It’s pretty incredible how Bose has maintained differentiation from the hundreds of speaker manufacturers simply through maintaining its commitment to sound performance and build quality. Many have tried to copy or outdo Bose, but it continues to be the industry leader.
Its most recent release, the Soundlink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker continues along with tradition and delivers excellent sound in one heck of a package. Priced at $199.99, the Soundlink Revolve Plus fits into the middle price range of wireless speakers these days, but with Bose you always know what you’re in for when you make a purchase of one of its products.
The Soundlink Revolve is the smaller sibling to the Revolve+ and comes in a cylindrical metal unibody that outputs 360 degree sound. It measures 5.97″ H x 3.24″ W x 3.24″ D and weighs 1.5 pounds. While the size is about the same as a 500mL water bottle, the weight at 1.5 pounds makes it a bit heavy to carry around in a backpack on a regular basis. However there is a reason behind the weight – the drivers are powerful and there is a battery that can keep the Revolve going for 12 hours before it needs a recharge. For the first time, Bose waterproofed its portable speaker line, and the Revolve comes with an IPX4 rating meaning you can use it by the pool without worry of damage. Controls reside on the top of the Revolve: power on/off, +/- for volume and track control, Bluetooth, input and a button for activating Google Now or Siri.
On the back of the Revolve is where you will find two input ports: one is a 3.5mm audio input and the other is a microUSB slot for charging. On the bottom there is a spot for charging through a charging base that was included in the previous generation Soundlink speakers, but this time you’ll need to pay $29.99 for the dock.
I opted for the official charging cradle, and prefer it to sticking in a small microUSB cable into the back. With the cradle I leave the Revolve on it when I’m in my office, and simply lift the speaker off when I take it in and around the house.
Bose focused on the build quality of the Revolve, and I can say that it’s impressive. It’s not a speaker made for a child with LED lights that flicker, instead it has a unibody that looks as good as it sounds.
If you’ve owned Bose products before, you already know its rich and balanced sound signature. The Revolve doesn’t stray from that rich sound profile, but gets much louder than the previous generation and it also outputs 360 sound. Having a cylindrical profile means it sounds good no matter where it is placed in the room. From the lowest volume setting through the highest, the Revolve maintains a sense of balance and richness that very few manufacturers match. It only seemed to struggle with bass at the highest setting on songs that are designed to push woofers to their limits. The Revolve sounds fantastic no matter which genre of music you’re into as I tested just about all of them over the past two weeks.
It’s a speaker that’s designed for personal use, but can also be used to entertain a large group of people too. If you want double the sound, you can download the official Bose Soundlink Connect app and pair a second Revolve to your Bluetooth connected device for stereo sound. However one speaker might be enough for a party of 20 people or less – with it turned to 50% it is vibrating my large desk.
While $199.99 might be out of range for many consumers, Bose designed the Revolve for the discerning consumer who loves to listen to their music instead of simply hearing it. It sounds so great, that when I pick mine up to move to a different room, I find myself using it as a faux microphone to pretend like I’m a rock star. With that said, the Revolve did include a microphone for taking calls or for giving Google Now or Siri commands. What’s nice about the included microphone is that Bose didn’t treat it as a simple addition. It actually performs well enough for my mom and colleagues to hear me on the several calls that I tested it out on. A group of us even used it to take a conference call with a potential new employee and he didn’t even realize it was a portable speaker.
In the case of the Revolve, you get what you pay for – premium build quality and the Bose sound signature for rich and balanced sound that can entertain any music genre.
If you own the last generation Soundlink speaker, you probably don’t need to upgrade to the Revolve unless you need more volume or want to pair it to a second speaker. However, if you’re in the market for a new Bluetooth speaker, you can’t go wrong with the Bose Soundlink Revolve.