Bose has launched a new Bluetooth speaker that’s made for the great outdoors, thanks to a rugged design and an IP67 water and dust-resistance rating.
The Bose SoundLink Flex comes with a silicone rear and powder-coated steel grille, that’s designed to protect it from falls, as well as the ability to float on water should you drop it into a river by mistake (or the bath if you’re less adventurous).
To further boost its outdoorsy credentials, Bose claims the speaker is resistant to UV light and corrosion, so the materials won’t degrade if you leave it in the sun.
That’s still very light, and a handy utility loop means you can easily attach it to a backpack with a caribiner clip. And, with 12 hours of playback from a single charge, the SoundLink Flex has plenty of battery life to get you through a long hike or an evening of music around the campfire.
As for the sound? Bose says the SoundLink Flex will deliver an “astonishing audio performance”, with a custom transducer designer to provide lots of clarity, and “bass that you can feel in your chest”.
Dual-opposing passive radiators that work in tandem with Bose’s signal processing technology should help to minimize any distortion from those powerful bass frequencies.
The new waterproof speaker doesn’t have to be placed in a particular way for the best sound. According to Bose, it can detect whether it’s been placed horizontally or vertically, or whether it’s hanging from it’s utility loop, and will optimize its sound using the company’s PositionIQ technology.
You can boost the sound even further by pairing it with a second Bose Bluetooth speaker for stereo or mono audio. It can even be hooked up to other Bose wireless speakers and soundbars as part of a home audio system.
Switching between sources should be simple, as the Flex can remember up to eight Bluetooth connections – though it does use the older Bluetooth 4.2, which is slightly puzzling, as most new portable speakers support Bluetooth 5 and above these days. So, you may find the new Bose speaker has a shorter wireless range than models like the JBL Charge 5 and the Sony SRS-XB23.
Built-in microphones mean you can take calls using the speaker when it’s paired with your phone – and while it doesn’t have a built-in voice assistant like the Sonos Move, these mics mean you can interact with your smartphone’s assistant hands-free.
Despite all these impressive specifications, the Bose SoundLink Flex isn’t super expensive compared to other Bluetooth speakers on the market. Available to buy now via the Bose website, it’ll cost you $149; while global pricing is yet to be confirmed, that works out at about £110 / AU$200.
That’s a little cheaper than the Sonos Roam, though the Bose SoundLink Flex doesn’t come with Wi-Fi connectivity and it can’t double up as a smart speaker.
Analysis: when is the best time to buy a Bluetooth speaker?
Bose has launched its new portable speaker just in time for the holiday shopping season – but we’d recommend waiting a little longer to buy a new Bluetooth speaker.
That’s because Black Friday 2021 is just around the corner, and Bluetooth speakers are usually discounted heavily by retailers during the sales event.
Last year’s sales saw excellent deals on everything from the JBL Flip 5 to the Sonos Move, with many models hitting their lowest ever prices.
This year, Black Friday falls on November 26, but the deals tend to start rolling in from the beginning of the month, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your favorite retailers in advance.
It’s not super likely that the Bose SoundLink Flex will see any significant discounts this year, as it’s so new – but older Bose Bluetooth speakers like the SoundLink Revolve and the Home Speaker 500 could be cheaper than ever.
If you have your heart set on a Bose speaker (or like the look of the brand’s headphones and wireless earbuds), be sure to bookmark our guide to the best Bose Black Friday deals, where we’ll be rounding up the top discounts between now and the big day.