Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced but still a bit more polished than the competition, April 11, 2012
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This review is from: Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Wireless Speaker - Nylon (Old Version) (Electronics)
I A-B tested this speaker against the Altec Lansing IMW725, which was recommended by other Amazon customers.

The AL is about half the price of the Bose, and would make a smart alternative if its performance were close to that of the Bose.

Here's what I found...

Sound Quality - the two speakers are very similar overall. Neither of them presents any stereo image from more than 3 feet away. Both of them can be turned up loud enough, distortion-free, to fill up a bedroom or kitchen with sound. The Bose tends towards bassy, and can actually generate a noticeable thump if positioned correctly near a wall or reflecting surface. The AL tends towards trebly, and seems to produce a tiny bit of what I would call hiss or crackle.

Musically, the Bose seemed to perform better with RnB, and Jazz. The music I was using for comparison included Miles Davis, Sly & the Family Stone, Royal Trux, Swell Maps, and various podcasts from KUSF-In-Exile, which is an eclectic college radio station. The AL seemed to like rock music better. I attribute this to the relative voicings of the two speakers - the Bose is voiced for more bass, the AL for more treble.

Connectivity - The Bose wins hands down. It pairs very easily with everything I throw at it. I used an ipad, a pair of Android phones and an Android tablet. All of them paired in one or two attempts, and connected quickly once paired. The AL didn't do so hot in this regard. It took multiple attempts to pair it with any device, except the ipad, and even then, it seemed to hesitate to connect to devices it had already been paired with. This is kind of a critical element for a bluetooth speaker, and ultimately it's what made me keep the Bose and send the Altec Lansing back.

Construction - I would say the Bose feels a bit heavier and more solid, although it's anybody's guess which unit is actually sturdier. Given the price difference, I would feel a lot more confident putting the AL in precarious situations, although I tend to baby my electronic devices in general.

Appearance - The Bose looks nice. Its design is simple and functional. The AL looks a bit plasticky, angular and space-agey, for lack of a better term. If you have a sense of decorating style, you might be able to find a design context in which the AL fits right in. This isn't necessary with the Bose. It looks like a speaker. Nothing more, nothing less. While this is the least of my concerns regarding an audio component, it has to be said that the Bose does look at lot better.

All in all, I chose the Bose mostly because it paired quickly and painlessly with the devices I had at my disposal. I would have liked to come away from the comparison choosing the Altec Lansing, and saving $150, but it just didn't turn out that way. I even emailed AL during the trial phase, trying to get their best advice on how to ensure that it would pair with my bluetooth devices, but their only remark on the matter was that I could ship it to them and they would replace it if it didn't.
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