The Bose SoundLink Revolve was the one speaker we tested that sounded so good we almost thought the sound was coming from a full-fledged stereo system. If you self-identify, even slightly, as an audiophile, then this is the portable speaker for you. With its water-resistant and packable shape, it is the best speaker for taking a refined and nuanced listening experience on the road. The Revolve's little brother, the SoundLink Mini II, also provides exceptional, if slightly inferior sound. It is not water resistant, but its price is currently dropping at most online retailers.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve was the best sounding speaker in our testing, which vaulted it to the top of our score sheets and earned it our Editor's Choice Award. Below we discuss how well the Revolve performed in each of our individual tests.
The Revolve earned a perfect 10 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, as it redefined what we thought a small, portable speaker was capable of.
In our testing, the Revolve delivered the kind of crisp, balanced, immersive sound that we did not expect to come from a Bluetooth speaker. It maintained perfect clarity even with piccolo instruments blaring high notes, and the bass was always well defined and never muddy, even when playing the booming baritone soundtracks of ominous sci-fi movies. We started testing soundbars shortly after Bluetooth speakers, and we all felt the Revolve as good, if not slightly better in some aspects, than the low-end soundbars we had in our testing studio. This is incredibly impressive, considering these soundbars are much larger and must be plugged into an outlet. If you've become accustomed to the nice sound system in your living room and don't want to make too big of a sacrifice when you're doing your listening outside at the beach, this is likely the only speaker that will deliver anything close to the sound quality you're looking for.
The Revolve earned a respectable 7 out of 10 in our portability testing, putting it just above average in a metric where scores ranged from 2 to 10.
The Revolve is a tad on the heavy side at 1.5 pounds. This isn't particularly heavy in the scheme of things, but it is heavy enough that you'll probably at least notice the extra weight in your bag or backpack. However, the cylindrical shape lets it slide into a bag easily, and we had no trouble fishing it out of bags stuffed full with towels and snacks. The IPX4 water resistance rating also lends some peace of mind, as you don't have to worry about stuffing the speaker back into your bag with all of the wet towels from your day at the beach. Plus, it won't leave you heartbroken after an unexpected rainstorm.
The Revolve earned an 8 out of 10 in our volume testing, putting towards the top of a metric that saw scores from 4 to 9.
The Revolve Lasted an impressive 18 hours in our battery life testing. This was a full 50% better than it's manufacturer stated 12 hours of battery life. In our opinion, this is more than enough battery life for most situations, as that pretty much covers all of the hours you'd be awake on an average day. However, we had some incredibly impressive battery life performers in our test, so the Revolve only scored a 7 out of 10 in this metric, where scores ranged from 2 to 10.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve was far and away the best portable speaker that we tested. If you want the best sound you can get while you're out and about, this is the speaker for you. Plus it is water resistant, so no worries about listening to it by the lake. The only downside is that it's slightly on the heavy side, so if 'lightweight' is at the top of your priority list you may want to look elsewhere.
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