Portable Bluetooth speakers have taken over the speaker market, and there is a ton of competition, including the UE Boom 2, UE Wonderboom, JBL Flip 4, and JBL Charge 3, to name a few.
The SoundLink Revolve is Bose’s entry into the cylindrical-shaped Bluetooth speaker competition. It is one of Bose’s two portable, tubular, battery-powered Bluetooth speakers; the other is the Resolve’s big brother, the Revolve Plus.
Given that so many Bluetooth speakers are on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have to make a decision. My wife bought me the SoundLink Revolve for Christmas or my birthday (Don’t tell her I don’t remember which one – ha!).
Weighing in at 1.5 pounds and roughly 6 by 3.3 by 3.3 inches (HWD), the Bose Revolve is a petite speaker, and I can see it fitting into just about any space in your home. It feels solidly built when you hold it but still fits in the palm of your hand.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve features a seamless aluminum housing in either silver or black, a circular top, and a slightly larger circular bottom. The speaker has a rubberized base and buttons.
The outer panel of the speaker has perforations for the speakers on the lower half. The Resolve feels like a quality product and will handle the wear and tear of regular use.
On the top of the speaker, there are buttons that control the speaker. The buttons are molded into the speaker’s top and include on/off, volume up, volume down, aux input, and a multi-function button. The multi-function button can play/pause or be held down to connect with Siri or Google Assistant. Additionally, there is a microphone for voice commands or using the Revolve as a speakerphone.
The Revolve’s microphone is also located on the top of the speaker so it can hear you from any direction.
The speaker has a rubberized base that is designed to absorb impacts if you do drop the speaker.
Additionally, you can find the pins for an optional charging dock and a threaded tripod mount. The Threaded tripod mount allows you to attach the speaker to a wall mount or stand for optimal sound projection. Finally, there is a 3.5 mm input should you want to hardwire this speaker to other audio sources.
The base also contains the connection for the Resolve’s micro-USB charging cable. The Revolve has a charging cradle that is similar to the bottom of a kettle. Unfortunately, Bose sells this charging cradle separately, unlike the SoundLink Mini II, which comes with its charging cradle.
The charging cradle comes in at $29.95, and it uses the cable and wall adapter that comes with the speaker. This charger allows you to charge the speaker without plugging and unplugging the USB cable. (Editor’s Note: Don’t waste the money on the charging cradle. The USB charger works great and comes with the speaker.)
The Revolve is programmed to be paired with another Revolve speaker for stereo sound or sound amplification. This feature will work up to a range of 10m.
The SoundLink Revolve includes Bose’s vocal prompts. The speaker will tell you when it’s connected or if it can’t find a device to pair with. You can turn off these spoken prompts, but I find the vocal reminders useful.
Pairing the Revolve with another speaker can be done on the speaker. However, it is more convenient to use Bose’s free app, Bose Connect. When you open Bose Connect, select “Party Mode” to pair the speakers. The app gives you the option of using the speakers in stereo or mono, depending on if they are in the same room or not.
Bose Connect is easy to use and well-designed. It is the same app that most Bose devices use, so you can manage them from the same place if you have multiple Bose products. Unfortunately, the bose app does not feature any digital EQ to optimize the sound on the two speakers.
The app provides essential information and settings like battery level, volume control, and playback. You can also adjust the auto-off timer and turn off voice reminders. An LED light will indicate if you have connected the Revolve with other devices.
In addition to using the Bose app, the Revolve is designed to integrate and function with your phone. You can take calls on the Revolve’s speaker by answering with the multi-function button.
Long-pressing this button will give you access to a virtual assistant when the Revolve is connected to the appropriate device. The Revolve can remember up to eight Bluetooth devices. You can cycle through them by pressing the Bluetooth button.
The inside of the Revolve has a dual passive radiator setup that runs up the speaker’s sides. The dual passive radiator allows the Revolve to fill out the lower ends of the audio spectrum. Mids and trebles are handled by a downward-facing transducer that uses a deflector plate to distribute the sound across a room. This results in omnidirectional audio – no sweet or dead spots as you walk around the speaker.
Bose claims that this setup allows the speaker to create a full 360-degree sound around the speaker without any blind spots.
My wife and I use it daily. It is the perfect size to move from room to room. Plus, it looks good anywhere in the house.
In addition to being a great home product, it is designed to be portable and is small enough to fit in your backpack.
The Revolve is also water and shock-resistant and designed with indoor and outdoor use in mind. However, I would not want to bring it hiking or to a festival because it’s water-resistant, not waterproof.
It is not designed for rugged, outdoor adventures like some of its rivals. The Revolve has an IPX4 rating which indicates that it will survive splashes of water.
In my experience, the Revolve’s rubber top can get a bit dirty. More so on the silver finish than the black version. While it is designed to handle everyday use, my speaker already has some dings and dents.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve’s most significant advantage over rival Bluetooth speakers is its omnidirectional sound. You can move around and experience the same level and quality of sound wherever you are. As a result, the Revolve is great for parties or picnics.
In terms of sound, the Revolve is a step above the competition. It plays louder with a better bass response and a more natural sound than its competitors. The Revolve sounds much larger than its diminutive size would indicate.
It does have sound limitations, but it will fill a small to medium-sized room with sound easily – at two-thirds volume. It works well in a dorm room, home office, or bedroom.
My wife and I use it every day in our master bathroom to play music in the morning while we shower and get ready for work. If we have friends over, we find we use this speaker more than our homes-built-in system because it is so easy to connect.
I am impressed with the sound quality, although that should not be a surprise from a Bose product. The Revolve gives a great range of sound and can handle a variety of music genres.
Other speakers will stumble through intense bass lines, but the Revolve will cruise them. The Revolve delivers a solid bass thump, and at moderate levels, the depth of the bass is robust and complete. The Revolve has a built-in digital signal processor that limits strong bass frequencies to stop distortion at higher volumes.
Overall, the SoundLink Revolve produces a modest response in the sub-bass frequencies, has a strong presence in the lows and low-mids, and shines in the highest frequencies. When you turn up the volume, the speaker will vibrate slightly, but the rubber base prevents the speaker from moving.
If you label yourself an audiophile, you may discover some issues with the Revolve’s sound, especially compared to wired speakers of the same price. For example, the Revolve doesn’t pump out subwoofer-level bass. However, most people will appreciate the sound that the Revolve puts out and its portability and flexibility.
In comparison to its rivals, the Revolve’s battery life is average. The Revolve is rated for 12 hours of play at moderate volume. The Revolve sounds the same whether plugged in or on battery. However, the sound output is limited once the battery reaches 30% to save power.
One of the Revolve’s shortcomings is the time it takes to change. It takes four hours to charge when empty fully. This is a hindrance but not a deal-breaker.
I’m not entirely sure how Bose measured the Revolve’s battery life. In my own experience, the battery has lasted much longer. I’ve used it while working from home, and after using it four hours a day for a week (around 20 hours of use), the battery was still at 50%.
I think the battery life is fantastic. It can go weeks with daily use, and every time you turn it on, it tells you how much charge it has.
I am disappointed that the Revolve uses a Micro-USB port on the back for charging. I would have expected Bose to be using USB-C in 2021. A USB-C charging port would drastically decrease charging time.
Overall, what separates the Bose Revolve from its competitors is the ability to play a little louder and with more bass while sounding natural without distortion.
Overall, The Bose Soundlink Resolve is one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market.
The Bose is a bit more expensive than some of its competitors. As with most Bose products, you get what you pay for. The revolve gives outstanding sound quality and better bass than its competitors. Furthermore, the sleek design fits in many different environments and spaces.
The Omni-directional sound is a step above the other Bluetooth speakers on the market. The build quality and water-resistant properties are also outstanding.
Additionally, the omnidirectional sound is a huge plus. Other speakers market themselves as having 360-degree sound, but none of them compare to the outstanding sound quality of the Bose Revolve.
Using the speaker is super intuitive. Plus, the free app is easy to use and helps you use the app. If I were buying a speaker for my parents or someone not very tech-savvy, either the Bose SoundLink Resolve or Resolve+ would be my definite first choice.
There are cheaper speakers around, but not many can offer the same quality of experience as the Revolve.
The Revolve’s only downside is its outdoor use. It’s just okay for poolside, beach, boat, or camping conditions due to a lower waterproof rating than JBL brand speakers. If waterproofing is critical, you have to go with a JBL.
Even with these (limited) shortcomings, the SoundLink Resolve offers an outstanding audio experience and is my favorite Bluetooth speaker on the market.