Nestled near an entrance inside Grand Central Terminal, Bose just unveiled its latest two portable audio creations: The SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker (A2DP) and QuietComfort 20 noise-cancelling in-ears. Measuring in at 2 x 7 x 2 inches (slightly larger than palm-sized), the aluminum-wrapped SoundLink Mini is slightly larger and heavier than a JawBone Jambox. Like its bigger brethren, the Mini has dual-opposing passive bass radiators and a two custom neodymium drivers for mids and highs. Bose claims these new drivers will output twice the volume of other, similar speakers.
While the unit will bust out the jams for seven hours, it sadly uses a proprietary charging dock. Thankfully, however, the Li-Ion battery is user replaceable. All the controls rest as a strip of silicone buttons on the top, while the side features a 3.5mm input jack. We're digging the look of the naked metal, though, rubber covers and a nylon carry pouch will be on offer for protection. The unit's audio quality was very pleasing, without any notable harshness. We noted an acceptable level of bass on the lowest notes of dubstep tracks and there wasn't too much distortion when cranked up. Join us past the break for more info on the in-ears, as well as all the pricing and availability details for both items.
Bose SoundLink Mini and QuietComfort 20 (hands-on)
So, we're thinking positively of the SoundLink Mini upon first impression, but Bose was more excited about its QuietComfort 20s. A slim, silicone-coated control module located near the end of their cable houses Bose's new DSP and ANC chips, as well as an active equalizer. Beyond that, it pack a non-replaceable Li-Ion cell (rated for 16 hours of listening), which charges via micro-USB. The unit is slim, but we're concerned about that cabling that's fixed in place -- we can imagine ourselves ripping it while hustling during commutes. We'd be remiss not to mention that the headphones also work passively if you run out of juice.
Each in-ear module has two microphones to monitor inner and outer noise for the ANC chip, Bose's usual tri-port enclosure design and new StayHere+ tips. Further up the cable you'll find an inline remote and mic, which is available with three buttons for iDevices or just one for Androids. This editor hates in-ears, but can attest that these were extremely comfortable. A first for Bose, the 20s have an "aware mode," which is basically an advanced talk-through mode. Rather than cutting your music temporarily when you need to talk, it will continuously play while leaking in sound from the world around you. We were able to use the noise cancellation in a controlled demo and it seemed to remove a massive amount of noise -- all without tons of the annoying hiss we've come to expect with ANC 'phones. The overall sound quality was pleasing and smooth with powerful bass -- of course, don't use 'em for reference-type applications.
If you're at all interested, the $200 SoundLink Mobile is up for pre-order today at Bose's website and hits shelves June 11th. As for the QuietComfort 20s? Those will hit this summer for $299 with either of the remotes we mentioned. For now, why not glance at our photos of 'em to tide you over?