I have been stared at and argued with for suggesting that large, expensive music systems were slowly dying a sure death. The smartphone is now the music hub of the house, while wireless speakers are its able accomplices. You can get one of these for as low as Rs 1,000, but you can also get one of those that really replace the large five-speaker unit you just gave away to the maid. In the latter category falls the new Bose SoundLink Color. The SoundLink Color is the successor to the compact SoundLink III and SoundLink Mini. But is it a worth successor.
Design: It is hard to describe what the SoundLink Color looks like. It is all speaker in front and comes with a neat row of buttons on top. Towards the rear you have the micro-USB for power and an Auxiliary port in case you don’t want to go wireless. The unit weighs half a kg and will easily fit into your handbag or even the pocket of your jacket or cargos. The review unit was a very young shade of blue that seems to go well with Bose’s new found love for vibrant colours.
Setup: Bose has always excelled in making life simple for its users. Even the more complex AirPlay set ups would be smoothly executed the way this company does stuff. The SoundLink Colour too has a simple press and connect Bluetooth system that lets you start beaming songs to this speaker in under a minute. There are voice commands to let you know which device it is pairing with. also, the unit can recognise up to eight devices and pairs instantly to the last two. Once linked to your phone or tablet, the SoundLink can be used to adjust the volume as well as play/pause on the source device as well.
Performance: Bose has for years perfected the art of making its speakers sound better than what you would expect from their size or shape. It is like saying you do not need tower speakers to fill a room with great sound. The SoundLink Mini was the best example of this, being able to hold the strings of a party firmly in its hands even though the unit could also come within your grip.
The SoundLink Colour is no different. It can be both loud and subtle as needed. When it is loud it can be the soul of a rather large party. It can also bring in the soulful voice of Jagjit Singh when you are not in the mood for anything overboard. It does both without giving you a sense of its size. The music that emanates from this box is unconstrained and free, thanks to the dual-opposing passive radiators paired with a pair of high-efficiency transducers. The sound comes with a sense of space that is otherwise hard to find in small Bluetooth speakers. I played a wide range of genre and was satisfied and at times surprised at its versatility.
Verdict: I don’t need to tell you that the audio quality of this Bose speaker was great too. But what makes the SoundLink Colour different is that it is among the most aggressively priced products from the company. At Rs 11,138, the Bose SoundLink Color is a steal, one that can suffice all your music needs for years to come.