STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ relatively deep, differentiated bass
+ warm, harmonious tonal balance
+ Analogue input, party and stereo mode
+ NFC, app, mic for calls and voice command
– Treble a bit dull, somewhat soft impulses
– Keys poorly recognizable
Sound: tonal balance / transparency6
Sound: bass / dynamics5.5
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.5
Price / Performance8
The rubber surface covering the entire speaker might be misleading: Bose´s Soundlink Color 2 is a suitable companion for traveling with just a pound to carry and a slim 2.2″ in depth. But it is surely not made to be placed on a sandy beach but rather suitable for the shelf in the hotel room. Keeping its ideal upright position and pointing at the listener´s ears from the same height is as important as keeping it away from water or sand anyway. It is declared to only reach protection class IPX4, i.e. splash water resistance, which will ensure it surviving a brief rain shower.
In return, it has a very pleasant shape with rounded edges, making it easy to stow it both in a backpack or a small travel bag. The choice of five colours is enabling any future owner to reflect his or her individual taste. Only three of them could really be called colourful, as the product´s name suggests: yellow, blue and red. Strictly speaking, the other two are just shades of gray: light gray and black.
Features and connectivity
Bose´s designated Connect app can be used to manage the settings, such as deactivating the voice announcements or changing the language. By default, the Soundlink Color 2 announces the momentary battery level when turned on and the name of the connected device once connection is established. Bluetooth pairing with compatible smart devices is very simple thanks to NFC. The speaker also identifies up to 8 devices being previously connected. For some time now, Bose has also been offering the option of linking a Bose Home Speaker 300 or Home Speaker 500 to a SoundLink Color 2 via the Bose SimpleSync process. This allows the same music to be played synchronously on both devices to form some kind of simplified multi-room setup.
A fully charged battery of the pleasantly shaped loudspeaker lasts for about eight hours. From Bose we expect usually a rather conservative estimation which might be exceeded running the speaker at moderate SPL.
The app can also be used to flip Bluetooth sources connected to the Bose speaker, so 2 amateur DJs at a little party can play alternatingly. There is also the option of stereo pairing if you own two Soundlink Color 2.
The fun of using Bose´s speaker interacting with its Connect app, (available for iOS and Android), first requires patience: As known from many Wifi devices, software update is initiated automatically, which took what felt like an eternity despite relying on a fast Wifi connection when testing.
Say it again, Siri
The built-in mic allows accepting calls using the multifunctional button or activating voice assistants such as Apple Siri and Google Assistant. Start/stop as well as track skipping (fast double click) is also initiated with the very same button. That is kind of common practice, even though most Bluetooth speakers offer a designated play/pause key.
However, skipping tracks with the iPhone took quite some time. At first, only the music stopped playing. So one should not be impatient and press again. And using Siri via iPhone was bearing a catch as well. If you do not turn up the volume well above 50%, which is already quite loud when listening to music with the Bose Soundlink Color 2 on the desk, you might have difficulties understanding the subtly murmuring Apple voice assistant.
Unmistakably Bose, also in terms of sound
The sound is typical Bose: very round and pleasing and with a certain charm. However, the reproduction also seems a bit dull in the treble region and not particularly transparent. So it’s more suitable for pleasant background music rather than for a rousing party or sophisticated hi-fi listening. And you can feel noticable differences in the actually surprising clarity of the sound whether you are sitting exactly opposite to the speaker or outside its sweet spot due to a somewhat uneven directivity pattern.
The bass is amazing considering the size of the enclosure. It offers quite some punch, formidable plays depth and seems differentiated and clean. However, if you push it to be a bit louder, one might notice a certain fatigue, just as the character is not particularly dynamic in general.
The image remains compact in mono mode and does not detach properly from the speaker. A second unit in stereo mode could be a remedy, but the whole team would then be quite expensive.
Conclusion and alternatives to the Bose Soundlink Color 2
The Bose primarily impresses with its light and pleasantly shaped case and an impressive bass. In direct comparison, a Tronsmart Studio offers more subjective dynamics, transparency and hi-fi radiance at half the price. The competitor, which is similar in shape to the original Bose Soundlink, is twice as heavy and more bulky due to its metal case (which is actually a plus except for transport).
Specifications Bose Soundlink Color 2
- Retail price: 140 Euro
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 13.3 x 12.7 x 5.7 cm
- Weight: 540 g
- Features: splash-proof according to IPX4, built-in mic for calls and voice assistants, stereo pairing, NFC
- More at www.bose.com
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