Bose SoundLink Revolve+ review

Bigger and better sounding ... but still not a smart speaker

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Our Verdict

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is an excellent-sounding wireless speaker. While we’d like to see a higher IP rating, it’s splash-proofing is good enough for most people. Combined with the optional charging base, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is a great speaker to use at home and on the go.

For

  • Full and balanced sound
  • 16-hour battery life
  • Multi-device pairing

Against

  • Only splash-proof
  • Charging dock sold separately
  • No smart assistant onboard

Bose has always impressed us with its Bluetooth speakers. Both the Bose SoundLink Mini II and its spiritual successor, the SoundLink Revolve, impressed with excellent   sound that is wonderfully balanced and expansive. But, for those looking for more volume and better battery life, there’s the larger Bose SoundLink Revolve+. 

After spending several weeks with the speaker, we came away impressed with its build and sound quality. While it's certainly not the cheapest Bluetooth speaker at  $300 (£280, AU$430), it’s well worth the extra $100 over the smaller Revolve if you’re looking for slightly better sound quality and better battery life.

All that said, though, while we liked the speaker, we can’t help but feel that the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is a bit expensive for what you get: The competition - the UE Blast and JBL Link 20 smart speakers - both have voice assistant chops while the SoundLink Revolve doesn't. If you don’t care about its lack of a voice assistant, the Bose SoundLInk Revolve+ is an excellent speaker at home and on the go, but if you like your speakers with a bit of intellect, you'll have to look elsewhere. 

Design

The design of the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is nearly identical to the smaller Bose SoundLink revolve. Both feature aluminum chassis with rubberized bases and buttons. The only difference is that the SoundLink+ gains a handy handle for taking on the go. Although it looks like it will weigh a ton, the speaker is surprisingly light for its size, making it easy to take with you to a party. 

On top of the speaker you’ll find all of the controls for power, pairing, volume, aux switch, and multifunction button that works to control playback as well as activating the voice assistant on your phone. The buttons are easy to press and the multifunction button is slightly raised, making it easy to use by feel. There’s also a mic that’s great at picking up your voice for calling.

On the back of the speaker you’ll find the microUSB port and 3.5mm aux port for legacy devices. We’re disappointed that Bose didn’t choose to update the speaker with USB type-C as most devices today have moved to the new connector which supports fast charging and the lack of one means that the SoundLink Revolve+ takes ages to fully charge if you run it dry. 

On the bottom you’ll find a standard tripod mount and you’ll also notice four metal contacts for using with the charging dock, which is sold separately. The dock makes it easy to dock when at home and really should be included with the speaker, seeing as the older Bose SoundLink Mini II ships with one. 

Performance

If you read our Bose SoundLink Revolve review, you’ll already know that we’re big fans of its sound. 

The good news is that the bigger SoundLink Revolve+ improves on the sound quality of the smaller Revolve in just about every way, though the tonal balance is identical between the two. The overall balance is slightly warm, which make the Bose very forgiving with compressed music from streaming services. 

The biggest difference between the two is that the bigger Revolve+ gets much louder and throws and even more expansive soundstage. While music still plays in mono, there’s a sense of air around individual instruments and vocals.

Bass is controlled and provides good impact. Like with its smaller sibling, you can increase the bass response by placing the speaker next to a wall. However, the Revolve+ does a better job of rendering bass in the center of the room than the smaller Revolve, which is unsurprising since the speaker is much bigger. 

Battery life is rated at 16-hours and we saw around 10 to 12 hours listening to medium to high volume. If you listen at a more reasonable volume, you should be able to hit Bose’s 16-hour rating. But if you’re planning on bumping some tunes at a friend's house party, you may want to bring its charger. 

Verdict

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is a great speaker, albeit expensive and a bit dated compared to the competition. It may not have a smart assistant built in for voice controls, but for those who don’t care about that, the Revolve+ is a pleasure to use, especially if you pair it with the dock ... which, unfortunately, is sold separately. (Yes, the user experience and sound quality are so good we can overlook its missing features.) 

However, if you’re looking for a connected speaker, the JBL Link 20 is an excellent value that packs Google Assistant into a portable weatherproof speaker. If you don’t plan to take your speaker outside, the Sonos One is a better value at $200 and comes with Amazon's Alexa smart assistant on-board (Google Assistant is coming to the Sonos One some time this year, too). 

If you're looking for a brilliant-sounding-but-basic Bluetooth speaker, look no further.