Hands-on Gear Review

Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Review

Top notch sound quality and volume in a somewhat heavy package
By: Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jul 10, 2018
Price:   $300 List  |  $299.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent sound quality, very loud, long battery life
Cons:  Expensive, relatively large and heavy
Manufacturer:   Bose
89
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 18
  • Sound Quality - 40% 10
  • Portability - 25% 6
  • Volume - 20% 10
  • Battery Life - 15% 9
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  • 5
Editors' Choice Award

Our Verdict

There are many situations, like backyard barbeques and pool parties, that calls for a speaker that is louder than most of the super portable, sub-pound models that crowd the shelves. That is where the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ shines. It uses a heavier than average 2 lb 2 oz frame to create exceptionally high quality and exceptionally loud sound that can easily power a large party. The IPX4 water resistant rating means you don't have to worry about splashes from the pool, and the impressive 24 hour battery life means you can keep that party going into the wee hours of the morning. If the $300 price tag feels like a bit much the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 fills a similar niche, but it is heavier, has a much shorter battery life, and doesn't sound quite as good.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Bose Soundlink Revolve+ was one of the best speakers we tested, with the only strike against it being its relatively large size and weight. However, that large size also makes it much louder than most Bluetooth speakers, meaning this is the perfect speaker for outdoor parties.


Should I Get the Rvole+ or the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4?


If you're looking for a large and loud Bluetooth speaker for big outdoor parties, the two best options are the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ (below, left) and the Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 4 (below, right). The Bose is clearly the superior speaker, so the only reason to get the Harman Kardon is price. Though the Harman Kardon lists for $450, it sells for $150 or less, while you'll have to shell $300 for the Bose. The Harman Kardon is quite loud and sounds quite good, so if you're ok with its relatively heavy weight of 4.5 pounds and relatively short battery life of 4.5 hours, it's a great buy. However, the Bose has slightly deeper bass and better clarity, is less than half the weight at just over 2 pounds, lasts 24 hours on a single charge, and is water resistant, making ti much better overall.
The larger Bose Soundlink Revolve+ sounds great and can get very loud.
The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 is hardly portable and dominated our volume testing.

Performance Comparison


The Bose Soundlink Revolve+ was the highest scoring speaker in our review, earning it a coveted Editors' Choice award. If you can deal with the above average weight and size, you won't find a better sounding battery powered speaker.

Sound Quality


The Revolve+ earned a rare perfect 10 out of 10 score in our sound quality testing. ]


Like its little sibling, the Revolve (no +), it produced a level of sound in our testing that we did not expect from a battery powered speaker. Combining deep and resonant bass with crystal clarity and the ability to hit even the highest notes without clipping, everything from heavy metal to acoustic numbers to podcasts sound great on this speaker. The speaker also wraps around 360˚, meaning you can plop it in the middle of a group of freidns and everyone will get the same volume and sound quality. If you're an audiophile that demands the best sound quality no matter where you're listening, this is definitely the portable speaker for you.

The Revolve+ offers exceptional  360 sound.
The Revolve+ offers exceptional, 360 sound.

Portability


This is the only area where the Revolve+ isn't at the top of the field. Its weight of 2 pounds and 2 ounces is not particularly heavy, but well above the average. It's not outside the realm of possibility to lug this speaker along with you to the beach, especially if you're toting a big, heavy cooler as well, but it's certainly above the, "I'll just toss it in my bag in case," range. If you're looking for top quality sound in a more portable package, the Soundlink Revolve is slightly lighter at 1.5 pounds.

The carrying handle makes it easy to carry around the house. In fact, this speaker is a great and inexpensive alternative to a multi-room speaker system. Unless you need to play music in multiple rooms at once, you can just move the Revolve+ from the living room to kitchen to bedroom, enjoying high quality sound wherever you need it.


Notably, the Revolve+ is lighter than the other large and loud Bluetooth speaker on the block, the Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 4, which weighs in at 4.5 pounds. The Revolve+ also has an IPX4 water resistant rating, whereas the Harmon Kardon must be protected from errant splashes and surprise rainstorms.

The Revolve+ is quite large  but the added carrying handle makes moving it around the house easy.
The Revolve+ is quite large, but the added carrying handle makes moving it around the house easy.

Volume


Here again the Revolve+ shines with a perfect score of 10 out of 10.


The Revolve+ effectively leverages its extra size into extra volume. In fact, it was the loudest speaker in our testing, besting even the relatively gargantuan Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 4. In our testing it easily filled a large apartment with sound, and could even drown out large groups of people talking in said apartment. If you're looking for a speaker that can handle large, loud parties without being drowned out, this is the one for you.

The Revolve+ comes with a charging cable and USB converter. You can purchase a separate charging cradle for $30.
The Revolve+ comes with a charging cable and USB converter. You can purchase a separate charging cradle for $30.

Battery Life


The Revolve+ impressed us here again, besting even its manufacturer spec by lasting a full 24 hours on a single charge. That means even the longest parties will be outlasted by the Revolve+. This is also much longer than the Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 4, which lasted on 4.5 hours in our testing.


Value


Listing for $300, the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ is one of the most expensive speakers we tested. That price premium is really only worth it if you want the best possible sound quality at the loudest possible volume. If you want great sound quality but only for some friends hanging out on the beach, the smaller but not quite as loud Soundlink Revolve is $100 less and sounds just as good.

Conclusion


For those that want a very loud, great sounding portable speaker the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ is clearly the best choice. If you don't need over the top volume for large outdoor parties, there are smaller and less expensive spealers that sound just as good (namely its smaller sibling, the Revolve).

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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