Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III Review

The majority of the general public is holding its arms wide, ready to embrace any product made by Bose. The reason being, the company is known to build excellent Bluetooth speakers. I’ve put to test many of their products and they have always earned my respect and admiration. Somehow or the other Bose manages to deliver the whole package (i.e. elegant design, portability, and performance) with each and every one of its speaker models. The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III is no exception.

Following in the footsteps of SoundLink Mini, Bose introduced another wireless model – The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III. The latest model might not be as pleasing to the visual senses as the earlier models, but the new design won’t disappoint you one bit. To ensure SoundLink III pips the competition, the makers rightly focused on improving the battery life and enhancing sound quality. To get my hands on Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III I had to shell out more than usual. Did the new Bluetooth speaker match my expectation? Here is my take on the product.

 

Bose Soundlink III Bluetooth Speaker Review
The Great
Solid sound quality, clean music, deep bass
Long battery life
Sleek and sturdy design
Remembers up to six paired devices
The Not-So Great
Hefty price tag
Bass too boomy, less crispy at high volume
Does not support WiDi or Wi-Fi
Key Highlights
  • Many tech editors consider the Bose SoundLink III as the best mobile Bluetooth speaker
  • This latest version is designed to play music with clarity, depth, and fullness
  • Play music that’s already in Bluetooth devices like tablets, PCs, smartphones, etc.
  • Bose has improved battery life so that we can play music non-stop. A full battery charge would last up to 14 hours
  • To power up the rechargeable Lithium battery, use the adapter given. I also recharged the speaker using the 12V car charger.
  • The Bose SoundLink III is truly versatile. We can use SoundLink III like a traditional speaker by connecting the audio source to speaker via the Aux-In connector
  • To ensure the speaker stays compatible with future versions of Bluetooth, USB port option for updating the software is provided in the speaker
  • The Bluetooth speaker remembers up to six paired devices. I tried to pair more, but with every new device, the speaker no longer connected to least recent device
  • The battery icon on the front side indicates the charge level

 

Ratings

Design Features Sound Warranty Overall

 

Specifications

Price Range  $$$
Weight 3.03 lbs
Dimensions (H x W x D) 5.18 x 10.08 x 1.89 inch
Battery Life 14 hours
Wireless Range 30-feet
Power Battery, AC Adapter
Wireless Remote Control No

 

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Lets Break It Down

 

Design

Some call it a dull design that lacks imagination, but I liked its simplicity. The makers have done the right thing by not designing it too flashy and stylish. Its beauty lies in its clean, simple, and elegant design. Two key elements that were the hallmark of the previous models were missing in SoundLink III. Apart from being larger, the edges have been tampered with, and the cover which doubles up as stand has been cast off. The previous models had a slightly curved base; I had to use the cover cum stand feature to support the speaker. The latest version of the Bose Bluetooth speaker has a flat base.

Does it look like a $200+ gadget? The answer is yes. The light and dark gray colored body, backlit icons, steel gray finish, and silicone rubber buttons give the speaker a classic look. I don’t buy speakers to keep them safe at home; I carry them around. The SoundLink III speakers are well-built, compact, and slightly heavy. So, I had no problem carrying it in my backpack.

If you’re like me, a music lover who spends a lot of time outdoors, then using a protective cover on the Bluetooth speaker is a good idea. The well-designed covers don’t impact the volume or the performance of the speaker. Since Bose SoundLink III is larger in size; it won’t fit in a cover made for SoundLink Mini.

Similar to the previous versions, the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III has six buttons on the top. The Power button to on/off the speaker, the Bluetooth button, the Aux button to play music from a device attached using the Aux connector, the mute button to mute/unmute, and the increase/decrease volume buttons. On the front side, there are four indicators, namely, the power, Bluetooth, mute, and battery. The speaker does not provide any button to play/pause and to skip music tracks. I had to use the pause option on my handheld device to halt the music. The SoundLink III is available only in the classic gray look, but we can personalize and add protection by adding a suitable cover.

 

Functionality

Pairing the speaker with a Bluetooth device is an effortless process. Press the power button to switch on and pair the device. The speaker will make itself discoverable for other devices. A blinking Bluetooth button indicates the speaker is ready to be paired. On the gadget which has the music files, activate the Bluetooth option and search for the speaker. When the Bose SoundLink III option shows up, select it and enter the passcode (i.e. 0000). Once the devices are paired, the Bluetooth indicator will turn solid white from blinking blue and an alert tone will be heard.

Pairing additional Bluetooth devices is not much different. Press the Bluetooth button till the indicator shows blinking blue. Switch on the Bluetooth on the device, select the speaker, enter “0000” as the passcode, and pair the device. The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III can store up to six paired devices. To completely erase the memory, press and hold the Bluetooth button for 10 seconds or till an alert tone is heard.

What about devices that don’t have Bluetooth? I didn’t have to shift all my music files from non-Bluetooth device to Bluetooth gadget just to play them on SoundLink III. The Bose speaker has an Aux input option. To connect a device to the Aux connector switch on the speaker, insert the Aux connector, and press the Aux button to play the music.

The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III has a maximum range of 30 feet. Keep in mind that obstacles like metal objects, walls, etc. can impact signal reception. I bought the SoundLink III because I didn’t want the whole room to listen to my phone call. Fortunately, the speaker pauses when I get a phone call. It doesn’t relay the call audio. When I end the call, the music automatically resumes.

Inside the box, there were only three items – the speaker, AC power adapter, and AC power supply. I had to purchase a 3.5mm audio plug to use the auxiliary input option separately. Connector for micro-USB port is also absent.

 

Performance

As promised, Bose has improved the performance of its speaker. The new signal processing algorithm, dual opposing passive radiators, and four neodymium transducers combine to play the music louder. Bose has managed to make the speaker louder without affecting the balance and clarity (less distortion) at high volume. I felt, the audio was less crispy at high volume and the bass was too boomy, but I seldom listen at high volume. I’m very much satisfied with the clarity at low and medium volume.

On the back side of the speaker are the Aux-In connector, micro-USB port, and DC connector. At first, I thought there were two charging options. I was wrong; the USB port is only for updating the software. Bose has improved the battery life of the speaker. In SoundLink III a single charge lasts up to 14 hours. This is 30% more than the earlier versions. To conserve battery power the speaker will automatically switch off if no audio is played for half an hour (30 minutes).

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Our Verdict

The Bluetooth speaker market has become very competitive; there are numerous brands competing to capture public attention. The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III is expensive and has only limited features compared to other brands and models. So, is SoundLink III a worthy buy? It surely is. It delivers on its promises – classic design (check), better battery life (check), improved performance (less distortion, clear sound at low and medium volume) (check).

Bose Soundlink III Bluetooth Speaker Review