Bose SoundLink

8.2 score
[Editors rating (8.2)] = (TheGearHunt) score (8.2)/10

Editor rating: 8.2 / 10
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Bose SoundLink Review Facts

Sound and fidelity that is synonymous with quality are offered. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, the Space Shuttle program, and the NFL have a critical need to communicate and have clear sound. They come to Bose to be able to provide those things. If they are willing to go to Bose for great sound, imagine how hard the company works to bring that experience to the consumer.

The SoundLink is the first on-ear wireless headphone from Bose. Rated from one to ten, a reviewer rated the SoundLink headphones as nine for design and eight for features, sound, and value. Bose fans have anticipated the release of a wireless noise-canceling headphone.

The SoundLink isn’t quite the answer to the request but is the first model with Bluetooth integrated into it. It is among the top on-ear Bluetooth headphones available. Bose released two wireless headphones last year - the SoundLink Around-Ear II and the SoundLink On-Ear.

They are similar in performance. The on-ear model is a little more affordable than its sibling priced at $279.95. They both offer Bluetooth audio that is solid. A selling point of the SoundLink is its compact size.

As for the listening experience, there is not much beat to these headphones. However, the highs are very good, and the user can hear little nuances in the audio. Also, the vocals are crystal clear. Bose claims the headsets last an average of approximately 15 hours.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable
  • Compact
  • Excellent Sound
  • Simple control panel layout
  • Usable in wired, passive mode
  • Pricey
  • Sound purists are not impressed with the sculpted sound signature


They are not meant for running but can be used at the gym while lifting or doing light cardiovascular exercise. Whether listening to podcasts, music, a favorite newscast, online show or television, only Bose can bring this magical combination of Bose’s level of performance and incredible comfort.

The robust battery is meant to provide use wherever users travel including planes, trains, vacuuming, and playing with the kids. It is the ’little black dress’ of music or audio. One size does fit all for men and women. They make great gifts. The purchaser does not need to know the type of music the recipient likes or the kind of device. The headphones are a gender friendly one-size-fits-all

Basic Features

Included in the box are the headphones, a carrying case, a Micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm cable to use if the user prefers wired headphones. The headphones have everything that has come to be expected from Bose. The features include a remote control button that is well-placed on the right ear cuff.

Advanced Features

There is a two-way microphone system and what Bose refers to as Adaptive Audio Adjustment Technology that automatically changes volume-based on ambient noise and speech levels. It performs the feature well. No problems occur making calls in such places as noisy New York City streets.

Besides the carrying case, consumers get cable for using the headphones in wired mode and a Micro USB charging cable that is rated at 15 hours, which is pretty decent. Bose has included their Intelligent Active EQ feature that reduces ambient noise when using the microphone for calls.

One reviewer found the noise isolation to be quite weak. A lot of background noise could be heard. At a price below $265, there is not much more a consumer can ask of the headphones. The lack of noise isolation and bass are made up for by a list of unique features such as being able to connect to two devices at once, which is useful in many situations.

Sound Quality

As for the sound, the SoundLink is among the best headphones according to reviewers. It may not sound as good as on-ear wired headphones. For a Bluetooth headphone, the sound is pretty natural. A sculpted sound signature is a penchant of Bose. Purists will likely choose another option. The bass is strong, but not overpoweringly so and has excellent clarity.

The consumer gets a touch of what is called Bluetooth artifacts, but the average listener probably won’t hear any of it. On powerful sub-bass tracks, the SoundLink delivers a deep, intense bass response.

When set at an unwise, top listening level, there is no distortion. When the volume is set at moderate to high volume, a full-sound signature is provided by the drivers that are bass-forward without drastically boosting things.

Deep bass, has a rich, natural sound through the headphones. Baritone vocals have a vibrant, low-mid presence with a high-mid edge that produces a clean contour mix. Drums get a subtle bass boost, but not too serious like the mega-subwoofer treatment from overly bass-heavy headphones.

Higher frequencies get the most prominence. Guitar strumming and vocals are more forward than drums and electric bass. The bulk of the sculpted sound is attained by tweaking and boosting mid-lows and highs. Drums get enough treble edge to stay sharp and slice through dense mixes. Sustained lows and mid-lows add to the beat thickness. Depth is created by the sub-bass synth hits punctuating the beat.

The sound is less intense than headphones having a little more low frequencies presences. Vocals are delivered cleanly. They float over the mix without sounding overly sibilant even though there is a robust high-mid presence.

Orchestral tracks get an added brightness without high registering brass, strings, and violins sounding brittle or harsh. There is a barely heightened presence of lows and low-mids. Lower registering instrumentation is delivered with extra gusto.

Instrumentation mostly plays a supporting role. In the passive, wired listening mode, there is no battery pushing the drivers. A little less power is provided to the headphones. They still deliver adequate overall volume and bass response. Many listeners do not notice a significant difference.


There are no problems with pairing the headphones to either Android or iOS devices. Reviewers experienced a minimum of hiccups. Passive, wired listening is possible with the use of a 3.5mm audio cable that is included.

The connection is a jack located on the left ear cuff. When connected, it automatically puts the headphones in the passive mode. The process of pairing the SoundLink is simple. The headphones automatically re-pair with the user’s device when powered up again.

They go into sleep mode after an interval of inactivity. Pressing any button ‘wakes’ the device. There is a switch on the right-hand side that turns the headset on and off and switches between the eight devices that can simultaneously be paired to the headphones.

The can simultaneously connect to two at once which can be switched from on to the other seamlessly. The on/off switch allows cycling from each of the paired devices. Holding the switch will clear the connected devices.

Below the ear cuff, there is also a central volume button and a multifunction button which can play or record audio, change tracks, or summon devices. On the left side, there is not much going on except the 2.5 headphone jack to plug in the included cable when wireless is not desired.

The work wonderfully with any number of devices. They are Bluetooth enabled headphones. It is the wireless technology used to connect devices. Whether it is an Apple device, an Android device, or has Bluetooth capability, it will wirelessly connect beautifully and simply.

There is a lot more than meets the eye with these headphones. When they are turned on, the user is met with a voice inside. It is a voice-prompt system that walks the user through the process of pairing the headphones to a tablet or smartphone. The system is available in different languages. Bose thought of everything, so the user gets the experience without having to be the technician to get the device set up.


At 5.4 ounces or 152.6 grams, they are quite light for Bluetooth headphones. Like their siblings, they are comfortable to wear. They fit snugly on the head, but it is worth mentioning that they move around a bit if the head is shaken vigorously or the user jumps up and down.

SoundLink headphones feel amazing. The combination of an exceptionally comfortable headband and plush ear pads make for a secure fit that manages to eliminate a certain amount of passive, ambient noise.

Both the ear cuffs and the headband are made of memory foam which makes the headphones comfortable to wear for more extended periods. The cushions on the ear cuffs are specifically designed to be an on-ear fit. The memory foam forms to the ear of the wearer. Everyone’s ear is a little different. The memory foam contours to the ear of the user so that they fit as soon as they are placed on the ears.

They conform to the head's size and shape. Combining with a lightweight design ensures the headsets are comfortable and light. Even though the headphones are an on-the-ear design, they are not what people typically think of as far as a big, clunky, cumbersome item.


The headphones are sleek and understated. They come in two colors - black and white with tan and blue accents. They look similar to Bose TrueSound On-Ear wired headphones. The headphones are not as compact and don’t fold flat in their carrying case. The overall package is large.

The design is not for everyone, but any product rarely is. People, looking for a Bluetooth headphone that is less bulky to be worn on the go, at the office, or at home, like the design. The look is simple. It has a canvas covered headband. The outer ear cuff panels have a matte finish with an emblazoned Bose log. On the inside of the earpads, there are large stitched R and L demarcating the right and left ear.

On the right ear outer panel, the microphone is located with the Micro USB port for the USB charging cable. The headphones fold into a small frame. The zip-up pouch is among the most miniature bags for headphones. It easily fits in a tote, backpack, or carry-on.


The headphones are not incredibly durable. They are not sweatproof. However, the center pad fabric is a bit thicker than that of earlier on-ears bose headphones. It is hard to design a set of lightweight headphones to feel and look substantial.

Lightweight often feels cheaply made. Bose has succeeded in their efforts. Although they have a plastic construction, by no means do they feel cheap. They are not luxurious like other Bose headphones. They have a durable and flexible design that doesn’t make the headphones feel as though they will break. When they are folded, the wiring becomes exposed, and it feels like the ear cuffs will snap with a minimal push.

Ease of Use

The middle button is tapped to answer calls. It also allows tracks to be skipped forward and back when playing music. The power switch is housed in the right ear cuff. Dedicated volume buttons that work in conjunction with the volume levels of the mobile device are there also. There is a multifunction button that controls call management, tracks navigation, and playback. Multiple taps trigger a variety of functions.

Power Source

As for battery life, it is terrific. The battery life is estimated to be 15 hours. Reviewers found the claim to be accurate, lasting a full day. Volume impacts battery life results. When the headphones are turned on, the battery percentage is provided.

For some reason, the information is given in multiples of ten. It isn’t an issue, because it is still a reliable indicator. With 15 hours of battery life, the need for cable listening may never occur unless located in a place that the device cannot be charged. With the Quick Charge feature, 15 minutes of charge results in two hours of use.


It retails for $249.95. The $249.95 cost is pretty pricey, but it costs significantly less than the popular Beats Solo2 Wireless over-the-ear model. The Beats Solo2 Wireless are headphones that give a bit more sound isolation, active noise cancellation, and sounds slightly better than the SoundLink.

However, the Bose is lighter and more compact that travels better. That makes it a very compelling choice in the growing market of premium Bluetooth headphones. At $250, the headphones are priced to compete with expensive Bluetooth headphone pairs. The SoundLink On-Ear headphones are not significantly worse or better than other options in the same price range. The smooth operation and compact size may be a deciding factor.

Key Features

* 15-hour battery life
* Access Google Assistant or Siri
* Dual-microphone, noise-reducing system
* Play or pause tracks
* Powerful, crisp sound brings music to life
* Voice prompts provide status updates and guide easy Bluetooth pairing

Bottom Line

Quality headphones are not cheap. A price tag of $250 is a bit pricey, but the Bose SoundLink arguably sounds a bit better than the Beats Solo2 Wireless and is more comfortable to wear. The Bose SoundLink is a comfortably designed on-ear Bluetooth headphone that delivers a high-quality audio experience.

It has plenty of competition in its price range. The comfortable headphones can be folded and placed into a small carrying pouch that makes the perfect for travel. They are available in white or black. When SoundLink is compared to SoundLink Around-Ear II, reviewers prefer the on-ear model. They both offer solid audio. The earphones fold conveniently to make the headphones a compact size. The headsets can be paired with a maximum of eight devices. They have poor noise isolation and relatively flat sound.