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Soundlink II vs. Big Jambox: What are the best portable bluetooth speakers?

Updated on October 15, 2013

Bose Soundlink II vs. Jawbone Big Jambox: Which is the Best Bluetooth Speaker?

What is the best bluetooth speaker? Well, I've made my own decision, but I did a lot of research into it first - so, here I am to share it with you. I've compiled the best of the best bluetooth portable speakers here for you to help you choose which kickass little speaker will fill your space with quality sound. The ones on the market these days are incredible. Having a small high quality bluetooth speaker brings the party to you, or helps you create the right kind of ambiance for your work environment, or packs a hell of a punch in the RV on holiday while watching a movie on your mac. OR, as ours gets used for - a wondeful little speaker to watch movies on long deployments in the desert, and on arctic transport missions with the New York National Guard 109th.

The little beauty pictured is the limited edition version of the Bose® SoundLink® Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II and it's what we chose, but it was a difficult decision. So, let me help you make YOUR decision much easier - no point in us both doing all the online research legwork, now is there?

All images courtesy of Amazon unless otherwise noted (in which case, they'll be my own)


Bose Soundlink II

The Little Awesome OOMPHF! Sound

Wow. I was impressed by this little speaker - here are the main points from my own personal experience with it at home and away. Here it is on the coffee table in my office. Here it sits and croons to me while I work.

Why this little bluetooth speaker is brilliant at what it does: (in no particular order)

1. It syncs with whatever device you want, like a DREAM. It will also switch between them super easily. I use mine with my Macbook and my Android smartphone, but it also syncs up beautifully with my friend's iPhone. No surprises there really, but it is SO EASY.

2. The sound is unbelievably damned good. I don't just mean unbelievable 'for its size', I mean I was stunned that this little thing had the clarity it did - coupled with decent bass it is a winner in the 'how it sounds' department in its own right. This is a great speaker that just happens to be very portable.

3. Portability - obviously it IS. But it picks up the bluetooth signal from a long distance, through a lot of walls. I often have the Soundlink II out on the deck while I work outside, with my Macbook still in the office upstairs on the other side of the house, and the sound is still perfect with no hiccups. The direct line of sight would be about 30m (about 100ft) with 4 walls in between. Impressive.

4. It copes with big action movie sound like a BOSS. The little Soundlink II got deployed to Greenland for 10 days and made watching movies a joy even on the Macbook - big bright sound brought the movies to life.

Small Enough to Take ANYWHERE You'll Go - (Oh the places you'll go!)

Bose SoundDock 10 Bluetooth Digital Music System (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Bose SoundDock 10 Bluetooth Digital Music System (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

UNBELIEVABLE sound - bluetooth but also with charging dock.

Bose® SoundLink® Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II Nylon & Car Charger (Bundle)
Bose® SoundLink® Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II Nylon & Car Charger (Bundle)

Everything you need to get REALLY portable with this little number. A friend of mine uses this as his truck speaker - he told me 'why not? Its better than forking out for a new car stereo for an old truck!'. Fair enough!


Bose Soundlink video review

Bose Soundlink Mini Review - The newest edition to the Bose Soundlink Family

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

If you're REALLY short on space, the mini is a great option. I'd have to say this little guy packs a punch in the sound department FOR ITS SIZE, but it does not match the Soundlink II. Don't get me wrong it still sounds wonderful, but in a side by side comparison - the Soundlink II is leaps and bounds ahead in sound quality.


Jawbone JAMBOX

Jawbone Big JAMBOX

During my time researching and searching and listening to all the portable speakers I could find, I stumbled across these three which were unmatched for quality sound. So, while I ended up with the Bose Soundlink II, it wasn't easy making the decision.

The Jawbone BIG JAMBOX is a direct competitor to the Bose Soundlink II, and one obvious benefit straight off the bat is that it is a little less expensive. However, there are some other great benefits to having a BIG JAMBOX that I felt were seriously awesome.


1. Up to 15 hours battery life (they claim) where the Bose claims 8hrs

2. Able to be updated with software from Jawbone whenever they update it

3. Robustly constructed and looks really good


Well, the big thing here is the sound quality. It IS good. It sounds great... until you compare it directly with the Bose Soundlink II. If I hadn't done that, I might've bought this instead! So, don't get me wrong - the BIG JAMBOX does have great sound, nice smooth bass with decent treble for all intents and purposes. Unfortunately, even with the LiveAudio technology, the BIG JAMBOX just doesn't stack up to the Bose Soundlink II in my opinion.

Jawbone Big JAMBOX - As you can see, this portable speaker is a great little size for travel

Jambox accessories

Jawbone Jambox Mobile Case for Bikes, Scooters, Backpacks and More
Jawbone Jambox Mobile Case for Bikes, Scooters, Backpacks and More

This is an AWESOME idea, and I should write it in the 'pros' section of my JAMBOX review here.


Jambox review

BIG JAMBOX - What's the difference between this little dimpled thing, and the 'hex'?

Jawbone BIG JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Red Dot - Retail Packaging
Jawbone BIG JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Red Dot - Retail Packaging

Well actually - absolutely nothing. The white one has wavy steel lines, and the graphite color (featured above) has a hexagonal pattern. Why have I even mentioned it? Because for a while, doing research on these, I thought they were three different models. They're not. I'm just a dolt.


SONOS - Another great bluetooth-speaker-making company!

The SONOS system is pretty amazing. Unfortunately these speakers aren't really in the sort of price range I was willing to consider. They're also quite a bit bigger than either the JAMBOX or the Soundlink speakers, and aren't meant to be as portable... for example, the SONOS PLAY:5 is over 11 pounds whereas the Soundlink II is just under 3 pounds. HOWEVER they are wireless and awesome to have in your home especially if you loathe wires! If I was considering a less portable speaker I might've looked into these more closely, since they definitely do sound amazing. Worth a look regardless.

SONOS Soundbar Review

BIG JAMBOX or Soundlink II? - Tell me something about your experience or thoughts on which speaker you like

What pros or cons do YOU have for each of these?

Thank you so much for visiting my review - Say hello, join in the conversation (well, start one at the moment!)

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    • DrMAnderson profile image

      DrMAnderson 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You're welcome - my pleasure :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I really like the idea of wireless speakers. Thanks for the reviews!