Bose’s new SoundLink Flex speaker has a rugged design and ‘astonishing’ sound

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It is rated IP67 and can last up to 12 hours

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Bose is introducing its first new portable Bluetooth speaker in no time. $149 soundlink flex There’s a rugged design with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, 12 hours of battery life, and what Bose claims is “astonishing” audio performance for its size.

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At 7.9 inches wide, 3.6 inches high, 2.1 inches deep, and weighing a little over a pound, the SoundLink Flex is nicely compact and has a built-in utility loop for attaching a carabiner. It will be sold in three colors: Black, Smoke White and Blue.

Inside the SoundLink Flex is a custom transducer that Bose says is “as big as it can fit” and capable of producing “bass you can feel in your chest.” Using a feature that Bose calls “PositionIQ,” the speaker can detect which orientation on its back – upright, pendulous or flat – and tune the audio output accordingly.

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The speaker is designed to withstand the elements.
Image: Bose

The speaker has a silicone back and powder-coated steel grille, and Bose claims it has been designed to resist corrosion and prevent any discoloration from UV light. With that IP67 rating, it’s a pool-safe speaker, and Bose says it’ll float to the surface when dropped in water.

There’s nothing particularly “smart” about the SoundLink Flex, but it can be paired with any Bose smart speaker or soundbar you’ve got at home. And you can stereo pair it with another SoundLink Flex or a different Bose portable speaker. There’s also a built-in microphone for taking calls and interacting with the voice assistant on your phone. (Bose still sells a lot of portable smart speakers with built-in voice capabilities for $400, but you can do better than that for less money.)

The controls are located at the top.
Image: Bose

At $149, the SoundLink undercuts products like the Sonos ROM, though it doesn’t quite match that speaker’s wide range of features. Bose also faces impressive Bluetooth speaker competition from JBL, UE, and others. Still, the company’s portable speakers have a way of sounding better than you’d expect based on their size, so I’m curious to hear what the SoundLink Flex is capable of.

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