fi, selecting a smart assistant, and choosing a compatible streaming service. The app also offers a basic equalizer to adjust bass and treble and lets you assign a room and name to the speaker. However, compared to other competitors like Sonos, the selection of streaming services offered by the app is quite limited.

One interesting feature of the Bose Music app is that it can interact with multiple Bose products, including headphones and speakers. The SimpleSync feature let you play the same content over multiple speakers simultaneously. Or you can listen through headphones while controlling the volume of the speaker independently.

Overall, while the app may be a bit under-featured, it is necessary for getting the most out of the Portable Smart Speaker’s smart assistant and Wi-Fi capabilities. However, you can still use the speaker via Bluetooth without the app if necessary.

To set up the Bose Portable Smart Speaker for the first time, you will need to use the Bose Music app to connect it to your Wi-Fi network. The process is simple and easy to follow:

  1. Power on the speaker.
  2. Launch the Bose Music app.
  3. Tap the “+” icon.
  4. Choose the Bose Portable Smart Speaker from the available devices list.
  5. Follow the steps on the display to complete the setup process.

Connectivity

Bose Portable Smart Speaker does not support Bluetooth multipoint, which means that you cannot connect multiple devices to the speaker simultaneously via Bluetooth. However, the speaker can store up to eight devices in memory, which makes it easier to switch between devices without needing to go through the Bluetooth syncing process each time.

It’s true that the Bose Portable Smart Speaker can connect to Wi-Fi using the Bose Music app or via Bluetooth 4.2 with support for AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs. However, as you mentioned, Android users may not have a reliable high-quality, low-latency option available for Bluetooth connectivity.

Android devices generally support the AptX Bluetooth codec, which offers better audio quality and lower latency than AAC and SBC. However, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker doesn’t support AptX. This means that Android users may experience slightly lower audio quality and higher latency when streaming audio over Bluetooth compared to iOS users.

High Quality Audio Over Bluetooth

That being said, the difference in quality and latency may not be noticeable for most users, and the speaker can still deliver high-quality audio over Bluetooth for both iOS and Android users.

In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the speaker also supports other wireless streaming options, including Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Chromecast. This means that you can stream your own local content to the speaker using these services. However, it’s worth noting that the speaker does not support HD or Ultra HD playback, which means that if you have a library of high-quality FLAC files, you won’t be able to take full advantage of them.

To connect to the Bose Portable Smart Speaker without the Bose Music app using Bluetooth, you can follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Bluetooth button on top of the speaker. You will hear a tone and the light ring goes blue.
  2. Enable Bluetooth on the device you want to connect to and make sure it’s in pairing mode.
  3. Select the “Bose Portable Smart Speaker” on the list of available Bluetooth devices on your device.
  4. Wait for another tone and confirmation from the speaker, which should indicate a successful connection. The light ring will turn solid blue before fading off.

Once the connection is established, you should be able to stream audio from your device to the speaker over Bluetooth.

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Battery life

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker comes with a USB-C cable and an adapter in the box for charging, which is likely because the speaker requires a significant amount of power to charge efficiently.

In terms of battery life, our testing found that the speaker can last up to 13 hours and 6 minutes with constant music playback at 75dB(SPL) from a one-meter distance. This actually exceeds Bose’s claim of 12 hours. This is great news for users who need the speaker to last for an extended period of time. With this kind of battery life, the speaker should easily last through a party or a day trip without needing to be recharged.

Bose does sell a separate charging stand for the Portable Smart Speaker. This offer allows you to charge the speaker while it’s seated upright. However, you can also charge the speaker using the included USB-C cable and adapter. The speaker can continue to play content while charging. Of course, this is a useful feature for those who want to use the speaker while it’s charging.

According to Bose, it takes about four hours to fully charge the battery using the included adapter. This is relatively fast considering the speaker’s battery life of up to 13 hours. So, you won’t have to wait too long before being able to use the speaker again.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker Sound Quality

It’s worth noting that the Bose Portable Smart Speaker does still have some limitations when it comes to its frequency response. As with most portable Bluetooth speakers, it doesn’t have the capacity to produce deep sub-bass notes. This can be a bit disappointing for users who are looking for a really powerful bass response. However, the speaker does offer some options for compensating for this deficiency. For example, adjusting the bass level in the app’s equalizer or placing the speaker in a corner to enhance the bass response.

Adjustable Basic Equalizer

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker can be placed almost anywhere due to its portability. Also, Bose recommends placing it in a corner for maximum effect. This positioning results in a powerful bass response, as evidenced by the reproduction of punk track “333” by Against Me!, with strong bass notes for a small speaker. Despite this, the clarity remains intact, and the vocals and cymbals are audible. To reduce the bass, the basic equalizer you can adjust the Bose Music app to -10 or -20.

The speaker’s bass response is most effective when placed on a solid surface close to a wall or corner, as opposed to a table. This position allows the low notes lose their impact. By considering the placement of the speaker, you can compensate for its smaller drivers and achieve a more powerful sound. However, hanging the speaker from its strap can compromise its bass.

Mid and High Notes

In terms of mid and high notes, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker performs well. It handles these frequencies better than some other speakers like JBL Flip 6. For instance, it reproduces synthesized electronic highs with clarity in Brendan Maclean’s “Tectonic.” When the song transitions to bass and highs together, the synthesizer becomes quieter than the lows. Adjusting the bass in the Bose Music app can help to achieve a more balanced sound.

Phone Calls

It is possible to make phone calls with the Bose Portable Smart Speaker, but not through your mobile carrier. Instead, you can use Amazon Alexa and call someone who also uses Alexa on a compatible product. This feature only works over Wi-Fi and is not compatible with Google Assistant.

Summary

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a fitting device for those seeking a straightforward and user-friendly smart home speaker. The device is versatile, you can use over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Also, it can be conveniently carried outdoors to the park or patio. Furthermore, you have a choice of Alexa or Google Assistant. So, you can control playback using voice commands if using a compatible streaming service. Bose offers other compatible smart speakers for those looking to set up a multi-room system. Additionally, the device functions well out of the box compared to other smart speakers tested.

However, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is relatively expensive for a starter smart speaker, including the Bose smart speaker 500. The selection of streaming services is limited, and the user is confined to a closed system. If the cost is not an issue, and the user already employs one of the streaming services it supports, the device is likely to provide an enjoyable experience.

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