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Bose SoundLink Revolve Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $200 List | $199.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent sound quality, water resistant, great battery life
Cons:  Expensive, relatively heavy
Bottom line:  The best portable speaker for audiophiles
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Bose

Our Verdict

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 it's 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 resistance, but it's price is currently dropping at most online retailers.

Want something louder?

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is essentially a larger and louder version of the SoundLink Revolve. It does weigh and cost a bit more, but if you're looking for something that sounds great and can really roar then the Revolve+ will serve you well.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Monday
May 15, 2017

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The Bose SoundLink Revolve was the best sounding speaker in our testing, which vaulted it to top of our score sheets and earned it our Editor's Choice Award.


Performance Comparison


The Bose SoundLink Revolve was the top overall performer in testing.


Below we discuss how well the Revolve performed in each of our individual tests.

Sound Quality


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.

Portability


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 has simple  intuitive controls.
The Revolve has simple, intuitive controls.

Volume


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 was easily able to fill our testing apartment with rich sound, and could definitely still be heard even when that apartment was full of a bunch people chatting. If you're looking for something loud enough for a large backyard party you'll want to look into the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3.

Battery Life


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 opinon this is more than enough battery life for most situations, as that pretty much covers all of the hour 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.


Value


At a list price of $200, the Bose SoundLink Revolve is one of the more expensive models we tested. However, it also delivers incredible sound. If you place a premium on sound quality then this speaker is a great value. If you're more concerned about something that's lightweight and portable you'll find a better value in the UE Roll 2.

The Revolve Comes with a charging cable and USB wall outlet converter. You can also get a charging base for another $29.
The Revolve Comes with a charging cable and USB wall outlet converter. You can also get a charging base for another $29.

Conclusion


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's 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 'light weight' is at the top of your priority list you may want to look elsewhere.

Other Versions and Accessories



Bose SoundLink Revolve+
  • Cost: $300
  • Larger, louder, and more powerful
  • Weight a bit more: 2 pounds

Bose SoundLink revolve Charging Cradle
  • Cost: $29
  • Provides a convenient charging station, just place the speaker onto the cradle
  • Works with both the Revolve and the Revolve+
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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