Bose SoundLink Revolve review

Bose SoundLink Revolve review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Despite their convenience, most wireless speakers are usually directional, sounding best in a specific area. With the Bose SoundLink Revolve, this problem is solved. The 360-degree sound technology from Bose (and others) attempts to fix this.

Bose’s SoundLink Revolve combines excellent build quality and sound into a cylindrical speaker you can take anywhere you want. The speaker looks similar to Bose’s excellent SoundLink Mini II speaker, but it has a different form factor.

Even though this review was written when Revolve launched in 2017, it remains a capable little unit. For more power and heft, we recommend the Bose SoundLink Revolve+.

We’ll mention right away that the SoundLink Revolve has an IPX4 rating, which means it will survive splashes but probably not a dip in the pool or a trip to the beach.

Even though it was originally priced at $199 (£199, AU$299), the speaker still sounds better than much of the fully waterproof competition.

Bose SoundLink Revolve: design

Bose SoundLink Revolve

The Revolve takes the design of its predecessor, the SoundLink Mini II, and enhances it into a cylindrical shape that resembles a Dalek robot from Dr. Who.

It has a strong aluminum housing, which comes in either black or silver and rubberized buttons and a base. Bose SoundLink Revolve feels extremely well made, and should hold up to being thrown in a bag with keys and other knick-knacks (for example).

All the features of the Revolve speaker can be controlled using the buttons on top, including volume, playback, Bluetooth 4.0, aux, and power. Music playback and voice assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant can all be controlled by the multifunction button on Bose’s headphones.

One of this speaker’s closest rivals, the UE Wonderboom, lacks a speakerphone for taking calls.

The microphone on the Bose SoundLink Revolve is located on top of the speaker, so it can hear you from any angle.

You’ll find four pins for an optional charging dock and a threaded tripod mount on the bottom of the speaker. It’s disappointing that Bose didn’t include the $30 (£19.95) charging dock for free as it does with the slightly less expensive SoundLink Mini II, which costs $180 (£170, AU$300). It might seem odd to have a tripod mount, but it offers more flexibility in positioning your Revolve.

Bose also lets you pair two Revolve speakers for stereo or amplification, which is increasingly common these days. The range is 10 meters.

Using the Bose app makes pairing this feature easier than using the device itself. Depending on whether they are in the same room or not, you can use the speakers in stereo or mono.

To fill out the lower bass range of the audio spectrum, the Revolve is equipped with a dual passive radiator setup that runs up the sides of the speaker. An upward-facing transducer handles mids and trebles, which is distributed evenly in all directions using a deflector plate.

According to Bose, this driver configuration creates a 360-degree ring of sound around the speaker with no audio blind spots.

Bose SoundLink Revolve: performance

If you want omnidirectional sound, you should choose the Bose SoundLink Revolve over one of its flat-faced rivals. It allows you to move around and hear the same sound no matter where you are. Partygoers, for example, can have the same listening experience no matter where they are seated.

It pumps music loudly and evenly in every direction with the SoundLink Revolve. In addition, if you place the speaker at the center of the room, it lacks some bass response – though this can be remedied by placing it near a wall to help reflect sound and increase bass response.

Compared to the UE Wonderboom, one of our favorite 360-degree speakers, the Bose SoundLink Revolve’s sound quality is excellent. In contrast to the Wonderboom, the Bose sounds loud and effortless.

The Wonderboom’s mid-forward sound also sounds richer and more controlled than its bass response. However, you should keep in mind that the Wonderboom is half the price of Revolve.

Although the SoundLink Revolve sounds almost as good as the SoundLink Mini II, it cannot match the expansive soundstage and instrumental separation of the Mini II – although to be fair, both speakers sound fantastic and it will be hard to tell the difference until you compare them side by side.

Bose SoundLink Color II offers more bass response and detail than Revolve. Revolve’s 360-degree sound makes it more suitable for listening outdoors than Color II’s directional sound. Both are IPX4-rated, so you won’t want to submerge either speaker in the pool.

For a speaker of this size, the Revolve’s battery life is average, lasting 12 hours at medium volume (the Revolve+ has a slightly longer battery life). Charge the speaker the night before a big event as it also takes 4 hours to fully charge when empty. Faster charging would have been nice if Bose had switched to USB-C, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

Pros Cons
Detailed and expansive sound Not fully water or dustproof
Beautiful design and build Charging dock not included
True 360-degree sound Only 30ft (10m) range

Final verdict

For those who seek 360-degree sound, the Bose SoundLink Revolve is an excellent sound speaker. With this device, you can share music during a party or move around the room without losing audio quality. Despite this, the Bose SoundLink Mini II sounds slightly better and is slightly cheaper as well.

In addition, the Revolve isn’t fully dustproof or waterproof, so you might want to think twice about bringing it to the beach.

The Wonderboom is a great speaker that is completely dust and waterproof for half the price. While it cannot match the audio quality or features of the Bose, it is still great for on-the-go listening. The JBL Charge 3 is a great waterproof speaker with excellent bass, but it is large and heavy.