Bose SoundLink Flex review: A big flex in portable audio

The device brings quality sound to small spaces and on-the-go situations

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 3:04 PM

It’s not the advent of MP3, WAV files or Bluetooth streaming that killed off the good old stereo component system with floor-standing speakers and amplifiers. In our modern times of inflated rents and stagnant salaries, it’s the shoe-box sized apartments that most of us have had to squeeze ourselves into that sounded the death knell for proper audio equipment. There is simply no space in your average urban flat of today to set up a pair of floor-standing tower speakers.

But Bose understands the music lover’s plight and has a solution with its SoundLink Flex portable Bluetooth speaker. This small 9cm by 20cm by 5cm cube looks like just another addition to the legion of portable Bluetooth speakers out there but it hides two tricks up its sleeve. The first, expectedly, is stellar sound, but the second is what Bose calls Party Mode - the ability to connect two SoundLink Flex speakers using the Bose app for a full-blown stereo sound experience.

This is a great feature for users who want to enhance their audio set-up in small spaces into more immersive listening environments, bringing a real stereophonic effect to rooms that do not have the space to accommodate big stereo speakers. Of course, you’ll need to buy two SoundLink Flex units instead of one to do so, but at Dh599 each, that would be money well spent, especially when you consider that the sound you’ll get compares extremely favourably in both volume and musicality to speakers that are at least double the price and many times the size.

Even if you choose to get only one SoundLink Flex, you’ll still be rewarded with excellent sound quality. The speaker flaunts Bose's signature audio prowess, delivering a rich, resonant sound that defies the laws of physics and, despite its compact size, delivers a rich and immersive experience.

Its custom-designed transducer ensures that every note, beat and whisper is reproduced with clarity. Whether you're basking in the brilliance of classical compositions or surrendering to the pulse of thumping bass in your favourite EDM tracks, the SoundLink Flex orchestrates a sonic symphony that transcends expectations. The bass is deep, the mids clear and the highs crip, providing a well-balanced audio output.

The speaker's wide sound dispersion is another standout feature, creating a spatial soundstage particularly impressive for a speaker of its size, which makes it suitable for small gatherings or picnics, or even as a desktop companion.

But mere sound quality is not enough to make a portable speaker an apt companion for picnics; it needs to have the right design, build quality and battery back-up. And Bose delivers on all of those points.

At 600g the SoundLink Flex is light enough to accompany you anywhere. Slip it into your bag or pocket, or even hang it from your belt loop by its built-in fabric strap – this speaker is your musical sidekick, always ready for action.

And that action continues for a good 12 hours on a full charge of its battery, making it a tireless companion that ensures the tunes keep flowing. The SoundLink Flex is a great travel buddy, whether you're trekking through the wilderness, navigating the urban jungle or lounging on a beach or by the pool.

Speaking of beaches and pools, Bose has designed this speaker very much with rugged portability in mind, giving it a high IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. This adds peace of mind when enjoying it by the water, or during rainy outdoor adventures, with the robust silicone exterior adding another layer of ruggedness and resilience to the bumps and bruises of your adventures.

The SoundLink Flex also moonlights as a speakerphone, turning any space into a conference room, with the built-in microphone ensuring clear calls even in surrounding noise. However, there is no built-in audio input, which could be a limiting factor for connecting music sources, especially since it uses the range-limiting Bluetooth 4.2 instead of the latest Bluetooth 5.0.

On the whole, this speaker is a great offering from Bose, a brand that has long been synonymous with premium audio quality. And the SoundLink Flex speaker continues to uphold that legacy.

Bose SoundLink Flex portable Bluetooth speaker

Hits:

- Rich sound quality

- ‘Party Mode’ connective stereo capability

- Design and battery life

Misses:

- No audio input

- Uses Bluetooth 4.2

Price: Dh599

Rating: 4 stars

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