The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
I like music. Well, that’s not true, I love music, and it has been a constant companion throughout all of my life. Have you heard stories about how people hear a particular song and the memories come flooding back? Yeah, that’s me, and it happens all the time.
Which is why I want to continue to listen to music, it locks in those fun times for later. And I think I’ve found the perfect way to do that when I am busy working or relaxing.
A Wearable Speaker
The Bose® Soundwear™ is one of the best listening devices I’ve had the pleasure of trying.
One of the key things about the Bose® Soundwear™ Companion® Speaker will be apparent the moment you put it one and power it up – the device provides excellent stereo imaging.
When you hit the easy to reach power switch, a voice will come on and tell you the current charge and where it is connected. That voice seems to float in the air, hovering somewhere slightly above the center of your head.
Of course, I didn’t leave my stereo imaging tests to just the computerized voice. No, I went straight to the hardcore stuff and pulled out the Pink Floyd. Now, the Dark Side of the Moon album can be brutal to a set of speakers. Between the bass, the highs, and the sonic holography, you’ll know quick if your speakers or headphones are up to the task.
Speak to Me starts out with heavy footsteps, so naturally, I cranked it up and listened. My test rig was just an iPhone and the Bose® Soundwear™, but I felt I had a full rack of equipment in front of me. It immerses you in surprisingly deep, clear sound for a wearable speaker, with two 11-inch waveguides in the flexible neckband.
When Time from Dark Side of the Moon came up, the results were everything I would hope they would be. The clocks were all around me, and I felt like they were tangible. Nice, I like this wearable sound thing.
Wearing the Soundwear™ is easy. It form-fits your shoulders in whatever position you leave it, and you’ll hardly know you’re wearing it. I’m a pretty big guy and found it fit just fine. My wife is a dainty thing, and she found it comfortable as well.
Great For Any Audio
Since then I have tried many other albums, including of course The Wall by Pink Floyd, and it continues to please. One use that I hadn’t considered at first was how well it works watching movies.
I tend to watch a lot – okay, most – of my TV Shows and movies on my iPad, and the Bose® wearable speaker is great for this. Whether I am sneaking in a missed episode while working, or kicking back and watching Fear of the Walking Dead (John Dorie is awesome), I found the Soundwear™ to be a constant companion. And with your ears free, you can stay aware of what’s around you while you enjoy your music and shows.
Strong Battery Life
Let’s talks battery life. You can enjoy up to 12 hours of play time from the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
I was able to enjoy it for a couple days before it needed a recharge, and I used it a lot. If you do get caught without power, a quick 15-minute charge will give you another 2.5 hours of listening.
That’s enough for three average albums, or even a blockbuster Marvel movie, including the sneak peek at the end of the credits.
It’s easy to charge the Soundwear™ thanks to a standard Micro-B USB port. I already had several of these cables, so it was simple to charge it up. You can even charge the unit from your other devices that support USB.
Weather Resistant Construction
The design has an IPX4 rating, so it is sweat and weather resistant. So if you accidentally get caught in the rain wearing the Soundwear™, there is no need to worry. It comes with a black four-way stretch cover so that you can keep it tidy without affecting the sound output.
Easy to Connect
Wireless pairing works well, with a voice-guided prompt to make it simple. I would encourage the user to download the Bose® Connect app since it can handle firmware updates and streamline connections. The app is pretty smart too, and it will allow you to control the music even if it is playing on another Bluetooth device.
Speaking of Bluetooth, the Bose® Soundwear™ supports two simultaneous connections, which is perfect if you have an iPad and iPhone (or any other combination of phone and tablet, computer, you name it.)
Simple to Control
The controls on the Soundwear™ work well. They are on the outside edges of the waveguides, making them easy to reach with either hand. When you are wearing the unit, power and Bluetooth are on the left side, with volume and control on the right.
The Bose® Soundwear™ is designed to work with calls as well. The other caller is clear and distinct, and they had no problem hearing me back. The action button allows you to answer and end calls as needed.
The design of the unit makes conversations over the phone feel as natural as they do in person, thanks to the imaging effect that puts the caller in your head. Plus, the advanced design lets calls stay clear when it’s windy or noisy.
The unit supports call vibration alerts as well as audio, and you can set up customized vibration for different callers so that you know who’s calling without having to look. After all, there are times when the world is just going to have to wait until the music stops.
Siri is easy to invoke, with only a long press on the center button. You can also start, stop, and change music using the same button as you would with the regular Apple control. Since it’s easy to place calls and play music with Siri, there is no need to fumble with the phone or tablet when wearing the Bose® Soundwear™.
You may wonder how the Bose® Soundwear™ manages to pull off this sonic magic so easily. The answer is it’s all about the technology. The two 11-inch waveguides in the neckband push air to opposite ports for deep lows that you can feel.
But the device also manages to keep it on the down low with proprietary digital signal processing that cancels out the bass for anyone nearby. The end result is that your music sounds great without excessively disturbing those around you.
It Doesn’t Box You In
You’ll find that it is easy to have a conversation while wearing the Bose® Soundwear™. Of course, you may want to dial back the volume a little if you had the Ponk Floyd blasting at full volume, but with regular listening volume, I can still stay aware of what is going on aware me.
This is one of the things I like best about the Soundwear™ speaker as compared to headphones, I can listen to my music or watch my shows with great clarity without feeling like I’m boxed in. Which is really convenient, since I really enjoy my music.
The Bose® Soundwear™ Companion® Speaker is available at Best Buy.
When he is not writing on his wife’s blog or has his head buried in software code, Greg Chaffins can be found celebrating nerdy things on his own website, NerdBeach.