It’s no secret that I — and my colleagues at Ausdroid — are rather fond of Bose gear. We’ve reviewed plenty of it, from the first time I used a Bose Soundtouch speaker, to Phil’s review of the excellent Bose QC35 noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, and Scott’s reviews of various Bose earphones for the more fitness inclined. I figured it was my turn again, and put my hands up for the Bose Soundlink Revolve speaker when it was offered, and a couple of days later it arrived. Now, I’ll admit, I read absolutely nothing about this speaker before it showed up — I didn’t read the announcement, and barely knew what it was. A good way to start a review, I guess.
What is it?
Bose’ Soundlink Revolve is a Bluetooth speaker, which pairs to two devices at once, allowing you to stream music, audio from your videos, and to make and take phone calls. Fundamentally, that’s about it. It’s a product segment that has literally exploded in recent years, with the likes of UE making fortunes in sales of the Bluetooth speakers that everyone wants to have at a party, BBQ or gathering. Simply grab it, hit the power button, turn on your music, and you’ve got a loudspeaker which pumps your music out at great volume. The real party trick — pardon the pun — is linking up more than one of these speakers so you can have stereo, high quality sound wherever you feel the need.
Not to be outdone, Bose Soundlink Revolve has this functionality as well, by use of the Bose Connect app. But it can do a lot more than just link a couple of speakers.
The Revolve part of the name comes from the 360° sound, which delivers sound at any angle at high quality. Place it in the middle of the room, for example, and everyone hears the same sound without any angular loss.
Other features worthy of note are its acceptance of water; while you probably don’t want to pop the Soundlink Revolve in the shower, you can safely pop it near the kitchen sink, or use it in light rain, without fear that you’ll drown your investment. A twelve-hour battery life is another notable inclusion; charge it up overnight, and you can literally have music with you all day while you work with no cables.
What’s it good at?
As hinted at above, the Soundlink Revolve has a few tricks up its sleeve which makes it an appealing proposition; its water resistant, and it has a fairly significant Bluetooth wireless distance — I tested it through two concrete walls and about 15 metres away, and it didn’t miss more than a skip.
Further, it has a number of buttons on top which lets you control the music (or your phone) from wherever you happen to be. Of course it has volume controls, but it also has a multi-function button that allows you to access Google Now or Google Assistant. It’s not quite as smooth as the voice activated offering of Google Home (or OK Google Anywhere on your phone), but it’s good enough.
The multi-function button has a few more tricks, too. When you’re playing music, one tap will pause the music. Two taps will skip to the next track, and three will go back to the start, or to the previous track. You can leave your phone somewhere safe and control most of the functions you’d likely want. I’m sure you can probably use it to answer a phone call, but as yet, I haven’t been able to get it to do that.
Who wants to talk to people anyway?
However, if you have kids who like to talk to grandparents interstate — as I do — then the speakerphone feature will be welcome; instead of huddling around a computer to make a Skype call and hear from a tinny speaker in your laptop or your PC, you can pair Soundlink Revolve to your computer (or your phone), and pop the speaker in the middle of the desk. Everyone can hear clearly and better still, the microphone will hear everyone clearly too.
Bose battery claims are pretty well on the mark too. All day listening is definitely something the Soundlink Revolve can, and does do.
What’s it less good at?
Honestly, not much. Really the only two things the Soundlink Revolve isn’t good at are being affordable, and relying on Bluetooth instead of including some cooler technology. Like what? I’d love to see the Soundlink Revolve including a Google Cast receiver, or Apple Airplay. Connecting it to your WiFi network would make it infinitely more useful than just pairing to a couple of Bluetooth devices — though I do need to bear in mind that most people probably wouldn’t use that feature even if it were included.
For $299 RRP, though, it wouldn’t be an unreasonable inclusion. The bigger brother — the Soundlink Revolve+ — comes in at $439, though, and at that price range, it really needs to be a bit more than just a Bluetooth speaker (albeit, a rather good one).
Also, a minor point, but given the significant move to USB-C in the last couple of years, I still haven’t figured out why Bose have included a microUSB port here. It’s a minor thing.
Bose’ Soundlink Revolve is an awesome little speaker, and if you enjoy your music — as I do — then something like this is well worth having for your travels, either around the house or into the great outdoors. Take it with you to the football, on a picnic, or in the car at work to give yourself something fun to listen to. It’ll go anywhere you want.
Probably the only thing letting the Soundlink Revolve down a bit is the price; at $299 it’s a good $100 more than the already established and popular UE Boom line of speakers, which are literally everywhere and come in bright happy colours. Bose, being a more premium brand, will also offer you any colour as long as its black or silver.
However, if you’ve already got a bit of Bose gear, you’ll know its high quality, reliable stuff that will just keep going forever. I’ve seen some UE Boom speakers looking much worse for wear after a month or two of being knocked about, and though I’ve not had the Bose unit for as long, the materials its made from mean its much likely to age a little better and look better for longer.
Ausdroid has been permitted to hang on to this review unit for audio enjoyment around the office.