The Marshall Middleton and the Bose SoundLink Flex are both among the hottest names in the portable Bluetooth speaker market. Make no mistake — these are two great speakers from two world-class speaker manufacturers.
In this comparison, the Middleton, released in 2023, takes on the SoundLink Flex, a fan favorite released in 2021.
The Middleton MSRPs for almost twice the price, and is larger and higher powered, so comparing the Middleton vs. the SoundLink Flex is admittedly an “apples to oranges” comparison. Nonetheless, we’ll dive deep into the features and strengths of both models, assessing sound, design, durability, battery life, and software.
The sonic components of both speakers exhibit unique characteristics.
The Marshall Middleton excels in sound quality, boasting a more impressive bass and a greater soundstage. This is thanks to its higher wattage and power, which also result in more decibels. The Middleton also features an inbuilt EQ (with physical equalizer controls on the device, which is a tremendous feature!), making it more customizable according to the listener’s preference.
The Bose SoundLink Flex, while smaller in size and less powerful, is on nearly every “best portable speakers” list for a reason. Despite having no EQ available, the Flex still delivers very crisp sounds that are well-received by nearly all users. While it may not compete in terms of volume or power, the SoundLink Flex holds its own ground.
(Plus, given the price discrepancy, you could buy 2 SoundLink Flexes and use them in tandem for the same price as a single Middleton).
Sound winner: Marshall Middleton (Superior sound quality, greater bass, and inbuilt EQ)
The Marshall Middleton, despite being larger and bulkier, brings a distinctive design and aesthetic that sets it apart. Its larger size and weight are trade-offs for its superior sound quality and performance.
The Middleton features an AUX input for wired connections, though it lacks a built-in microphone, which the Flex offers.
On the other hand, the Bose SoundLink Flex is much more portable due to its smaller size. It also includes a built-in microphone for hands-free calls. Its Bluetooth 4.2 software is a step behind the Middleton’s Bluetooth 5.1 but is still reliable and maintains a strong connection to devices.
Design winner: Tie (Depends on user preference for size and features)
Both the Marshall Middleton and the Bose SoundLink Flex boast an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating, ensuring that they can stand up to various elements and environments.
The Middleton’s size and construction may offer slightly more robustness, but the Flex is not far behind in this regard.
Durability winner: Tie (Both speakers are sturdy and durable)
When it comes to battery life, the Marshall Middleton comes out ahead, offering up to 20 hours of playtime, compared to the Bose SoundLink Flex’s 12-hour battery life. However, both speakers provide adequate battery life for most users’ needs and can last through many hours of playback.
Battery winner: Marshall Middleton (Longer battery life despite the higher volume and output)
In terms of software, the Marshall Middleton features Bluetooth 5.1, providing a more stable and long-range connection. The Bose SoundLink Flex uses Bluetooth 4.2, but still provides a reliable connection for most uses.
As for additional features, the Middleton has an inbuilt EQ that allows for sound customization, while the Flex does not. The Flex, however, includes a built-in microphone for hands-free calls, which the Middleton lacks.
Software winner: Marshall Middleton (More recent Bluetooth version and inbuilt EQ)
The comparison between the Marshall Middleton and the Bose SoundLink Flex is indeed a matter of “apples to oranges.” Both speakers shine in their unique ways and cater to different user preferences and needs.
The Marshall Middleton is a great choice for those who value superior sound quality, greater volume, and extended battery life. Its unique design is sure to turn heads, while its inbuilt EQ allows for customizable sound, a feature much appreciated by audiophiles.
On the other hand, the Bose SoundLink Flex excels in portability due to its compact size. Its built-in microphone for hands-free calls adds a practical touch to its feature set. While it may not compete in terms of volume or power, the Flex’s sound quality remains commendable, making it a strong contender in the portable Bluetooth speaker market.
At the end of the day, your choice will come down to your personal preference and the specific features you’re looking for in a portable speaker.
In conclusion, both the Marshall Middleton and the Bose SoundLink Flex hold their ground as top contenders in the portable Bluetooth speaker category. Whether you prioritize sound quality and power over size and portability, or vice versa, you can’t go wrong with either choice.
How do the waterproof ratings of the Marshall Middleton and Bose SoundLink Flex compare?
Both the Marshall Middleton and Bose SoundLink Flex have IP67 waterproof and dustproof ratings. This means they are capable of being submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes without suffering damage. They’re also protected against dust ingress to a level that will not interfere with satisfactory operation.
Which has better battery life, Marshall Middleton or Bose SoundLink Flex?
The Marshall Middleton has up to 20 hours of battery life, while the Bose SoundLink Flex can last up to 12 hours on a single charge. This duration can vary depending on factors such as volume level and type of audio being played.
Can you adjust the EQ on the Marshall Middleton and Bose SoundLink Flex?
The Marshall Middleton has a built-in EQ which allows you to customize the sound to your liking. The Bose SoundLink Flex, however, does not have this feature.
Does the Marshall Middleton have a built-in microphone?
The Marshall Middleton does not include a built-in microphone.
How do the prices of the Marshall Middleton and Bose SoundLink Flex compare?
The Marshall Middleton is priced around $300 at MSRP, while the Bose SoundLink Flex has an MSRP of approximately $150. However, actual prices may vary based on location and retailer.
Can I use the Marshall Middleton outdoors?
Yes, the Marshall Middleton is designed to be portable and durable. The IP67 rating makes it suitable for outdoor use in various weather conditions. However, they are not designed to be fully submerged in water for extended periods.