“Which portable speaker with AirPlay 2 should I buy?” – Vaibhav asked me. I replied that the Bose Portable Home Speaker or Sonos Move. “Will I meet ten thousand?” No, alas, one costs about 408.60 dollars, the second – 490.32 dollars. The selection was over. Yes, while such speakers are expensive and exotic – once again, we are talking about AirPlay 2 support in a speaker with a battery. But in a year or two, several more companies will get involved in the race: I bet on Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen, of course, Harman concern – prices will become more humane. You have to wait.
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This evolution of portable acoustics is understandable. Simple Bluetooth speakers no longer cause awe or interest – a thing has turned from a curiosity into an ordinary contraption, sales are declining, everyone is already full. Home acoustics with different connectivity options at the start of development seems to me that a breakthrough will happen just about – people began to spend a lot of time at home. If earlier, many people listened to music in the car, they wanted to upgrade their home entertainment systems during the pandemic. And even with a decrease in the number of cases, this desire did not go away – even those friends of mine who were before the flashlight suddenly became interested in high-quality acoustics.
And somewhere here, at the junction of the old and the new, exotic appears, seemingly familiar things grow in sales (hello, soundbars!). Old acquaintances leave the store shelves (so far, wireless necklace headphones!). With TWS headphones, portable acoustics with AirPlay 2 is just the juice, and I recommend all technology enthusiasts take a closer look at this story.
Bose Portable Home Speaker Review: Design & Construction
The column resembles the good old Bose Revolve devices. I really liked such large acoustics. I used it at home and in the country. I understand why Bose chose the same acoustic design for the next generation: there is already a ready-made case, a specially designed driver, it remains to add an electronic “body kit” to this – and the result is a great thing.
But before moving on to the arrangement of elements and details, you need to talk about the concept. There are not many portable AirPlay 2 speakers on the market now that can run on battery power. In my memory, these are the Bose Portable Home Speaker and Sonos Move. Naturally, they did not appear by chance: for people, Wi-Fi works quite well for itself not only in apartments, but also in country houses, many want to get better sound quality even in a portable device, and it’s also great when AirPlay 2 chips can not be obtained only in stationary acoustics.
Let me explain with an example: outside the city, I can use a Bose Portable Home Speaker with an AirPlay 2 connection – say, at home, when everyone is sitting at a table. If you want, take it to the bathhouse or sit on a sun lounger on the lawn. If the Wi-Fi signal is not enough, switch to Bluetooth. In an apartment, such a speaker can be used as a stationary system in the hallway or the bathroom – or pulled out to the balcony and listened to music there. While the miniature Sonos One needs constant power, the Bose Portable Home Speaker and Sonos Move can easily live for hours without an outlet. And this does not affect the sound quality!
Now let’s move on to the features. The column only in the photo seems small; in fact, it is quite voluminous, heavy, and has many pleasant details. The ring around the rubber block on the top is highlighted, the perforation is cool, the buttons are well made. There is a proprietary charging station (sold separately) – you can do without a USB Type-C cable for charging: set it up, the column is charging. As the speaker, it is available in white or black.
About the flowers. It’s not quite black, rather a dark grey. I really like the solution. Practical, stylish, and I want the future car in this colour. The white speaker is stylish, but I like Space Gray better. The handle with a fabric braid is very well made; it is convenient to pick up the column with one finger and carry it with you through life. By the way, it is easy to hang somewhere, on a bicycle or a hook in the summer kitchen as well.
The rubber block contains buttons for controlling playback, mute the microphone (yes, there is also a Google assistant, you can use Alexa), call a voice assistant, Bluetooth and power. The set is traditional. The speaker amicably is “smart”. Still, I chose it for myself, not for the imaginary advantages of voice assistants – it seems that everyone in the world has already played enough with this, but for the excellent sound and AirPlay 2 support. This is where Bose products are now strong. And hopefully, nothing will change.
The body is made of aluminium. It’s gratifying: no plastic! Only rubber. On top, on the bottom, the massive leg is also rubber. The power supply is proprietary. The USB Type-C cable is long. I always charge the column with the power supply from the MacBook. It turns out very well. The operating time is about 12 hours, which seems to be not so much by modern standards – but for a device of this size and such capabilities, the result is approx. Twelve hours at medium volume is the majority of a summer day.
The official website says that the column is not afraid of water – but I do not advise you to throw it into the water or wet it too much. A few cable things will survive, most likely will order a long life from a torrential downpour. And right there I will write one more thing: I used to carry Bluetooth speakers with me on vacation and trips constantly. You go to a deserted beach with your wife, have a picnic, the music plays, great. For trips around the Moscow region for the summer, some hellish system like Beolit 12 was prescribed in the trunk- of course. I never turned it on next to strangers. I didn’t injure anyone with loud sounds. I didn’t wake it up at night and all that. Well, like, you come to Serebryany Bor, take out a bag of supplies and a speaker, find a quiet corner, spread the blanket, turn on the music, eat sandwiches, looking at the water – good! Over time, this entertainment was forgotten, and how pleasant it was to go to Serebchik after the coronavirus and to sit at home! It’s not like a speaker – you can bring a musical ensemble with you! Long ago I gave it to my friend Beolit 12, and the Bose Portable Home Speaker took its place – it works quietly in the living room, but, when necessary, picked it up by the handle and took it to any place in the world. A wonderful thing.
Here are some useful graphics for owners – explaining what you can do with the buttons.
Bose Portable Home Speaker Review: Application
The application is called Bose Music. The speaker becomes visible only when connected via Wi-Fi. Whereas the Bose NCH 700 headphones are visible when connected via Bluetooth. You will have to install the utility in any case: this is where AirPlay 2 is set up. Everything is standard, we select a Wi-Fi network, connect, enter a password, name the device (I have it “Hallway”). The application has a player. You can update the firmware, adjust the sound.
I will add screenshots a little later, too lazy to reconfigure the system for an office network is a whole business: reset, add, then reconfigure for an apartment again.
In general, you can open Bose Music every two to three months to update the firmware. Well, to change the access point for AirPlay. Alas, it is impossible to remember several access points – that is, if you are driving out of town from home, you will need to reconfigure the speaker. But here Bluetooth comes to our aid – switching takes seconds, the sound quality is excellent. I am happy that we left this communication method.
Yes, there is one more feature: right in the application, you can register Spotify data and launch your playlists from Bose Music. When connected via Bluetooth, the chip works based on AirPlay 2, open Spotify, and starts any track or selection. And this is how all modern Bose multi-room acoustics look like – Bose Portable Home Speaker can work together with large systems, soundbars.
There is another interesting technology called Bose SimpleSync when two devices work in a group. Simultaneously, the Bose Home Speaker 300, Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose Portable Smart Speaker, Bose Soundbar 500 and Bose Soundbar 700 are supported. The trick is this: you can combine Bose NCH 700 headphones with the soundbar, and make it louder in the ears, and on the soundbar, on the contrary, quieter. This is if the wife or children fell asleep nearby, but they also seem to continue to watch a movie. There are scenarios like that. To add products to groups, you also need the Bose Music program. If they are supported, you will see the corresponding connection icons.
Bose Portable Home Speaker Review: Sound quality
Bose never dives into the specific sound characteristics and features of their devices. Only one thing is known about the Bose Portable Home Speaker: the sound is powerful, bright, in the style of Bose. In one of the official videos, we managed to find the internal structure of the column:
A custom driver at the bottom, passive radiators on the sides and bottom – and here, too, a tribute to tradition, Bose tries not to insert three or four drivers into their devices, but to work with the design and the sound wave. The approach is correct. The system has a voluminous, tasty, literally thick sound, catchy, dramatic and extremely unique. You forget about the system’s size, about its name – this seemingly portable thing can outplay many compact stationary speakers, both modern and past years.
It’s not for me to decide whether the sound is good or bad – I have been voting for Bose with a ruble for many years and got used to the bright corporate setting. Many people don’t like her. As always, I urge you to listen before buying.
Bose Portable Home Speaker Review: Verdict
In retail, the column now costs about 408.60 dollars, on Amazon, the price is now three hundred dollars, about 299.64 dollars. Where and how to buy, decide for yourself – whether the guarantee for a thing delivered from abroad will apply, I do not know. The main competitor, of course, is Sonos Move, in our retail, it costs 476.70 dollars, all Sonos chips are supported (its own grid, more functional application, the whole system is more technologically advanced), but I have not listened to it yet, I can not say anything about the sound. I will assume that the Bose Portable Home Speaker will be more interesting in terms of price-quality ratio. Still, thanks to the support of AirPlay 2, the most exotic sets of acoustics are now possible – at my home the multiroom consists of two HomePods, Sonos One, Sonos Beam, KEF LSX and Bose Portable Home Speaker. The set is strange, but all rooms have the same music (if desired), and the sound is wonderful.
I have no complaints about the speaker system – the main thing is that the sound here is gorgeous. Battery life is relatively short, but, again, 12 hours is 12 hours. AirPlay 2 support allows you to integrate the speaker into any home setup, Bluetooth support gives versatility. The app is nifty. Carrying handle – gloss.
So I can only highly recommend you the Bose Portable Home Speaker to buy – take the money, buy a proprietary docking station, this greatly facilitates use, especially if you constantly take the device with you.
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