Bose SoundHyperlink Max assessment: again to Bluetooth type

The Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth Speaker.
Bose SoundHyperlink Max
MSRP $399.00

“The Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth speaker is a robust option when you want to take your audio on the go.”

  • Great construct high quality
  • Excellent portability
  • Impressive sound
  • Optional accent handles
  • Supports Multipoint
  • No Wi-Fi
  • No microphones

Bluetooth audio system are usually a matter of extremes. On one finish, you’ll be able to spend little or no and get sound that may, at greatest, be acknowledged as sound. Some people are OK with that. Or you’ll be able to spend bit of cash and get one thing that sounds good, if not nice.

The Bose SoundHyperlink Max falls onto the latter facet of that spectrum. We’re nonetheless speaking a couple of Bluetooth speaker, positive. But we’re additionally speaking about one that appears darn good. And sounds darn good. (Good sufficient to land on our checklist of the best Bluetooth speakers.) And it has a number of the bells and whistles you’d count on if you happen to’re spending this sort of cash. And it comes with the status (and, OK, yeah, the value tag) that accompanies that iconic emblem. Plus, it’s moveable.

I’ve spent a number of days — slightly below per week, to be exact — with the Bose SoundHyperlink Max. Is this a speaker that’s going to go along with you to the seaside? Or occasion with you by the pool?

Only one strategy to discover out.

An iPhone playing Pearl Jam in front of the Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth speaker.
The Bose SoundHyperlink Max is, at the start, a Bluetooth speaker, and it doesn’t attempt to do an excessive amount of past that. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The fundamentals

I’ve used a number of Bluetooth audio system. They’re the type of product for which value offers little bit of context. A $50 speaker? I’m not anticipating all that a lot. A $400 speaker, although — which is the place the SoundHyperlink Max lands — that’s elevating expectations fairly a bit. That’s definitely not exceptional on this area, however it’s nonetheless going to need to carry out effectively.

What now we have here’s a field that’s about 4 inches by 5 inches by 10 inches. Given the rounded corners, although, it’s much less a field and extra of, effectively, a speaker. You can get it in any colour you need, as long as it’s both black or blue (“Blue Dusk,” if you happen to’re into that type of language). And there’s little bit of heft at nearly 5 kilos.

All in all, the Bose SoundHyperlink Max provides an excellent first impression whenever you pull it out of the field. And there’s not a lot work to do right here. All you get is the speaker, a USB-C cable, and the 3-amp charger. Nothing extra, nothing much less. You’ll need to cost it up a bit very first thing, which is customary working process whenever you get an enormous, battery-powered gadget like this.

The side of the Bose SoundLinK Max Bluetooth speaker.
There’s no mistaking that the Bose SoundHyperlink Max is a speaker. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

From the surface, the SoundHyperlink Max is properly completed and impressively designed. There’s no mistaking what it’s and what it does. Mostly.

A fast apart: You’d be forgiven if you happen to thought this was a wise speaker, which actually simply means a speaker with microphones hooked up to do voice command stuff and perhaps function a speakerphone. The SoundHyperlink Max doesn’t do this. It’s a one-way speaker, and that’s that. Bose ought to be recommended for avoiding mission creep, however it’s comprehensible if perhaps you’d like that type of factor in a $400 speaker.

And talking of the battery, Bose claims as much as 20 hours of battery life, with a 5-hour recharge time from the included 3-amp charger. I’ve been plugging away at 50% quantity for a pair hours at a time and have but to fall under 80% battery life. Given the ubiquity of moveable chargers, battery life simply isn’t one thing I’d fear about. And in case your cellphone’s about to die, you should use the SoundHyperlink Max to cost it, due to the magic of USB-C. (Bose wouldn’t inform me the precise capability of the battery on board.)

Back to that design, although: I’ve all the time been a fan of soft-touch coating, and Bose says the “exterior powder-coated, silicone-wrapped steel offers a premium look and rugged durability.” I don’t find out about rugged, however I’m very a lot digging the feel and appear (even when it does choose up a good quantity of mud). That extends to the deal with, which is extra intelligent than you would possibly assume at first look. It attaches to the physique with quick loops of rope that remind you of tenting or climbing (or the place I’m from, boating — however we name them “lines” on the water).

The rope attachment on the handle of the Bose SoundLink Max is a brilliant and functional design feature.
The rope attachment on the deal with of the Bose SoundHyperlink Max is an excellent and purposeful design characteristic. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The attachment factors aren’t clearly detachable, however they’re. And they’re neatly completed. You can swap out the inventory deal with with a different-colored rope choice for $25, if you’d like. Or for $45, you’ll be able to get a rope carrying strap in both black or blue that type of turns the entire thing into a really heavy purse.

The backside of the speaker has 4 delicate toes to maintain much less floor space in contact with no matter it’s sitting on. Around again, you’ll discover the USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm aux enter. And up high are a bevy of buttons: energy, Bluetooth switching, a type of bull’s-eye/target-looking shortcut button (we’ll get to that in a second), quantity up and down, and play/pause.

The USB-C charging port and 3.5mm aux input on the Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth Speaker.
The USB-C port helps you to cost the speaker — or use the speaker to cost one other gadget. And the three.5mm aux port permits analog units to play via the speaker. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

And a fast be aware on the inside: You’ve acquired assist for Bluetooth 5.3 and AAC and SBC codecs. If you may have an Android cellphone that helps Snapdragon Sound and aptX Adaptive, that’s accessible, too. And that inside ought to keep protected due to an IP67 ranking, which is sweet for maintaining mud out and the whole lot dry for as much as half-hour in 1 meter of water. Don’t take it swimming for prolonged intervals, however it ought to (theoretically) survive if somebody kicks it into the pool.

The setup

If you need to simply soar proper in to utilizing the Bose SoundHyperlink Max, you’ll be able to. It pairs similar to another Bluetooth gadget. And I may very simply make the argument for doing so and never pondering twice concerning the Bose app.

The Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth Speaker.
The Bose SoundHyperlink Max Bluetooth speaker sounds higher the nearer you might be to it – which often is how these issues work. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

I’ve a slight bone to select with the Bose app within the context of a Bluetooth speaker, in that it says “to set up a Bose smart speaker or soundbar, you’ll need to create an account.” I’m establishing a Bluetooth speaker, which completely doesn’t want an app to work. It’d be good if the app instructed you that. Again, that’s a really small nit to select, and I don’t blame Bose for pushing people to its app.

But it additionally may say, “You don’t need our app to use this speaker. But if you do, you’ll get access to firmware updates and EQ settings that aren’t otherwise available.” That’d be the correct factor to do. And it’s additionally why I say go forward and create an account with Bose and join the speaker within the app, as a result of there would possibly effectively be a firmware replace in some unspecified time in the future. (I did all our testing on v1.4, for what that’s price.)

You’ll even be requested if you wish to give the Bose SoundHyperlink Max a cute little title like “Beach Bum” or “Earth Shaker” or “Party Starter” or “Porta Party” or “S’more Music.” I don’t abide by such antics and was completely happy to search out “Bose SoundLink Max” on the finish of the checklist. Or you’ll be able to select your individual customized title. Like “Speaker.”

The sound

The most vital half about any of this, in fact, is the way it sounds. You do have to mood your expectations a bit of contemplating that we’re speaking a couple of moveable speaker that’s in all probability going to spend extra time exterior in raucous environments than it would in a sterile listening room. And that’s factor — music ought to be enjoyable.

The backside line, although, is that what you get out of the Bose SoundHyperlink Max might be superb. (And for $400, it higher be.) My go-to on the again porch continues to be a stereo pair of aging Sonos Play:1s — you simply can’t beat that setup, particularly at a distance.

What I’ve settled on isn’t notably stunning. The SoundHyperlink Max sounds superb up shut or indoors in a modest-sized room. Up shut, the Sonos Move 2 has a bit of extra vary, and a bit extra quantity. But except you set them subsequent to one another and flip forwards and backwards (which I did), you’d in all probability by no means discover. That’s a fairly good endorsement, in my e book.

Sound high quality begins to fall off a bit outdoor and at distance, however that ought to be anticipated. (And, once more, it doesn’t maintain a candle to my stereo-paired Sonos setup.) It’s a really strong hybrid — the type of speaker I’d get if I had the finances for only one type of speaker and couldn’t decide to a devoted setup, or if the pliability of portability was a should.

A series of eight images showing the Bose SoundLink Max in the Bose app.

Back to the app a second: You’ll discover an EQ in right here, which is sweet. I can take or depart EQs — particularly on a speaker that’s meant for use after I’m very a lot taking note of different issues, just like the barbecue or my spouse lounging by the pool. And I didn’t favor Bose’s presets. But the implementation of the EQ within the app is great, with giant, clear buttons, and the power to simply drag the frequency factors to wherever you need them. (My solely criticism is that my mind wished to faucet one of many preset buttons once more to show it off and return to flat. Instead, you’ll have to search for the “Reset” level within the high proper.)

And going again to the buttons for an additional second: The SoundHyperlink Max helps Bluetooth multipoint, which is nice as a result of you’ll be able to simply join two units and simply as simply swap between them. Just maintain the Bluetooth button like regular so as to add one other gadget, and press it as soon as to modify. There’s additionally the shortcut button, which actually ought to be known as the Spotify button as a result of it’ll in all probability be used for that the majority typically, offered you utilize Spotify. Press it as soon as to renew Spotify if another supply was getting used. And press it a second time to fireplace up a playlist of advisable songs. Or, you’ll be able to set it (within the app settings) to modify to the audio line-in.

The Bose SoundLink Max Bluetooth speaker alongside a pool.
The Bose SoundHyperlink Max loses a bit of however of its constancy outdoor, however can nonetheless preserve a celebration going. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Should you purchase it?

There aren’t any two methods about it: $400 is an efficient bit of money to spend on a single speaker for most people. The worth you get within the SoundHyperlink Max is in its hybrid nature. It’s actually good indoors as a single speaker. It’s ok outdoor in a celebration setting.

You additionally will discover worth within the options — notably multipoint, which makes it tremendous simple to modify from gadget to gadget, whether or not it’s a cellphone or pc or perhaps a Bluetooth-supported phonograph.

And the construct high quality displays that value. Nothing concerning the SoundHyperlink Max feels low cost. But on the similar time, nothing about it feels valuable. It appears and seems like a conveyable speaker that’s meant to get out and see the world bit, as punctuated by the design of the deal with and the way in which the rope connects it to the physique.

And for a lot of, the Bose model stays an element within the buying resolution — particularly in case you have different Bose merchandise, because the SoundHyperlink Max will work in live performance with them by way of its SimpleSync scheme, which permits Bose audio system to pair up and work collectively.

And there’s additionally nothing unsuitable with simply shopping for for the Bose title, particularly for the reason that design, construct, and, finally, the execution of the sound itself all stay as much as that legacy.

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