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BOSE SOUNDLINK AIR: Blow your mind, not your budget

Jan 10 2013, 09:57 IST
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SummarySound is good even at high volume on this one-piece wireless speaker system.

Listening to music is a great way to relax your body and mind. My personal choice is listening to ghazals by Begum Akhtar, Farida Khanum and Jagjit Singh to relax my mind when I have had a long day at work. Even timeless hits of Abba, The Bee Gees, Richard Marx or the scintillating saxophone solos of Kenny G—all played on a seven year-old Bose twin speaker set—have a soothing effect and actually help clear the mind for sleep, as far as my personal experience is concerned. Moot point is, listening to music that is personally enjoyable has positive effects on the brain.

Dedication to research and excellence has been the Bose approach to better sound since Amar Bose founded the company in 1964. Ever since then, Bose engineers have focused on creating better technology. You’ll find that focus exemplified in the SoundLink Air digital music system. A very neat, one-piece wireless speaker system that streams audio from an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or a computer’s iTunes library via Apple’s AirPlay technology and a Wi-Fi network.

AirPlay is Apple’s technology that enables iOS (and other) devices to stream music to AirPlay-enabled receivers. The SoundLink Air also features an auxiliary input so you can connect and play music from other devices that don’t utilise AirPlay.

Most Bose offerings are incredibly good, but frightfully expensive. Thankfully, this Bose model is aimed more at the mass market; the SoundLink Air comes in high-gloss black with a metal grille for R22,388. An optional rechargeable lithium-ion battery is sold separately for R6,638. Other Airplay speakers are a lot more expensive. I wondered if the sound quality would be compromised for the fairly inexpensive price for an Airplay speaker, and it definitely isn’t. But more on its audio performance later.

Visually, this all-black Bose system looks slick and will fit into any room and onto any surface. It is beautifully designed and measures 17 cm x 30 cm x 10 cm (height x width x depth). On the front of the SoundLink Air, near the top, sits its single LED, which indicates whether the speaker is successfully connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Unlike other Bose units, there is no concept of docking the iPhone/iPod/iPad, as AirPlay involves streaming audio wirelessly from the iOS device to the audio system. Thus SoundLink Air owners can maintain full control of their Apple device—browsing, texting or making calls—all while enjoying a new level of audio

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