The Bose outdoor speaker brings multiroom into the garden. In the test, the 360-degree loudspeaker with splash protection and twelve-hour battery had to show what it was capable of.
Speakers with WLAN, which are suitable as a multi-room system and can be taken into the garden with a splash guard, are rare. If you then have to support Spotify Connect and / or Airplay, it will be tight. In addition to the Sonos Move (test report, rating 1), there is also the Zipp-2 series from Libratone and the Denon Heos 1 including go pack (test report, rating 1). The Portable Home Speaker from Bose is brand new in this device class.
WLAN in the garden (guide) has a few major advantages over Bluetooth. For example, the smartphone does not have to remain within range of the speaker for control purposes, and you also get clever additional functions such as Alexa or the Google Assistant. Time to test the portable home speaker and see if it enriches the next gardening season.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker is flawlessly processed. In our test model, the gray color dominates, the actual speakers are behind a round grid. The handle at the top is solidly integrated, so you can easily carry the speaker with its 1.08 kg. The controls are located at the top in recesses, but there are no tactile elements to blindly operate the speaker.
At the bottom there is a USB-C port for charging the device. The necessary cable and plug are in the package. Finally, at the bottom are the contacts for the optionally available charging station called Charging Cradle. It charges the speaker when you put it on it.
The portable home speaker is water-repellent, Bose has certified it according to IPX4. It is protected against splashing water from all sides, but should no longer be in the water or the like. In other words, it should be able to withstand a brief summer rain or a spilled drink. However, there is no protection against dust, so you should not take the device with you on construction sites or in the workshop.
The device is set up and further controlled via the app Bose Music. This is very simple to use, but you need an account with Bose. When it is started for the first time, setup guides you through the first steps, such as adding the WLAN or activating a voice assistant. You can also use the app to listen to radio streams TuneIn as well as the streaming services Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer deposit.
We like the app visually. It is minimalistic and comes with no frills. The channels or songs are shown as large tiles, if you press one of the icons, the corresponding music starts.
There are some nice additional functions in the settings. This way you can restrict the voice announcements of the loudspeaker, many in the editorial office found the voice very artificial and annoying. To do this, you can decide whether everyone in the WLAN can access the loudspeaker or whether it can only be controlled by one account. If there are several compatible speakers, you can use them to create a multiroom group. There is one restriction: the app only recognizes the speaker via WLAN, not via Bluetooth.
The advantage of this in Bluetooth mode is that the entire app can be omitted. Like any other outdoor speaker (11 in the comparison test), the portable home speaker can be paired with the cell phone and used as a playback device. If there is no WLAN, the speaker is still usable.
In terms of sound, the Portable Home Speaker surprises, for a device with the area of a 1-liter milk carton, the speaker delivers a very decent sound. The bass is typically Bose stronger, the highs come through clearly, only the mids suffer a little. Overall, we had a very good hearing impression of the portable home speaker in the test. Especially with rather pop songs, for example Ain't gonna be the tonight from Macklemore or Ciao baby from Wanda not only sound good on the device nearby, but also in the background outside. In addition to music, language sounds good, for example in audio books or podcasts. The 360-degree speaker is impressive. There are no blind spots in hearing, no matter where and how we place the device.
The relatively strong bass could be related to the intended use. Anyone who sonicates their garden with the Portable Home Speaker will be happy to take a little more bass power.
The microphone array on the top is convincing. In the test, our "Hey Google" from the other corner of the room was able to provide it in a normal conversation tone and respond to inquiries. Fortunately, there are fixed buttons for the most important controls (start and stop, volume up and volume down, Bluetooth and microphone off), so that you don't have to constantly address the device.
The portable speaker is part of Bose's multi-room concept (guide). Say: Via the app you can easily combine the device with other compatible Bose speakers to form a group to play the same music. In addition to other portable home speakers, the following products are compatible: Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose Home Speaker 300, Bose Soundbar 500 and Bose Soundbar 700. In addition, you can connect it to another device via Bluetooth and thus have the same sound via the speaker and a Hear pair of headphones.
In addition, the portable speaker has a few other functions: Apple fans can use Airplay 2 to stream their own music directly from the iPhone or iPad to the device. Spotify users can address the device directly from the app via Spotify Connect.
Bose specifies an average runtime of 12 hours, which we can confirm with practical experience. It takes around four hours until the device is completely full with the supplied power supply unit or the charging cradle. We recommend buying the latter at the same time. Because the speaker draws a lot of juice when it hangs in the WLAN. If you park it somewhere without a power supply, it will be empty after one day at the latest.
The original MSRP for the portable home speaker was just under 370 euros. The realistic street price has leveled off just under 100 euros. The charging cradle costs around 25 euros. Both devices are still relatively new, so they haven't been in too many price promotions yet. From experience, Bose products are relatively often cheaper, so it is worth setting a price alert.
Bose Portable Home Speaker, black
Bose Portable Home Speaker, silver
Bose charging cradle
The Bose Portable Home Speaker is a complete package for everyone who is looking for a speaker that can be controlled not only via Bluetooth, but for example via Airplay 2. In general, Bose does a lot right with the Portable Home Speaker. The sound is good, especially if you use it for background sound at a barbecue or garden party. The integration of the virtual assistants is practical to play the next song on demand. Runtime and charging times are perfectly fine, especially in combination with the charging cradle.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker plays in a similar league as the Sonos Move (test report) and is interesting for everyone who can do without Sonos support. Maybe he has too much bass for one or the other, but that's complaining at a high level.
If you can do without WiFi and Airplay, we recommend a Bluetooth-compatible speaker (theme world). A reasonably priced device is the Anker Soundcore Motion Q (test report, grade 2) for just under 36 euros. The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 (test report, grade 2) is recommended in the middle class and the Sony SRS-XB41 (test report, grade 1) scores with many features and light effects in the upper class.