Product Review: Bose SoundLink Air simple but pricey

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I'm always looking for a better way to pipe music all over my house. The Bose SoundLink Air is a stand-alone wireless speaker that joins the Wi-Fi network in your house.

You pump music to the $350 SoundLink Air using Apple technology called AirPlay. This is Bose's first foray into AirPlay.

You can send music from any computer, through iTunes or from any iOS device on the same Wi-Fi network as the speaker.

The speaker is about the size of a small shoebox -- 12 inches long by 6.75 inches tall and 4 inches deep.

Setup is simple. Unbox the speaker, and plug it into AC power. You then go to Bose's website and download a small, free utility to set up the speaker's Wi-Fi network. Connect the included USB cable from your computer to the SoundLink and launch the utility to choose a Wi-Fi network and enter the password. The SoundLink Air will then be available in the list of AirPlay destinations in iTunes or through iOS.

How's it sound?

I'll be the first to admit that people generally either really like Bose products or they don't.

Those who don't are usually self-proclaimed audiophiles who probably wouldn't be caught dead with any Bose products in their home theater or sound systems.

I'm not a music snob. I like my sound to reproduce clearly, with a little more emphasis on the highs and a medium amount of bass. In the interest of full disclosure, I own two Bose Wave Radio CD units. I also have an old Sony receiver running a pair of very old Bose bookshelf speakers. I suppose that makes me a Bose fan.

So take this for whatever you think it's worth: I think the Bose SoundLink Air sounds very good. It has a great range, and the sound holds together quite well, even approaching maximum volume.

I will also say that as a single unit, you won't be getting any stereo separation from the SoundLink Air, although I'm not sure people really care about that much anymore.

The SoundLink Air has the option of portability with the addition of an $89 rechargeable battery that attaches to the rear.

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Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News.


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