Bose SoundLink Mini II
Bose is royalty among wireless speaker-makers. Small models such as the SoundLink Mini II and headphones like the QC35 have made the brand cooler than, well, ever.
This squat little rectangle of aluminium and rubber has inspired a dozen imitators, and its predecessor was one of the early models that really proved you can get big sound out of a small box. Its key feature is bass: it’s deep, it’s rich and there’s a lot of it. The SoundLink Mini II is bassier than some speakers three times the size.
This is starting to sound like a Beats review, but Bose’s bass fits in because it’s warm and fat rather than boomy, and this slots into the rich, smooth mids perfectly. Few speakers in this class pull off the satisfying thickness of the SoundLink Mini II. It works wonders for singer-songwriter tunes. A bit of acoustic guitar? A bit of plaintive melancholy? Perfect.
The big bass also naturally works wonders for dance music, really showing off quite how big this small speaker can sound. It copes less well with very busy music at high volume, though, starting to sound a bit congested and confused.
There’s a mic for calls and an aux input for your old gear, but the real highlight is a charging dock. You can give the little guy his very own bed. It’s optional, as the speaker itself also has a microUSB charge socket.
The dock is the clue to the one practical limitation: the SoundLink Mini II is a bit of a homebody, with no water resistance or ruggedness. Still, it’s definitely small enough to take on holiday. Just maybe leave it off the beach, eh?