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Bose has a bigger Bluetooth speaker to power your next pool party

Bose SoundLink Max in blue.

Sometimes, your outdoor (or even indoor) gatherings require a bit more power when it comes to blasting out the tunes. Bose’s new SoundLink Max is designed for just that scenario, and it can be preordered in black or blue starting May 2 for $399. Shipping expected on May 16 — just in time for the start of the summer season.

The SoundLink Max is essentially a larger, more powerful version of the existing SoundLink Flex. The two Bluetooth speakers share a lot in common, including their design. Both are fully waterproof and dustproof (and can float) thanks to an IP67 rating, both have a USB-C connection for charging, and both can be wirelessly linked to other Bose Bluetooth speakers and soundbars via SimpleSync.

Bose SoundLink Max in blue.

At launch, the SoundLink Max can’t stereo-pair to a second SoundLink Max, but Bose says this feature will be added later in 2024.

Where the SoundLink Max departs from the formula is its speaker arrangement. It uses what Bose calls a “Bose Articulated Array” with three drivers located behind the front grille for stereo sound. There are also two passive radiators for better bass performance.

Bose says it has uses proprietary digital signal processing technology from its soundbars that “dramatically minimizes distortion” on the SoundLink Max. Curiously, Bose has also included support for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound, which can deliver lossless, CD-quality audio over a Bluetooth connection when used with a compatible smartphone. It’s an unusual addition for a portable speaker.

Bose SoundLink Max in black.

The SoundLink Max also sports a 3.5mm auxiliary port — something the Flex lacks — so you can connect it to just about any device that has an analog output, like an MP3 or CD player. On the other hand, unlike the Flex, the Max doesn’t work as a speakerphone.

Battery life on the new speaker sounds like it might last an entire day at a claimed 20 hours. Better yet, the USB-C port can also be used to charge external devices like phones.

Needless to say, the SoundLink Max is heftier than its smaller sibling at 10.42 by 4.73 by 4.13 inches and weighs more at just under five pounds (the Flex is 3.56 by 7.93 by 2.06 inches and weighs1.3 pounds). It also swaps out the Flex’s small carry strap with a more robust carry handle, which itself can be swapped out for an optional shoulder strap or removed entirely.

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Simon Cohen
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