Review – Bose SoundLink II Headphones
We’ve all had that sinking feeling in our stomach when we realize we’ve lost something. That feeling hit me at Denver International Airport. I was between connections when I realized that I had left my Bose AE2W Bluetooth headphones on the previous flight. I went back to the gate, but Southwest is very efficient at turning planes around. Both the plane and my headphones were long gone. I may have muttered a few bad words.
The annoyance didn’t last too long though. I reasoned that I now had a great excuse to try the newest Bose headphones. Before I even boarded my next flight I had ordered my new Bose SoundLink II Around Ear Wireless headphones in White / Tan.
Bose Soundlink II Use
You may have noticed that I am partial to Bose. The reason is that Bose consistently performs at a very high level. The New SoundLink II headphones are no exception. Pairing the headphones with my phone was as simple as pushing the sliding switch up to the “on” position and discovering the SoundLink II’s with my phone. I later discovered that if I had been wearing the headphones, a nice female voice would also have instructed me how to proceed.
Headphones, USB charging cable, Audio cable, Carry Case
Easy and comfortable to wear with or without glasses; Top notch sound reproduction; Helpful voice prompts; Excellent fit and finish.
Minor noise feedback and wind noise; While waiting for a call to go through, the microphone picks up outside noises and seems to feed them back to the ear pieces (Once the call is in progress this feedback seems to diminish or disappear entirely); The microphone picks up wind noise when used outside or with the car window down.
The helpful voice is used for more than just set-up. It tells you when you have a call coming in, and the number calling. If the number is in your contacts, the headphones tell you the name instead of the number. When the call ends, the voice tells you that too. Neat! If you had told me about this feature before I experienced it, I would have been concerned about it being intrusive. Believe it or not, the voice doesn’t bother me at all. If I am listening to music and a call comes in, I don’t have to fumble with my phone to know who is calling. This feature is another example of Bose getting it right!
The physical design of the SoundLink II headphones is wonderful. Overall fit and finish meets any measure of quality that I can come up with and the ear cups are top notch. The cup padding is soft, supple leather that comfortably engulfs my ears. Even when wearing my glasses, the ear cups are comfortable. My Bald dome is also happy to note that the adjustable head strap is nicely padded with the same soft leather as the ear cups. I can comfortably wear these headphones for as long as I like.
The volume controls are on the back of the right hand ear cup. They operate just like on the AE2W, up is higher and down is lower volume. To take / end a call or skip a track, use the center button. Simple and effective. The charge port is also on the right hand ear cup and uses a micro USB. There is an audio jack on the left hand ear cup for wired listening, or for use when the battery runs down.
Speaking of battery life, these headphones seem to go forever before they need to charge. When you are wearing them and slide the power button up, the nice voice tells you the amount of battery life left and which device they are paired with. It takes me the better part of a week to get below 60% battery. Listening to music while working at my desk is only good for diminishing the battery 10% or so. The advertised time before needing to charge is 15 hours of use. I believe it!
The SoundLink II’s also come with a nice case. The zippered enclosure is as well designed as the headphones. About a third of the case is covered in soft leather similar to the headphone cups while the rest is a tasteful synthetic material. There is a pouch inside that holds the charge cord and microphone cord. The case is a huge improvement over the drawstring bag supplied with my previous Bose headphones.
Bose Soundlink II Performance
The sound quality is exceptional. Bass is deep and smooth, the mid-range is silky and the high notes come through crisply. My music of choice is usually country, and everything from southern rock to soft ballads came through just as I would expect. Even though the SoundLink II’s do not have active noise cancelling, the closed back design does a great job of letting me enjoy my music without background noise intruding. Top marks to Bose for performance.
One reason for picking these Headphones over other offerings is the ability to use them to make / take a phone call. The AE2W headphones had a detachable microphone that seemed a little like an afterthought. The SoundLink II’s have the microphone built in to the right hand ear cup. This design is cleaner than the previous model and, from what I am told by others with whom I have had telephone conversations, sound pick up does not suffer.
The only nits I can find to pick are some minor noise feedback and wind noise. When waiting for a call to go through, the microphone picks up outside noises and seems to feed them back to the ear pieces. Once the call is in progress this feedback seems to diminish or disappear entirely. The microphone also picks up wind noise when used outside or with the window down in my truck. However, I imagine that this would happen with just about any microphone that is not boom mounted. Neither minor issue is enough to diminish my enthusiasm for the rest of this headset. Not even a little bit!
Everyone suffers a little adversity every now and then. I chose to take the loss of my headphones as an opportunity. Lemonade out of lemons as it were. The Bose SoundLink, Around Ear, Wireless headphones II tuned out to be one example of the lemonade tasting pretty sweet!
About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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