Bose Soundlink Flex speaker

The Bose Soundlink Flex speaker is designed for outdoor use. It has an IP64 and IP67 rating, so water and dust proof and can be submerged down to 1 metre for up to a minute. The case is metal with a a "soft touch" silicon coating and the grill has a fabric coating. It's a portable size at 20.1cm across by 9cm height and a depth of 5cm and there's a fabric strap so it can be carried.

There's a single USB-C port used for charging (a USB-A to USB-C cable is included), it's a shame the port can't be used to connect to an audio source directly so it could be used as a wired speaker/DAC. It takes 4 hours to fully charge the system.

The audio is only available via Bluetooth (v4.2) and it works up to about 30m.

There are also front facing microphones which can be used for calls and voice assistants.

There are 5 buttons across the top, power, volume down, multi-function and volume up and Bluetooth (with indicator light) that can initiate pairing.

Single pressing the power button turns the device on (and it speaks the battery percentage remaining - which is enabled by default). Single pressing again will turn the unit off. If nothing is playing/connected the unit will auto turn off after 20 minutes, this can be disabled by holding the + (volume up) and multifunction button simultaneously (or in the app), or if disabled this will re-enable it. While on, the amount of battery power will be spoken by pressing the power and keeping it pressed.

The multi-function button does multiple things depending on mode: -

  • When playing audio, single pressing will play or pause, track forwards (double press) and track backwards (triple press).
  • Pressing and holding will activate the voice control capabilities of the connected device (i.e. Siri or Alexa etc). Pressing and holding again will exit voice control.
  • When there's an incoming call pressing will answer, pressing and holding will reject the call. While in a call pressing and holding will end the call.
  • When there are 2 active calls, pressing quickly will switch between them.

If on a call, pressing volume up and down simultaneously will mute the call.

Though not required, there's an accompanying Bose Connect app (iOS/Android) that enables various functions such as party mode (where multiple Bose speakers can be linked and will all play the same audio) or stereo mode where 2 devices will (after having been connected in party mode) play left and right through each device.

Once paired the main screen shows a nice picture and what's playing. Touching the on-screen buttons plays/pauses, rewinds and fast forwards and the volume can be adjusted.

The main screen just shows the device connected.

Settings then shows the various that can be changed such as party mode, voice prompts, voice language etc.

Clicking the user icon takes you into Profile settings where a few user settings can be set.

The USB charging port is visible on the left

and the strap on the right.

NOTE: as can be seen from the photos, the black silicon coating picks up dust very easily which sticks, it obviously doesn't effect the sound, but it can look a bit nasty.

When the speaker is initially turned on, voice prompts are in English, but the speaker supports the following languages: -

  • English
  • Spanish  
  • French
  • German 
  • Mandarin
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Italian
  • Portuguese 
  • Swedish
  • Dutch
  • Russian 
  • Polish
The language can easily be selected in the app, but to change via the speaker, press and hold the multifunction button and then press + or - to cycle through the languages, then press and hold the multifunction button again when you are on the language you require.

The speaker can be paired with up to 8 devices at a time, though only 2 can be used simultaneously and only one can be playing at any time. To switch between two connected audio sources, pause the one playing and then start the other source. To clear all connections, press and hold the Bluetooth button for 10 seconds.

When it's time to party 2 Bose products can be connected in "Party Mode". This allows them both to play left and right or in Stereo mode, one will be left and the other right. Doing this is easy within the app, but can be done through a connected speaker. Make sure both devices are on and one is connected to the Bluetooth audio source and then press the Bluetooth and volume up (+) button together. The speaker will say “Press the Bluetooth and volume down buttons simultaneously on a second Bose device” which should then be done on the other Bose speaker.

Once in party mode to put them in stereo mode press the Bluetooth button and + on either speaker until it announces “Stereo mode”, then one will say "left" and the other "right". Pressing the Bluetooth and + button again will turn off stereo mode. To disable either mode just turn off one speaker.

Only via the app, the speaker can be connected to a Bose soundbar using the sync system and whatever's playing on the soundbar will play through the Flex (limited by Bluetooth range of 30m).

Bose claim a 12 hour battery life, however if the volume is near 100% (which is often required outside or in a large space like a gym), then battery life is considerably reduced to somewhere over 3 hours. An external power source can be used and works well for topping up the internal battery.

The microphones do work, though placement is key and it's quite easy to get a muffled conversation and probably best to use the phone directly for that important work call.

The speaker comes in 3 colours (black, stone blue and smoke white) and costs £149.95

There are cheaper speakers out there, but this does have good base and plays well. Battery life could be better and it's a real shame the USB port can be connected to an audio source for wired playback, but a nice solidly built Bluetooth speaker.