Though nearly identical physically to its predecessor, the Pulse Mini, the Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i sounds significantly better. In fact, this is one of the best single-cabinet stereo speakers I’ve heard. Add support for Alexa, AirPlay 2, and the versatility of the BluOS multi-room system, and the $499 Pulse Mini 2i is a Bluetooth speaker to be reckoned with.

The Pulse Mini 2i is outfitted with two 4-inch woofers and two 0.75-inch tweeters driven by a 100-watt amplifier. It’s available in black or white, weighs 8 pounds, and measures about 13.2-inches wide, 6.8-inches high, and 6.1-inches deep. It features a two-way (transmit and receive) Bluetooth 5.0 radio that can drive another speaker or headphones, and it supports the 24-bit aptx HD codec. It can also operate over your home network (either Wi-Fi or hardwired ethernet) and be linked with other Bluesound speakers in a stereo configuration or as a component of a multi-room system using the embedded BluOS and the Bluesound app.

The app is broadly available on Android, iOS, Kindle, macOS/OS X, and Windows. There’s also a configuration page hosted by the Pulse Mini 2i itself that you can access with your Web browser.
bls pulse mini 2i wht top Bluesound
They’re a bit on the small size, with a somewhat small sweet spot, there are five touch controls on the top of the Pulse Mini 2i. 

Five backlit touch controls are on top of the cabinet: Volume up and down, track forward and back, and play/pause. The color of the play/pause button indicates the status of the unit as follows.

  • Solid Green: Hotspot Mode, ready to connect
  • Flashing Green: Trying to connect to the network
  • Solid Purple: Hotspot not successful setting up
  • Solid Blue: Connected and ready to stream music
  • Flicker Blue: Receiving IR Codes from a remote
  • Solid Red: Waiting to perform an upgrade (initiated by the app)

I included the list above because it’s not explained in the setup guide, and the info is hard to find on the company’s website. There’s a user’s guide, but it’s hidden in the HTML configuration pages. Also unexplained by any documentation that’s easily found are the analog/optical input (an adapter is included), mini-USB port (for factory firmware updates), Type-A USB port for playing music directly from storage media, using the ethernet port as a faster and more stable alternative to Wi-Fi, and a service button that is used in conjunction with the mini-USB port by technicians.

Seriously, if you’re charging $499, add a page to the setup guide explaining the ports and color codes. Documentation scattered about in obscure locations was also an issue with the first version. Good grief.
bls pulse mini 2i wht rear Bluesound
Though you can easily ken the usage of most of the backside ports, it would be nice if they were explained by easily found documentation.

While I’m griping: One thing that bugged me about the original Pulse Mini was the lack of feedback for the touch controls. No friendly click, blink, or beep to tell you that the device had received your input. This time around, the volume up/down and previous/next track buttons blink when you touch them. Bluesound seemed surprised to hear this (I have video evidence), and it’s a little hard to see as your finger covers most of the button, blocking out the light, but at least someone tried. Perhaps they could make the buttons just a bit larger and pulse the light instead. (Pun intended).

Sound

Weak controls and documentation are mere annoyances. Sound is the thing with speakers, and as I said up top, the Pulse Mini 2i sounds much better than the original—a high compliment as that speaker also sounded terrific. Frequency response seems improved, and there’s a better stereo field thanks to the additional woofer. Did I mention that the older model had only one?