In testing the sound quality of the Bose SoundLink 3, I played music in two different ways. First, I used the headphone output of a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 into the auxiliary jack, then I used the Bluetooth playback that most people will be using with this speaker. There was no audible difference between the two. For music, I played a wide variety: rock, punk, hip hop, indie rock, jazz, mellow acoustic music, metal and electronica were all on the playlist.
The Bose SoundLink 3 is indeed better than the speaker that preceded it in nearly every way. It sounds better, is louder, and has drastically improved battery life. Even in areas where it doesn’t surpass earlier Bose speakers, it certainly matches them evenly. Especially as far as competitors to Bose are concerned, this is now the speaker to beat.
Though Bluetooth is supposed to make life easy, it’s surprising how often it just doesn’t seem to want to work at all. This isn’t the case with the Bose SoundLink 3. As soon as you hit the power button, the speaker starts broadcasting its presence to any device that would like to pair with it. In my testing this was always a quick and painless process. There was one instance where my Moto X took around 20 seconds to successfully pair, and that was the longest wait I had during testing.