The Bose Portable Home speaker has pretty much everything
you could want. First, it speaks Goggle and Alexa (no Siri); can stream over
Wi-Fi any music or podcast service that Google/Alexa/Bose App supports; and is
a battery-operated BT speaker – go anywhere.
But there is a little more to it. The Bose Portable Home speaker shares similar design cues to the Bose Revolve+, including the ‘milk-can’ shape and handle. It is also part of the new Smart Home family – Bose Home 300 and 500, Bose Soundbar 500 and 700, surround speakers and bass modules 500 and 700.
So the Bose Portable Home speaker may be the one you buy to
do a lot more than say OK Google. And if you don’t need voice assistants don’t forget
Revolve+ that is now a more affordable $299 (shop online – usually $499).
What is the Bose Portable Home speaker?
There are a few important points:
It is a mono 360° speaker – sound comes from all around
As it is a voice-activated speaker, you can get an optional charge base for semi-fixed placement
Size (handle down): 19.15cm (h) and 11.9cm (round) x 1.06kg
It works with Bose Smart Home speakers in multi-room setups (not the Bose SoundTouch range) but not as a stereo pair yet (update to come)
The Bose Music App (Android or iOS) adds limited value (Spotify Premium – not the free version or TuneIn)
AirPlay 2 support is good
BT 4.2 and SBC codec for CD-quality – not for high-res content Wi-Fi AC dual band – but select 2.4Ghz for maximum distance from the router
It is IPX4 – light spray water-resistant (not waterproof)
Battery life is up to 12 hours on a 4-hour charge
Acoustically it is like the Bose Home 300 and little louder than the Revolve+
Dual far-field mics and manual isolation switch
No Aux-In – Manual select Wi-Fi AC dual-band or BT (connect to one device only)
And in true Bose fashion – no detailed specifications are given
Triple Black or Lux Silver
OK, you buy Bose because you are a fan and you don’t need to ask the price.
Setup – easy EXCEED
Download the Bose Music app and create an
account (if you do not have one already)
Make sure your smartphone has BT enabled as the
speaker uses it for setup
Once located, select Wi-Fi, add music services
(or use Google or Alexa for this)
Pair to Google or Alexa (not both)
It’s a foolproof system, and if there are issues, you reset
it by pressing BT and Volume Up.
OK Google and Alexa – PASSable
We tested with Google Assistant, and it does most things that a Google Home speaker does. We assume that same of Alexa. But a shortcoming is lack of Broadcast on Google or Drop-in on Alexa.
The four far-field mics are good to about four metres and
when music volume is <70%.
But it is not a Chromecast speaker so we can only give it a PASSable here.
Battery – EXCEED
Bose claims 12 hours, but that is in a lab. We set it up at
50% volume, and it merrily plays Xmas songs for 12 long hours before I went
crazy! Higher volumes reduce battery life – but we were too Xmas ‘schmaltzed’
out to for much longer.
The four-hour charge is correct. It uses UCB-C 5V/3A charger
and USB-C to USB-C cable (both supplied) and is PD compatible so you can use
any PD charger – but it does not shorten charge time.
You can check the battery level via voice prompt or the Bose
One issue – if you use it as a voice speaker, you need to
keep it on power – it will drain the battery in 24 hours otherwise. The optional
cradle is handy and costs $39.95 although the USB-C charger provided is
BT – PASS
It uses BT 4.2 and the SBC codec. Maximum distance from the
smartphone is under 20 metres.
Sound – EXCEED with caveats
Bose are masters of synthetic sound – tuning the speaker and
its digital analogue converter to deliver a typical Bose ‘sculpted’ sound. Perhaps
why there is only a very basic bass/treble EQ in the app.
You need to couple that with the fact that there is one
down-firing speaker into a 360° baffle and we understand three passive radiators
to reinforce the bass. So, while it can produce a reasonably full sound spectrum,
it can be flawed with the wrong content. Don’t get me wrong – I like Bose
sound, and in a portable it is perfect – but to a trained ear, it is
Volume was quite loud at 82dB. There was a certain harshness
but backing off to 75dB fixed that.
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz – none
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz – building to quite strong
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz – flat (that means good)
Low-mid: 200-400Hz – flat
Mid: 400-1000Hz – flat
High-mid: 1-2kHz – flat
Low-treble: 2-4kHz – slight decline
Treble:4-6kHz – flat but beginning to break up
High Treble: 6-10kHz – a slight decline (to
remove treble harshness)
Dog whistle: 10-20 – flat and decline after 15kHz
Technically this is ‘warm and sweet’, ideal for movies or
music. But there is something awry with the top end that starts declining from
about 2kHz instead of from 6kHz – it can be a bit thin for instrumentals.
GadgetGuy’s take – Bose Portable Home speaker is in an increasingly crowded market
You buy Bose because you usually buy Bose. And you will not
It is great as a voice-operated speaker in small to
mid-sized rooms. We say that because you don’t want to drive it too hard –
60-70% volume is its sweet spot.
Outdoors it is a fine BT speaker, but there are higher rated IPX7 speakers for that. And do you want to take a $499 Portable Home Speaker to the beach and get sand and water in/on its lovely visage?
But Sonos, JBL, LG, Sony, Google Nest, Lenovo and brands we
don’t see here all have reasonable offerings as Google Home or Alexa Speakers.