Bose Soundlink Revolve
FOR Great 360º sound; big, punchy sound; portable design AGAINST Rivals more detailed; not very rugged; a bit pricey
There’s no shortage of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market, but the £200 Bose Soundlink Revolve stands out from the rest. The speaker’s cylindrical design is key to delivering its 360-degree sound.
Under that sturdy aluminium casing, there’s a full-range driver firing downwards into a patented diffuser plate, which aims to spread the sound evenly in all directions. There are also two passive radiators to reinforce the lower frequencies, placed opposite each other to reduce vibrations.
The Revolve is a strikingly petite speaker, which should fit into just about any space in your home. It's more substantial than the similarly sized Google Home, but can still be held in the palm of your hand, and it's compact enough to be carried in a backpack. You get 12 hours of battery life – that’s a good chunk of listening, though rivals such as the UE Boom 2 and Megaboom give you 15 and 20 hours respectively.
Unlike many of its rivals, this Bose isn't designed for rugged, muddy terrain. It is water-resistant, not waterproof – its IPX4 rating meaning it will survive splashes of water, not submersion. The rubber top can get a bit grubby, especially in this ‘lux grey’ finish. While it’s designed to withstand knocks, our sample model had already picked up some scratches on the finish.
The Revolve is a straightforward Bluetooth speaker – pairing is swift, and it automatically reconnects to your smartphone the next time you fire it up. There’s also a 3.5mm input to hardwire the speaker to other music sources.
The six buttons on the rubber top of the speaker allow you to switch between inputs (an LED lights up to indicate connection), adjust volume and turn the power on and off. Hold the power button and a voice tells you how much battery charge is left.
A neat touch is that you can pause, play and skip through your music using the multifunction button (the one with the three dots). You can also use it to speak to your smartphone’s voice assistant – even if your phone is in another room. The buttons are responsive, although it’s more likely you’ll be using your tablet or smartphone to control and select music anyway.
Energy and drive
The free Bose Connect app is worth downloading for updates, as well as checking the speaker’s battery level and enabling Party Mode – which lets you connect two Revolve speakers to play in tandem or as a stereo pair.
For such a small speaker, the Bose Revolve delivers a surprisingly big and bold sound. It has no problem filling up our medium-sized test room – even at two-thirds of its full volume.
It spreads sound around evenly and with aplomb. Even as we move around the speaker, there is little variance in the presentation. The music remains solid and robust, regardless of our position.
We play Linkin Park’s One Step Closer, and the drums hit with a satisfying thump, basslines are deep and full bodied, and the rhythm is punchy and gripping. There’s a warmth to the sound that makes the Revolve enjoyable to listen to, it delivers plenty of detail alongside the punch and the bass doesn't go too boomy.
But we wish the Bose sounded clearer, and that edges of notes were more crisply defined. The Megaboom is more articulate and handles dynamic shifts and rhythm
“For such a small speaker, the Revolve delivers a surprisingly big and bold sound. It has no problem filling our medium-sized test room”
changes with more confidence – and it delivers a bigger scale of sound, too. The Revolve is less insightful, but it’s still fun to listen to. The sense of energy and drive is apparent, and when it goes loud, it’s pretty impressively loud.
Compared with its main rivals in the Bluetooth speaker market, the Revolve is rather pricey – £200 is a lot to pay for a speaker, especially when the UE Megaboom is clearer, more ruggedly built and now available for around £50 less.
However, it’s hard not to admire the Bose Soundlink Revolve for its range of talents and, despite it not getting the full five stars, we can imagine this tiny, talented speaker will still turn plenty of heads.
The buttons on the top of the Revolve are for power, volume and for switching inputs
Pairing with your smartphone is swi, and there is a 3.5mm input for other sources