Bose Home Portable Speaker review
Bose has long been a leader in the world of Bluetooth speakers – and its latest model, the Bose Portable Home Speaker, is sure to cement that reputation even further.
2020 is set to be the year of the portable smart speaker – and with the Bose Portable Home Speaker, along with competing models like the Sonos Move, offering the smarts of Google Assistant and Alexa alongside Bluetooth connectivity, the market is already growing fast.
Is there a chance that Bose can keep up with Sonos? Here’s what we found.
Bose Home Portable Speaker: Design
The Bose Portable Home Speaker is designed for portability, from its lightweight, compact build to its convenient bucket-like carrying handle and IPX4 water-resistant housing.
The 7.5-inch Portable Home Speaker is wrapped in an anodized aluminum enclosure and is available in silver or black finishes – we prefer the futuristic-looking silver version, but a black version is a good option if you like the minimalist design.
The design is sleek and sophisticated, and it’s easy to transport – you’d be surprised how many portable speakers are actually a pain to transport on the road, with bulky builds and no handles.
Its bottom third features a wraparound grille designed to blast your music in all directions, while the speaker’s top features a smaller grille around the rubberized control pad. The array of built-in microphones is also located here, so you can speak to your voice assistant when it is summoned.
A button to turn off the microphone is located on the top of the speaker, along with power, Bluetooth pairing, volume, and play/pause controls.
The back of the phone has a USB-C charging port and that’s it. It doesn’t have an AUX port. Bose also sells a charging cradle that can be used with the Portable Home Speaker, which costs $29.95 / £24.95 / AU$39.95 and provides a base for the speaker.
Bose Home Portable Speaker: Features
This Bose model provides a respectable 12 hours of playback from a single charge, which is a great feature for portable speakers. There is 12-hour battery life on the Tribit XSound Go, but it pales in comparison to the 24-hour battery life on the Sonos Move. Nevertheless, they can’t match the sound quality of Bose or Sonos.
Getting started with the Bose Portable Home Speaker is simple. Download the Bose Connect app and follow the steps to connect the speaker to your WiFi, select your voice assistant, and select your music and radio services. The list includes Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, Amazon Music, TuneIn, as well as AirPlay 2 for iPhone and iPad users.
As well as being designed for life on the go, the Bose Portable Home Speaker is a smart speaker. With both Google Assistant and Alexa built-in, you can choose from two of the best voice assistants depending on which ecosystem you already use.
Additionally to playing music, you can ask your voice assistant to check the weather, check your schedule, and control your connected devices, transforming the Bose Portable Home Speaker into a smart home hub.
As we tested Google Assistant, we found it to be seamless, whether we asked for songs from Spotify or news updates; the inbuilt microphones picked up our voice easily, even with music playing.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker provides excellent audio quality, with a warm, well-balanced soundstage.
The tests were begun by listening to Fleet Foxes’ Hummingbird; its natural sound and gently thudded bass strings resonate across the room without overpowering the intricately plucked treble melodies. There isn’t quite the pure fidelity of Sonos Move or the level of detail, but every voice blends seamlessly as the lead vocal melts into Appalachian-style harmony.
The thumping bass lines and jangling hi-hats in Little Dragon’s After The Rain create a sense of tightness and control, while crisp organs and brass lines flow beneath smooth jazz vocals. Despite the difficult mix, the Bose Portable Home Speaker performs well, if not with the assertiveness of the Apple HomePod, which sounds altogether more exciting.
On Stormzy’s Heavy is The Head, soft piano, haunting beats, and gospel-inspired backing vocals surround crunching beats and compelling vocals. The sub-bass lines float moodily through the mix, adding depth and warmth – they are powerful enough for a portable speaker, but bass heads will likely prefer the expansive lower frequencies of the mains-powered Apple HomePod.
In addition, the Sonos Move is better-suited to bass, but that’s to be expected – after all, it’s twice the size of the Portable Home Speaker and may not be as convenient to use on the go.
|Warm, well-balanced sound||Expensive|
|Choice of Alexa or Google Assistant||Bass lacking compared to Sonos Move|
With a gorgeous minimalist design, weather-proof ruggedness, and a light build, the Bose Portable Home Speaker isn’t the company’s first outdoor speaker. The bucket-like handle is far more convenient than the concave finger-grip of the Sonos Move.
It has good connectivity, battery life, and smart features, and we like the inclusion of both Alexa and Google Assistant.
The soundstage is well-balanced and resonant, compared to those of many cheaper portable speakers. If audio quality is your primary concern, you might want to consider the Apple HomePod or the Sonos Move first.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker is the clear winner when it comes to portability, and we have no hesitation in recommending it.