(Cybertech) – We reviewed the original Bose SoundLink Revolve back in 2017. So to see the “Plus” model back three years later for the sequel – which adds better water-resistance and improved battery life – surely spells portable speaker perfection?
Well, it depends how you look at it. Sure, the SoundLink Revolve+ II has those minor improvement points, but the design otherwise remains as it was – including the older Micro-USB connector – which seems a little odd considering the more advanced yet similarly priced Bose Portable Home Speaker has launched in the interim.
What the SoundLink Revolve+ II really delivers upon is portability and 360-degree sound output so that could make it your outdoor summer soundtrack partner (hopefully with some friends too, eh, 2021?).
Design & Setup
- Dimensions: 184mm tall x 105mm diameter (widest) / Weight: 900g
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm/AUX, USB
- Bose Connect app (iOS & Android)
- On-body controls, voice prompts
- Finishes: Luxe Silver, Triple Black
- IP55 weather-resistant design
Bose makes a number of semi-conical speakers, delivering its typical stylish design language here in the SoundLink Revolve+ II. There’s no seams to the metal centre unit, with uniformly drilled holes allowing sound to perforate the full 360-degrees of output.
Also typical of Bose design is a rubber-like cap up top, which can handle a few knocks and bumps no problem, and is also where the on-board controls live. You can control Bluetooth pairing, source, and volume up/down from here if you’re not using the app instead.
There’s also a flexible fabric handle to make portability even easier – not that this speaker is especially heavy, at under a kilo. However, there’s no charging base, like the one you’ll find in the Bose Portable Home Speaker, but you can buy one as an optional extra at your own cost.
That IP55 rating might sound meaningless unless you get the full description: the first ‘5’ means it can withstand limited dust ingress from its electrical enclosures; the second ‘5’ means it can withstand low jets of water from any direction. It’s not waterproof, therefore, so don’t go lobbing it in the pool – but a splash won’t be a bother.
When it comes to setting up the SoundLink Revolve+ II your main option is Bluetooth (otherwise it’s wired AUX or USB). If connecting from a mobile device you’ll be prompted to obtain the Bose Connect app – available for Google Android and Apple iOS – which will walk you through the process.
It’s here – on the speaker itself – that you’ll begin to hear voice prompts, i.e. spoken word, to help guide you through everything too. The spoken word form is very Bose – the same as you’ll find in its other devices, such as the NC 700 Headphones.
Otherwise connectivity is fairly straightforward. There’s no Wi-Fi, so no Airplay or Chromecast, with the target being casual indoor and outdoor listening. To that end, again, the Bose Portable Home Speaker is much better connected overall – while still being portable and weather-resistant.
- Dual passive radiators, single down-firing transducer
- Pair to other Bose Home speakers
- Battery life: to 17 hours quoted
- 360-degree sound output
As we said of the original: “Good sound quality from a Bose product is almost taken as a given. If there’s a Bose logo on it, it’ll be well balanced and easy listening.”
The same rings true for the SoundLink Revolve+ II: the sound is projected from every angle using an internal deflector, providing largely uniform and believable sound from whichever angle you’re listening.
Rather than going down the route of having multiple little speakers all pointing in different directions, the Revolve+ II has one main speaker that points downward, using the deflector at the base to bounce the sound out in all directions.
This design gives the speaker grounding, while two passive bass radiators and enough air space – despite the small size – seeing to pretty considerable bass output too. So whether you like your underground dance music, impactful rock, or something more poppy or easy-listening, this speaker can handle it all.
Indeed, to the point that it fills up even pretty large rooms. Not as convincingly as a larger system, but given just how small this Bose product is the sound is well beyond its size.
Volume is decent too, remaining convincing throughout its mid levels. Crank it up loud the bass can’t keep up with the dynamic, though, which is a tell-tale of the product’s scale.
In terms of longevity the 17 hours quoted seems accurate from our week of medium-level listening sessions. That’s always going to be dependent on volume factors, but at least you’ll get voice prompts about battery so you can assess expectations with reasonable accuracy too.
If you’re looking for a stylish portable Bluetooth speaker then the SoundLink Revolve+ II is a great little speaker. It exudes style and sounds great through 360-degrees too.
It’s the context of where it sits that’s a little more challenging. We’d opt for the Bose Portable Home Speaker for the extra sound and connectivity. And as the second-gen Revolve’s design hasn’t evolved beyond the original there’s also the temptation to look back at other older products, of which there are many for a cut of the asking price. squi
Bose Portable Home Speaker
Although it was release before the SoundLink Revolve+ II, the newer design brings USB-C, greater connectivity, and, to our ears, greater sound quality too. There’s some water-resistance, plus an included charging stand, which makes this the product to plump for – and only for a touch more cash in any event.
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
It might be older, but it’s a chunk of cash less than the Bose, still sounds massive, plus there’s full water-proofing to put it a cut above. However, it’s with design where the Bose takes extra points.
Writing by Mike Lowe.