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Bose SoundLink Mini vs. SoundLink III

Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speakers are the best on the market for wireless audio.
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speakers are the best on the market for wireless audio.
Photo courtesy of LA Gadgets Examiner, used with permission.

On Sunday morning, 9to5toys.com launched a sale for the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker for $150. So far, this has been the biggest sale for the highly acclaimed Bluetooth speaker, which normally sells for $199. The Bose SoundLink Mini has been the biggest selling Bluetooth speaker ever for Bose, even beating out the SoundLink III, the larger speaker that sells for $299.

Bose SoundLink Mini
Photo courtesty of LA Gadgets Examiner, used with permission.

This column has received several emails asking which speaker to buy: the SoundLink Mini or the SoundLink III? We have used both of these speakers for hours and can safely say that--at least for most users--the SoundLink Mini is a better buy and a better product.

Don't get us wrong; the SoundLink III is the best larger Bluetooth speaker on the market: The build is sturdy, the sound is robust, and the sound has noticeably improved from the first Bose SoundLink speaker from 2011. But the SoundLink Mini actually has a clearer and more soothing sound. When one adds the better sound to the better portability, the SoundLink Mini becomes the winner.

The SoundLink III has two main advantages: the battery life is better and the volume is louder (but not extensively so). The SoundLink III is used to fill a dance class while the SoundLink Mini is used to fill a bedroom or living room. If you just want to listen to music in your bathroom, bedroom or cubicle, the SoundLink Mini is perfectly adequate. While the SoundLink III does get louder, the sound is distorted at high volumes.

After using the SoundLink Mini for several months, we still find ourselves puzzled on how such amazing sound can come from such a small device. This device can even take low quality audio files and add an "oomph" to them. We love how the bass is heavy, but feels so warm and natural. The highs and lows of all the songs also come out perfectly.

If you are still undecided on which device to buy, we suggest that you try both the SoundLink Mini and SoundLink III out at a Best Buy or Target near you. Both devices are excellent, but the SoundLink Mini is the clear winner from our tests.