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Bose SoundLink Speaker Comparison: Color vs. Mini II vs. III

May 27, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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Bose is one of the most popular names in audio, but with several similar products in its lineup, how do you know which one to pick?

We’re comparing the brand’s portable wireless speakers — the SoundLink Color, SoundLink Mini II and SoundLink III — so if you’re considering Bose, we can help you find the one that’s best for you.

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The basics

Each of these wireless speakers from Bose uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone, laptop or other compatible device. You can play the audio that’s stored in your device or stream music from services such as Pandora and Spotify.

Each speaker also has auxiliary input, allowing you play audio from devices that don’t have Bluetooth, such as MP3 players. The speakers all have buttons to control certain functions like power and volume, but the majority of functions can be controlled from your device.

These models have the ability to remember multiple devices, which means you can reconnect faster. Each has a wireless range of up to 30 feet. And with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and compact designs, the speakers are all suitable for moving from room to room.

SoundLink Color

  • Price: $129.95.                           Bose-soundlink-color
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds.
  • Dimensions: 5.3 inches high, 5 inches wide and 2.1 inches deep.
  • Devices remembered: The eight most recently used.
  • Battery life: Up to eight hours of play.
  • Charge time: About three hours using the wall charger.
  • Colors: Blue, mint, red, black, white.

NerdWallet takes you shopping: The SoundLink Color comes in five hues and is the least expensive of the three Bose speakers. It has a compact, rounded design, ideal for slipping into a purse or backpack when you’re on the go. Although the Color is small, it can deliver full, big sound. It also features voice prompts, which guide you through pairing your speaker and Bluetooth device. It can connect to two devices at once, so two people can easily take turns playing music. The Color recharges using either a wall outlet or USB power source.

Good fit for: Travelers and casual listeners on a budget.

» MORE: Bose SoundLink vs. Beats Pill

SoundLink MinBose-soundink-mini2i II

  • Price: $199.95.
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds.
  • Dimensions: 2 inches high, 7.1 inches wide and 2.3 inches deep.
  • Devices remembered: The eight most recently used.
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours of play.
  • Charge time: About four hours using the wall charger.
  • Colors: Carbon, pearl.

NerdWallet takes you shopping: The SoundLink Mini II has a rectangular shape and low-to-the-ground design. It offers full sound, like the Color, plus an emphasis on bass. This speaker also has voice prompts. The Mini II has one major feature that the Color and SoundLink III both lack — a built-in speakerphone. If you receive a call on your connected device, the Mini II will pause your music so you can answer and talk through the speaker. The Mini II charges with a wall charger, USB source or the included charging cradle. The charging cradle lets it function as a stationary speaker that always has a full battery when you’re ready to take it with you.

Good fit for: Individuals searching for a small, on-the-go speaker with big sound and the ability to take phone calls.

SoundLink III

  • bose-soundlink3Price: $299.95.
  • Weight: 3.03 pounds.
  • Dimensions: 5.18 inches high, 10.08 inches wide and 1.89 inches deep.
  • Devices remembered: The last six used.
  • Battery life: Up to 14 hours of play.
  • Charge time: About three hours using the wall charger.
  • Color: Silver.

NerdWallet takes you shopping: Bose says the SoundLink III is its “best-performing mobile Bluetooth speaker,” with more volume, bass and clarity than the Color or Mini II. It’s practical for shared listening in small group settings, like parties or picnics. It’s also the largest and most expensive of the three speakers. It has a thin, rectangular shape with curved edges. The SoundLink comes with a wall power adapter that can fold flat for easier transportation.

Good fit for: The more frequent user looking for loud sound and a long battery life.

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Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.