Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II Review
A couple of years ago, we reviewed the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth – a wireless headphone capable of producing great sounds in a small package. Now imagine that in a bigger body with upgraded audio technology. Well, that’s what we think of the Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II. Find out what we think of the device in our review below.
Design and Construction
Like the QC25, it has an adjustable headband cushioned with foam underneath, however, instead of cloth, it has faux leather for its top. The band ends at a pair of swivels that hold the cups which also looks similar to the QC25’s – leather-like paddings with cloth interior labeled for the left and right ears.
The cups are where it reminds me of the SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth. On the outside part of the right earcup are the switch for the power and Bluetooth, and the two-way microphone system for when you take calls. The great addition here is NFC which is placed behind the Bose logo.
Behind it are the LED lights for Bluetooth and power. Also found here are the volume keys and a multifunction key (play/pause, accept and end voice calls, initiate voice recognition). Found below is the microUSB port for charging. As for the left earcup, it houses the port for the audio cable so you can still listen to your tunes when the battery runs out.
Build-wise, the SoundLink AE Wireless Headphones II is mostly made of hard plastic with a matte finish. If feels solid and durable. On the head, it’s snug and comfortable although the Around-Ear design might make your ears sweat in warm conditions.
To connect, just turn on the headphones by flipping the switch up and then connect your smartphone to it when discovered. If your mobile device has NFC you can also pair through this method. Once paired, a voice prompt on the headphones will tell you the current level of the battery and which device it is connected to. The voice prompt will also notify you of an incoming call.
As for the Bluetooth connectivity quality, we’re very much satisfied as we can easily move to an adjacent room or downstairs without any stuttering or loss of quality. Bose says that it has a wireless range of up to 30 feet which is good.
Sound Performance and Call Quality
Bose boasts their TriPort technology (also found on the SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth) and Active EQ on the SoundLink AE Wireless Headphones II. The company didn’t elaborate on those audio technologies and honestly, we don’t care that much as long as the sound quality is really good.
True enough, the headphones was able to deliver superb sound that is expected from a Bose product. In addition, the Around-Ear design is good in isolating background, channeling all that audio straight to your ears. From here we can say that it is one of the nicest wireless headphones around but might not appeal to everyone.
For one, the bass is powerful, punchy, and clean – no problems with that. However, we noticed that there are times that it is too clean to our liking which is evident in some hip-hop or club music as we’re expecting it to be a bit boomy like it’s blowing air in our ears. Still, the bass quality in this headphone is top-notch, we’re just picky that it can’t misbehave a bit and offer more than that.
The mids and highs are where the SoundLink AE Wireless Headphones II shines. It’s crisp, delicate, and can be intense when needed. Even in bass dominated tracks, the vocals are clear and brilliant. You’ll notice it more when you play rock, jazz, or classical. It’s immersive and good in handling the rough and delicate parts like guitar riffs or piano solos.
As for call quality, as mentioned earlier, the SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II has a built-in microphone for this purpose. Call quality is also good with no sign of choppiness. The person on the other line can also hear us loud and clear without having to speak louder than normal.
Bose claims a battery life of up to 15 hours of play time which is good for long-haul flights. We can say it’s spot on as it lasted us a whole week with around 2 hours per day of listening before it required us to charge. To replenish the battery, you will need to provide your own charger as it is not included in the package, just a microUSB cable. A power bank will work as well. According to Bose, charging time takes about 3 hours, while a 15-minute quick charge will provide you with 2 hours play time.
The Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, even with such a long name, is a very desirable audio device. It is convenient thanks to its wireless capabilities including NFC for easy pairing, fantastic sound, and good battery life. The build feels good and sturdy. Design-wise, nothing much has changed in two years. Size is a bit big though compared to the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones which we liked bringing with us on trips since it’s small.
Now for the price, it’s demanding at Php14,500. But hey, it’s a Bose. You’re also paying for the brand and prestige that comes with it. On the bright side, you get what you pay for.
Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II specifications:
Type: Circumaural (over-ear)
Headphones: 7.5″ H x 6″ W x 1.5″ D (5.27 oz)
Ear cushion: 3.8 in H x 2.9 in W
Wireless range up to 30 ft (9 m)
3 hours full charge = 15 hours play time
15-minute quick charge = 2 hours play time
What we liked about it:
* Good build
* Great sound quality
* Wireless with NFC
* Good battery life
What we didn’t like:
* Bass could use more power