Review: The Bose S1 Bluetooth Speaker Delivers Big, Dynamic Sound in a Portable Package

Bose S1 speaker review
Courtesy of Bose

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A bluetooth portable speaker is a practical purchase whether or not you plan to go anywhere with it. They’re convenient amplifiers of sound and great for at-home gatherings and park days alike. Who do we go to for all things top-notch sound? Bose. The Bose S1 Speaker might be larger than what most bargain for when they’re aiming for “portable,” but it’s way more portable than it looks.

The Bose S1 speaker is one of the largest bluetooth, portable speaker systems I’ve gotten to test. It measures 11.1 x 9.4 x 13.1 inches large, and weighs about 15.5 pounds. It’s design is more reminiscent of the large boomboxes of the 80’s and 90’s, rather than the bite-sized devices we’re used to investing in these days, but the sound quality is off the charts.

Keep reading to find our full review, but if you’re a skimmer and want the jist: this speaker is big enough, and high-quality enough, to replace a home speaker system and can be taken on-the-go way easier than you think. It’s a splurge, but if you’re considering an audio device that could fill up your entire living room, dining room and kitchen by itself, it becomes much more affordable.

Bose S1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker System

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Bose S1 speaker system Courtesy of Amazon

  

Bose S1 speaker review Taylor Galla | SPY

Bose S1 Speaker Review: The Criteria

For the Bose S1 Speaker, we reviewed it based on the following criteria, keeping it simple but justifiably granular at the same time, given the price.

  • Speaker Design
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Sound Quality
  • Portability
  • Price

After assessing the factors most consumers would care about the most before a speaker purchase, we settled on these areas to focus on. Overall, the Bose S1 thrived up against our review criteria, but there are a few factors worth noting that we want to highlight, especially given the high price. Keep reading to find out more.

  

Bose S1 speaker review Courtesy of Bose

Bose S1 Speaker: What You Get

When you purchase the Bose S1, you get a sizable speaker that’s about the size of two shoe boxes taped together. It has a geometric shape to it, with a large, tree-paneled speaker up front and four other sides for multiple position options when playing sound. You have the option to purchase the Bose S1 with a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion speaker for an extra $100, or without it for a wired version. I tested out the wireless model with the built-in speaker, and recommend opting for the more convenient option since you’re already dropping $500+ on a portable speaker.

With the speaker you get the speaker itself and a charging cord. There’s no traveling case, but you don’t really need one. The speaker feels plenty sturdy on its own for throwing in the back of a car, placing outside in the garage or bringing with you to the beach.

We’ll get more into this in the design section, but this speaker can also act as an amp for musicians, and comes with two combo XLR 1/4 inputs, a 3.5 millimeter Bluetooth input as well as a 1/4 TRS line output port as well.

You get up to 11 hours of playtime on a fully charged lithium-ion battery, and it’s got built-in sound enhancing technology that definitely pushes the quality past its competitors.

  

Bose s1 speaker handle Taylor Galla | SPY

Speaker Design

If you’re looking for a larger yet compact speaker for a garage gym, outdoor play area or musician practice space this speaker is brilliantly designed. Its shape lends itself to multiple placement positions, so you can play sound straight ahead, tilt it back for a wider reach or put it on its side. It has three sides to the speaker out front and a whole host of controls on the back that are easy to read without taking up too much space. While the control panel on the back might look intimidating to someone who isn’t as audio-inclined, it’s actually very user-friendly if all you need to do is turn it on and connect via Bluetooth.

I use this speaker all the time when I’m working out at home, and while it can definitely pack a punch if you turn it all the way up, it’s excellent for playing sound in a smaller area too because the quality is so crisp and clear.

The most important element of the speaker’s design, however, is the handle on top. It’s super easy to grip and makes it very easy to carry this otherwise bulky piece of audio equipment. I’ll discuss it more in the portability section, but just know that I would write a separate love letter to the handle on this speaker if that wasn’t an unnecessary, and weird, thing to do.

  

Bluetooth Connectivity

I’ve had no problem with the Bluetooth capabilities for this speaker, but wanted to make it its own category since it’s a crucial component of its design. The sound quality of the speaker can be great, but if you can’t connect to it? Forget about it. This speaker connected with my phone instantly, and will play my sound while staying simultaneously connected to a few other phones in our household at once. Let’s be honest, sometimes Bluetooth is a real headache. This speaker rewrites that narrative.

  

Bose S1 speaker review Courtesy of Bose

Sound Quality

Unsurprisingly, the sound quality on this Bose speaker is quite high. They certainly haven’t lost their touch over the years, and this speaker is a great example of a versatile, well-designed speaker that doesn’t sacrifice sound quality with the bulk. It also has built-in ToneMatch processing sensors and Auto EQ inside that augments the sound based on its surroundings to create optimal audio anywhere. There are also dials for bass and treble so musicians using it can enhance their performance through its technology. It’s an impressive machine whether you’re a sound nerd or not.

  

Portability

Okay, back to the handle on top. As soon as I gripped the built-in handle, that seamlessly fits into the shape of the speaker by the way, and lifted it, I knew I had to write about this machine. It’s surprisingly lightweight for its size, and very easy to carry. While I wouldn’t recommend a very small child or frail elderly try to move it at high speeds, this speaker can be picked up by basically anyone and repositioned easily. Its shape is very packing-friendly, meaning you can fit it into the back of a car, van or truck without impeding your ability to stack many things around it, and none of the controls stick out from the speaker, so you don’t have to worry about it accidentally getting turned on.

This speaker is perfect for camping trips, beach days, park excursions or any other adventure because it’s easy to use, group-friendly without being obnoxiously loud or heavy.

  

Price

The price is high, but depending on who you ask, prices are higher for most top-notch audio equipment. This speaker is large, and has large-speaker capabilities, like filling up an entire room or backyard with sound. Compared to a wired home speaker system, for example, it’s a super affordable price. Compared to a smaller portable Bluetooth speaker like the JBL Charge 4? It’s heftier and pricier, but you’re getting so much more. It’s an investment in the finest option in this product category, and while it might not be necessary for the average teenager who loves music, or the average apartment-dweller who doesn’t need (and probably shouldn’t use) wall-shaking sound, in the right situation it would be ideal.

  

Bose S1 speaker review Taylor Galla | SPY

Bose S1 Speaker Verdict: Should You Get It?

Yes! Overall, the only potential downside is the price. If you’re willing to invest, it’s a premium speaker that offers big sound and cool features.

Of course, whether or not you should get this speaker depends on your individual needs, and whether optimal sound quality is important to you. If you’re a performer, musician or frequent entertainer who needs a larger audio solution for filling a space easily, this is a fantastic pick from a leading audio brand. It’s portable, well-designed and very easy to use.

Pros:

  • Sleek, streamlined design
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Dependable handle
  • Lightweight given its power and size
  • Multiple position options due to its versatile shape

Cons:

  • High price point