In terms of wireless household entertainment, the Bose SoundLink Mobile Speaker is among the few formidable competitors to Apple's AirPlay system. The price is on par; the features are similar. But while AirPlay is designed to function best as part of a fully integrated wireless home entertainment system, the Bose unit is less of a commitment. It's rugged and portable, lending appeal to customers with a smaller budget or a home that, for whatever reason, can't have audio components installed throughout.
The SoundLink is a tablet-sized speaker that can pair with up to six Bluetooth devices (to connect to the music collection stored on your computer, tablet, or phone). Just a few taps and your music is played wirelessly through the speaker. (It also has an auxiliary input, just in case, so it can be used with non-Bluetooth devices like iPods and portable DVD players.) Bose says the music stream won't be interrupted by calls, e-mails or Internet surfing on the mobile device in use. And to increase durability and aesthetics, a portfolio-like folding cover (in a choice of colors) functions as a stand when it's open and automatically turns off the speaker when it's closed.
Bose is a company that stakes its reputation on sound quality, but portability is really the SoundLink's selling point. Weighing in at less than 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms), and measuring roughly 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide, 5 inches tall (12.7 cm), and two inches (5.08 cm) thick, the SoundLink is easy to scoop up and tote around the house while you look for a comfy spot to spend a few hours. Or, you can take the SoundLink with you -- it's easy to tuck into a backpack or bag along with your laptop. The rechargeable battery lasts about 8 hours (depending on the volume), and it's moisture-resistant (though Bose doesn't give specifics) so feel free to roam a bit (poolside, perhaps, but probably not showerside).
If the last few pages of technical information made your head spin, we have a treat for you -- the next page has another lust-worthy Bluetooth-enabled bauble that'll make you even dizzier.