Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II Review: The missing Link

SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II

I was initially hesitant to get the SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II especially for the gym.

The main reason being that Bose can price its pieces at the higher end of spectrum.

Bose reminds me of another maker of electronic products (named after a fruit) who have a tendency to produce good products at a premium.

When researching the best headphones for working out, Bose did not come to mind immediately, at least not from my research. I knew that the sound quality would be decent, but I did not know if they could survive a whole workout.

Then , one day, a friend of myn was mentioning how they have really enjoyed their workout using the Bose Soundlink headphones, and I began to pay attention.

Do not confuse the SoundLink twos with the speaker with a similar name that Bose offers as well. These are the headphones.

At first glance these headphones may look like the less expensive headphones out there, as they do not have all the bells and whistles, but I guarantee you that does not take away from their performance.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I’ve been through plenty of headphones and it’s not easy to stand-out in a very competitive field.

Bose at least in this edition have shown that not only can they compete with the best, but that they can even exceed the best.

This may sound controversial but I would probably rate this even higher than the JBL.


The first thing that I noticed was that these headphones are extremely lightweight and that for me is always a plus, as I do not want to feel like I have a brick on my head.

Ear Cups/pads

The ear cups are oval and large, and fit comfortably for people with different sizes of ears.

The profile is very slim and at first glance the ear pads do not seem like they do very much at all.

If you take a really close look inside the ear cup you will notice that the speaker angles into the earcup. This is in both the right and the left ear cup.

When looking at the speaker you see that there are little dots inside for purposes of ventilation and this helps to reduce the heat build-up in your ears.

These headphones quite interestingly recess or press the speaker down towards the bottom.

This downward angle means that you ear will be protected from touching the speaker.

In the past, I have purchased headphones, where, because of the design my ear would sometimes touch against the speaker.

Now imagine how uncomfortable this is, so I for one am glad that Bose have addressed this issue.

Now the reason that this is important Is because people’s ears are shaped differently.

Some people have small ears that protrude outward,whilst other people have large ears that are very flat.

So the combination of the ear cup design and the way that the speaker is fitted needs to accommodate all of these are types.

Of course, now and then you may have to make some adjustments to the headphones, but this for me was not very often and overall I think the fit was perfect.

As far as comfort goes these are right up there with the likes of the Bose qc35 and the Sony 1000 MX3.

I would even go as far as to say that the comfort level of these headphones is similar to or not far off from the V Motive with the extra plush padding.

Bose Soundlink II

Fit and comfort

Now, I like my headphones to be versatile and what this basically means is that I can wear my headphones in a number of circumstances and for a variety of reasons.

Generally With gym type headphones I would also like them to be able to double up as normal everyday wearable headphones.

The main reason for this is that I want to make sure that in the event that I forget my day-to-day headphones at home, that I have a pair which can act as a solid substitute.

Fortunately this was very possible with the Bose SoundLink II headphones, as after I hit the gym I was able to use these headphones on my commute to work and also at the office when I wanted to get into my head, unblock the outside world and focus on the task at hand.

I found that I could wear these headphones literally for 4 hours straight without needing to take a break.

Sound Quality

So, for the gym Junkie, In terms of the sound quality or the audio capability of a set of headphones they should be able to deliver thumpy sounds that really get you in the mood and inspire you to keep going.

The majority of headphones on the market produce sound in a very consistent manner.

That is to say the bass and the treble tend to be upfront. The mid-range is generally recessed back.

The impact of all of this is that the sound does not come out as authentically as it should.

I can’t fault manufacturers too much because the risk is that if the mid-range is pushed up too much then the sound may just be that much poorer.

That is unfortunately a product of the build quality of headphones these days.

This was part of what caused my hesitancy , it just seemed so unjust that Bose could be a brand that in all honesty gave you a great mid-range speaker yet charged an arm and a leg for it.

When shopping for headphones it’s all about understanding what the composer/producer was intending on doing with the track. That is what these headphones give you.

I would always choose neutral sound that does not over or under emphasize any particular audio range.

What is the point of sacrificing clarity and detail for some extra thump.

In my view the headphone is very neutral sounding. I do not think that this will be the best for the Bass head.

But for an overall sound quality experience I would definitely recommend them.

So for the studio types these will work perfectly well.

Bose Soundlink II

Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that there is no bass at all, I am simply saying that the base is crisp and does not have an excessive boom and bang as you would come to expect in say the Beats Studio 3 wireless.

I would not complain about the bass as I do not think that Bose designed these to be the best bass headphones, but instead to offer a perfect sound across the audio range.

And as far as detail goes these headphones are brilliant.

If you are like me and you like listening for different instruments and the character that they give a track, then you will appreciate these headphones.

There were some songs that I listened to for the first time with these headphones and realized that there was something extra to the song than was there initially.

I think that Bose are recognizing that people who enjoy quality listening experiences are looking for more than just the run-of-the-mill headphones with a B on the side, that consumers want quality sound that distinguishes you from the competition and Bose seem to have delivered on this with this offering.

What a difference a few months makes.

A little over 3 months ago I would have told you that there was no way that I was going to rank Bose this highly in a category, but here I am suggesting that these are indeed a good set of cans.

I use the headphones quite extensively, especially when at home and at work. I also enjoy using my headphones for when I can play a good session of Madden NFL or NBA 2K 18.

My headphones only ever leave my head because I am sweating, need to make an adjustment or when I am out in the town.

The Bluetooth headphones come with a lithium battery and for some sensitive people may create problems such as heating up the ears.

Now for me this has not proven to be a problem as I can go 4 hours at one go.

If you have a history of experiencing heat very quickly when wearing a set of cans then, I would suggest that you see a doctor.

The concept is similar to when you have been using your phone to play video games or YouTube and you feel that the back of your phone is hot.

In any event it is not healthy to have your headphones on without a break. It makes sense to talk to people now and then, and even if you are engaged in a session of Madden, take a few minutes break every hour.

Unfortunately due to the size of the ear cups of these headphones they will probably cover the ears of most people and as a result it may start getting hot under there.

Now given that the controls are on the right ear cup, that is the ear cup is the one that needs the battery, that is the ear cup that is most likely to experience the most heat.

Ear Cups

The right ear cup includes the power on/off button and the volume button.

The right ear cup also includes the Bluetooth for the headphones and of course has the lithium battery.

As with all other headphones the battery lasts as long as the way in which the headphones are used.

Therefore, If you use the headphones for pumping the base and playing music at top volume then your battery life may run a little shorter than is expected.


A full charge will power the headphones for 15 hours. A full charge takes approximately 3 hours when the battery is dead.

The power charging function provides a 2-hour charge from a 15-minute charge. The headphones do not play whilst charging.

Noise cancellation.

The noise cancellation of the headphones is the passive type and not the active type.

Active noise cancellation uses noise cancellation technology that blocks out ambient sound and lets you determine the amount of noise that you want to cancel.

These headphones are not designed to have superior noise cancellation capabilities.

The noise cancellation is more noise isolating as opposed to noise canceling.

Therefore, you are likely to feel as if you have placed your fingers over your ears (well they perform a little better than that as your entire ear cup is covered). .

My view is that to save on battery power it is advisable to make use of the included power cable. This prevents you from having to use the Bluetooth.

Man, the dynamic range and the clarity of these headphones is second to none.

And at this price range the headphones are priced very competitively, given the sound quality.

Build Quality

The headphones are also well-built, do not be fooled by the lightweight thereof because they are built to last.

You would have to really try hard to break these cans.

The headphones do not fold, they simply flip for ease of storage. This would be one of the more annoying things for me as they will not fit into a compact carry case.

The clamping force of the headphones is pretty good and the headphones also have excellent grip. This is why they are good for the gym.

As I did my bench presses, I found that the headphones did not slip off, which is an absolute plus.

Bose Soundlink II

What’s in the box

The headphones (naturally).

A micro USB cable is also included. An audio cable is included but is not 3.5 mm both sides. The one end is 2.5 mm

The 2.5 mm of the cable is made to fit into the headphones themselves.

So the cable has been designed specifically for the headphones, so that you do not use a generic cable.


The top of the headband is well padded for protection of the top of your head. It is additionally made from a suede like material.

The headphones are finished in plastic. The slider is made of metal and when adjusting your headphones for size, your headphones will make a click sound to know that they are adjusted.

The stretch test proves that the headphones are solid as they pretty much stretch all the way and there are no funny sounds.


In addition to being Bluetooth compatible, the headphones have NFC (near field communication), which allows pairing to the headphones by placing your device a very short distance from your earphones.

Bose Soundlink II

Carry case

The carry case is large and is a soft case. I do not prefer this for 2 reasons.

The first is that the carry case is not that convenient for travel.

It is made this way because the headphones do not fold inward, but rather the ear cups lay flat.

The second issue is that a harder carry case would result in more protection in the event that you drop the case.

But the case itself is not all that bad. At least your headphones will be protected from scratches.

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