Bose makes the best smart speaker you can buy. The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a slightly smaller, rechargeable speaker that boasts many of the features that impressed us about the Home Speaker 300, but in a travel-friendly package.
About the Bose Portable Smart Speaker
This speaker pumps out a lot of sound for its size, and it manages to balance portability and durability surprisingly well. The swivel handle on top makes it very easy to carry, and with its water-resistant design, the Portable Smart Speaker is at home at the beach or poolside.
The rechargeable battery lasts for several hours of high-volume music, and if you have another Bose speaker at home, you can group them together for multi-room music or stereo setup. The optional charging cradle also makes it super easy to grab on the way out the door.
The Portable Smart Speaker has a sturdy, thoughtful design, and it's a pleasure to use in any situation.
Here are the Portable Smart Speaker’s Specs:
- Price: $299.95
- Colors: Triple Black, Luxe Silver
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, Airplay 2, auxiliary cable
- Smart assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant
- Weight: 2.34 lbs
- Dimensions: 7.54” H x 4.69” W x 4.09” D
What we like
Good bass and great volume
The Portable Smart Speaker’s round design allows for a 360-degree sound field, which is perfect for great sound in pretty much any space. Despite its compact size, this speaker puts out a surprising amount of volume, but it does begin to lose a little clarity as it approaches its max.
There were no locations, indoors or out, where I had any desire to play music anywhere near as loud as the Portable Smart Speaker can go. Fifty percent was plenty in almost all circumstances. This speaker delivers a satisfying listening experience across music genres and spoken word.
Portable enough to take anywhere
The Portable Smart Speaker really shines here. A sturdy top handle makes it super easy to grab and go, and the Bluetooth connectivity allows for streaming from a mobile device’s data connection when no good WiFi signal is available to the speaker. I carted it all over our house and property for weeks, and the more I used it, the more I enjoyed it.
This speaker charges via a USB-C charging cable, which means there’s always a cable nearby when the battery runs low (though, Bose claims the battery can handle up to 12 hours of play time). I used it for a couple hours here and there, and I only had to plug it in about once a week.
You can use almost any connection
One of my favorite things about Bose smart speakers is their ability to work with whatever phone, smart assistant, or streaming platforms you already use. The accompanying Bose app allows you to choose between Google Assistant or Alexa, so it can integrate into just about any smart home.
And while the Portable Smart Speaker can play from a variety of streaming services via your smart assistant of choice, Airplay 2 and Bluetooth connectivity mean that any media you can play on your phone, you can play on your speaker.
What we don’t like
The price is steep
There are plenty of great, portable Bluetooth speakers on the market at far lower prices. In fact, our favorite portable Bluetooth speaker, the JBL Flip 5 is about $200 less than the Portable Smart Speaker.
While we really enjoyed the slew of features and wide range of connection options, there's no need to shell out this much cash if all you need is a good Bluetooth speaker to take outside. The Portable Smart Speaker is really designed as an indoor smart speaker that doubles as a portable one.
The charging cradle will cost you
While the (admittedly $100 more expensive) Sonos Move comes with a charging cradle, the Portable Smart Speaker charges about $30 for this accessory that adds so much to the portability factor. Instead of fumbling with the USB-C cable, you just set the speaker on top of the cradle, and it’s charging until you pick it up again.
The cradle is only $29, but I wish it didn’t cost extra, as it’s a super helpful accessory.
Should you buy it?
The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is our very favorite portable smart speaker. It’s versatile enough to work for just about anyone, it is extremely easy to transport, and the sound quality is surprisingly good for a speaker this size.
It's also $350 (often on sale for $299), so if the budget is tight, there are other great options to consider: If you’re looking for a smart speaker but portability isn’t a major concern, consider saving some cash and going with the $199 Bose Home Speaker 300 instead. Smart assistants offer the convenience of requesting music by voice, playing games, answering random questions, smart home control, and much more, but if portability is your main criteria, and you don't need a smart assistant or other ways to connect besides Bluetooth, the $120 JBL Flip 5 will be more than enough to suit your needs.
But if you want the most versatile speaker to take to the beach, the cookout, or the picnic, you can’t go wrong with the Portable Smart Speaker.