The Bose SoundLink Flex is an excellent hiking or shower companion, with playback that separates vocals and instruments.
It does, however, have several flaws, such as the difficult-to-distinguish buttons.
And the lack of a headphone connector.
Still, if you’re looking for something tough and loud, this is a good option.
Bose is known for its noise-cancelling headphones and home audio products.
But the Bose SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker wants to bring the same level of quality to the trails.
This speaker appears to have the right blend of attributes for adventurers.
With a rugged casing and the ability to withstand fall into the water.
What About The User Experience?
The Bose SoundLink Flex’s appearance and construction mirror its intended outdoor use cases.
The grille is steel and powder-coated, and it is truly strong, according to Bose.
However, if you drop it on the ground, it will get a few scuffs.
Overall, the speaker is well-made.
With no weird shapes or protruding parts that could snag on your clothing or vegetation while trekking.
It’s a stretch for Bose to say that this Bluetooth speaker floats.
You can quickly grab it if you drop it in a lake or inadvertently kick it into a pool.
But you can’t play music in the middle of the deep end like you can with the UE WONDERBOOM 2.
The capacity to withstand a rapid submersion in water, on the other hand, is useful because this speaker gets dirty quickly.
Smudges and fingerprints stick to it, and dust can sneak in through the front grille
—all of which can be removed with a fast dunk.
When sand or other non-dissolvable debris gets behind the grille, though, it’s tough to get it out—
I can still hear a little sand rattling about this unit when I shake it.
How Do You Operate It?
The control buttons are located in the centre of the speaker’s top.
The power and Bluetooth sync buttons have small white LEDs to indicate that the speaker is on.
And connected, but they’re mushy and don’t have backlights.
You may play, pause, and skip content with the multi-function centre button.
Which is flanked on either side by volume down and up buttons.
Although the design is attractive, there is no actual differentiation between the buttons.
I’d want to see more distinct controls—as it is, it’s easy to touch the multi-function button while seeking anything else.
Connecting It With Other Devices?
The Bose Connect app (iOS/Android) connects your phone and other devices to the Bose SoundLink Flex.
It’s quite simple to use.
When you tap the “Bluetooth” icon, the app displays a list of your presently connected devices.
Other devices it remembers, and an edit button.
It’s also worth noting that the Bose Connect app is not the same as the Bose Music app.
Which is required by some of the company’s other devices.
Party Mode, which allows two compatible Bose Bluetooth speakers to connect.
And play the same content, which may be enabled via the app.
However, hitting the Bluetooth and volume up keys at the same time allows you to connect to additional Party Mode devices.
So it’s not strictly necessary. Before you can use stereo mode, you must first activate Party Mode.
Which Bluetooth Codec Is Supported?
The Bose SoundLink Flex is equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 and only supports the SBC Bluetooth codec.
According to Bose, the maximum range is up to 9 metres.
The Bose Connect app is unreliable, even though the speaker itself has a strong Bluetooth connection.
Even when music is coming via the speaker, it sometimes states there is no connection.
Additionally, there is no aux input if you want to work around codec limitations in general.
The speaker also has trouble switching between Bluetooth multipoint devices.
You must actively pause and play content, like with many other speakers and headphones;
there is no automated switching.
As a result, the speaker may not be aware that content on one device has ceased and does not switch to another.
What About The Battery Quality?
The SoundLink Flex, according to Bose, can last up to 12 hours on a completely charged battery.
A USB-C to USB-A charging connection is included in the box.
But you must provide a power adapter.
The Bose SoundLink Flex lasted 11 hours and 59 minutes in our standard battery test.
Which employs music played continuously at a maximum output level of 75dB measured 1 metre from the front of the speaker.
That means Bose’s battery life claims are correct.
And the speaker will last a day at the beach or a long trip in the mountains.
What About The Sound Quality?
The Bose SoundLink Flex sounds good for what it is:
An outdoor speaker for a small group of friends on the trail.
I also own a JBL Flip 5, and the Bose speaker reproduces all frequencies at a similar loudness level as the JBL speaker.
This type of frequency response allows all instruments on a track to be heard clearly.