Bose Soundlink Mini II Review – Still the GOAT of Bluetooth Speakers

Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker front on

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Current testing methodology is v1.2

Release Date
June 5, 2013
1.47 lb
2.3 x 7.1 x 2 in

Bose SoundLink Mini II is just a great-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker and still stacks up to modern competitors. 

I’ve been struggling to remember when I actually bought my Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth speaker. 

I’m pretty sure I was on a trip and got it duty-free about six years ago. 

It wasn’t a new model at the time, but I knew it had a pretty good reputation and, of course, I got it at a good price. My brother had already purchased one and kept raving about it. But one person’s opinion doesn’t always mean you will agree.

Editor’s Pick

Bose SoundLink Mini II

Still one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers on the market

Price Range: $$$
Brand: Bose
Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker up close front


An excellent compact speaker with good sound, excellent battery life, and a beautiful sleek design. It fills a room and is perfect by the BBQ. The bass is strong and full without that inflated, over-engineered sound signature. Heavy but portable and tough, making it good to travel with (as long as you’re not already nearly over the weight allowances).

The Specs

  • Speaker Type:  Portable Bluetooth Speakers
  • Control Method:  Voice
  • Battery Life:  12 Hours
  • Batteries:  1 Lithium ion batteries required

What’s in the Box?

  • SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth speaker
  • Charging cradle
  • Wall charger/power supply

Stuff I like

  • Superb sound quality
  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Excellet battery life
  • Good volume

Stuff I like less

  • Heavier compare to other compact speaker

Comparable products to consider

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4

A convenient and easy-to-handle speaker with two leg stand for an direccted and angled sound. Good looking and good sound if you don’t might the round design.

The plan was that I would pair it with the Google Home Mini thing that I had recently been given by Google. And I figured that between the smart speaker and a decent Bluetooth speaker, I’d have a pretty good setup to rock some tunes in the kitchen.

Both, of course, have iterated numerous times on their Bluetooth speaker range since the SoundLink II was created with this array of models, including.

On a recent trip to the local electronic store, and after doing a whole lot of research online, I was quite excited by the idea that it was time to upgrade the SoundLink II to a new unit.

I turned to Sonos and tried their One and One SL units, which I figured would be a comparable comparison, and also tried the latest models from Bose as listed above.

I also spent some time with a couple of UE Booms that friends owned and had brought along to parties at various times over the last couple of years. It wasn’t my first foray into portable Bluetooth speakers having already owned a couple before, whether those were purchased or gifted through my associations with Headphones Canada.

None had really excited me, which is why I thought it was finally time, six years ago to finally upgrade to something decent.

I also bought an Alexa Echo for the kitchen, as I figured having an integrated tall-standing speaker might give me a little bit more bench space than the Google Home and Bose Companion.

Having the Bose certainly was convenient in that I could pick up the speaker and walk out with it, but sometimes a minimalist look gets the partner acceptance factor (PAF) easier.

Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker
The Bose Soundlink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker

So after trying out the Bose, the Sonos, the UE, and Ultimate Ears, and even now six years on, I cannot see any improvement or reason that I would purchase one of these units over the existing Bose SoundLink Mini II that I have.

It’s nothing against the new units. They sound great as do the new Harman Kardon portable Bluetooth speakers, but I just don’t see that there’s enough difference in any of them to make the upgrade necessary.

Here’s what I (still) love about the Bose SoundLink Mini II

For a start, it is very portable and very solid. The metal casing and the docking station, which was an optional extra at the time is an easy traveling companion.

The only negative is the added weight, but when I throw it in a suitcase for either a weekend or a longer trip away, I have confidence that it’s going to arrive at the other end in good shape.

The battery life is more than sufficient for anything that I need and I don’t need the dock. When I travel, I can charge it from the micro USB port. In fact, on a film shoot yesterday, I had the SoundLink playing in the background throughout the day to keep the mood on the shoot a little more vibing.

And the unit ran for around six hours solid with still 40% battery life left. I consider this pretty impressive for a unit that’s now about six years old and has had a lot of use.

Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker top controls
The Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker top controls

In terms of portability around the house, it’s such an easy unit to pick up, put out by the barbecue, take out around the front when we are entertaining playing lawn games, or similar. And its current permanent residence is actually in the bedroom as it’s great to use to fall asleep to music, or even when I’m listening to music on the weekend while having a nana nap or similar.

The Bluetooth pairing is simple enough that if it doesn’t connect to a device on its first go, you can simply press and hold the pairing button and quickly connect to a new unit. It automatically pairs to two devices when you turn it on.

So, be aware of this because if I’m connecting my phone and one of my kids’ iPads connects to it, there can be an interesting array of sounds when all I’m expecting is some Dave Matthews to come out of the speaker.

The volume is more than I would need, and only once have I taken this into a situation where I couldn’t get enough volume to fill the room. Admittedly, this was a large room for a children’s party with about 10 kids screaming and about eight adults talking over the top of the screaming kids. And as it was really just meant for ambient noise, I don’t think we needed to worry about sound quality.

Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker USB and headphone jack
The USB and headphone jack of Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker

The punchline

And here’s the punchline and why I still think this is the GOAT, on top of all the other things, including durability, battery life, and portability, the sound quality on this is still really quite superb. You may not love the Bose sound signature, but when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, I think the SoundLink II is one of their standout, most impressive Bluetooth speakers to date.

And while it is an older unit that may no longer be available on shelves, if you do see this for an affordable price, second-hand, or even new on Amazon or similar, I would still consider it a worthy accessory to your home or portable lifestyle.

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker
Bose SoundLink Mini ii Bluetooth Speaker

The deep bass, the clear meds, and the not-perfect but perfectly acceptable treble mean that when you are listening to it in any situation, you can both feel the music and enjoy the music. The bass is not overly inflated as with some Bluetooth speakers that I’ve heard. And so, overall, after the six-plus years that I’ve owned this, I give the Bluetooth speaker GOAT award.

If you own one, and you’re a fan, let me know in the comments below. And if you just have any general questions about why this gets the GOAT award, you can also file those questions away in the comments below.

Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth Speaker
Bose Soundlink II
Sound Quality
Build Quality
Battery Life
Reader Rating1 Vote

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

This post was last updated on 2024-06-19 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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3 thoughts on “Bose Soundlink Mini II Review – Still the GOAT of Bluetooth Speakers”

  1. I purchased a soundlink from a bose shop and the salesperson demoed it and showed me something really interesting. He put it up against a wall with a small gap between the wall and the speaker. As the bass is rear facing and fires out from the back, the sound bouncing back improves it even more Give it a go and I’m sure you’ll be even more impressed by it!

  2. Hi,

    I was surprised to find a review of such an old wireless speaker. The reviews usually consider only the new stuff. However, sometimes the older stuff is still excellent and worth more that the newer, and you can make great deals buying it second hand, and be environmentally conscious at the same time. Bose Soundlink mini is a great example of such a product.

    I own a 1st generation soundlink mini that is now 10 years old. It still sound quality is still excellent, and I use it around the house and on my travels. At my house I also have a Heos-system with Denon x6700h with floorstanding Amphion speakers. At my cottage I have a bigger Harmankardon wireless speaker. And soundlink mini is not ashamed at all in this company. It does not produce deep bass as the the bigger systems do, but the mids and upper mids are clear and convincing in a way that makes it always a pleasure to listen to it.

    So thank you for making this review. I hope some readers realise the potential of older stuff and grasp the opportunities to enjoy it when they arise.

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