The Bose Soundlink Revolve+, with its handle

We've examined the Bose Soundlink Revolve and Bose Soundlink Revolve+ to run a full comparison looking at the reviews, audiophile blogs, and costumer reviews they've thus far received. This is in the same spirit as our complete meta-review of the entire Bluetooth speaker market.

Both the Revolve and the Revolve+ have so far gotten great reactions, and we'll discuss those in more detail below. First, a quick side-by-side comparison; essentially, the Revolve+ is the bigger, louder, more expensive big sister to the Revolve.

Update History of This Article

This article was originally published on May 16, 2017.

• Portable: 6 in. (15.2 cm.) tall, 3.25 in. (8.2 cm.) in diameter

• Weight: 1.5 lbs. (0.66 kg.)

Top-rated sound: Praised by critics as the best-sounding speaker of its size 

• Can pair two for stereo: Via iOS and Android apps

Splashproof: Rated IPX4

• 12-hour battery

• Price: $199

• A bit chunkier: 7.25 in. tall, 4 in. diameter (18.4 x 10.5 cm)

• A bit heavier: 2 lbs (0.9 kg)

A bit louder, with improved bass: Critics like it even better, but this is larger than the speakers they're comparing it to

• Can pair two for stereo: Via iOS and Android apps

• Carrying handle

Splashproof: Rated IPX4

• 16-hour battery

• Price: $299

These two speakers are single-piece aluminum cylinders with rubberized tops and bottoms. Customer comments generally fawn over their classy looks.

The Bose Soundlink Revolve: Top view. It is quite easy to switch between multiple inputs.

More importantly, they sound great, even to audio geeks. CNET feels that they sound "excellent", and TechRadar lauds their "detailed and expansive sound" and rich bass. Nobody is claiming that they sound better than a good set of bookshelf speakers or a less-portable wireless audio system like Sonos, but critics generally think that the Revolve is one of the best-sounding speakers you can currently get of its size and that the Revolve+, which is bigger, sounds even better.1One notable exception is the contrarians over at Which?, who feel that both speakers overemphasize the bass end, and prefer other speakers like the UE Boom 2 that we discuss below.

The speakers have dual opposing passive radiators and a powerful transducer that faces down towards an acoustic deflector (so they don't necessarily need to be placed on a hard surface, though that can certainly improve the bass too). The idea is that these speakers can be placed anywhere in the center of the action and sound just as good to everyone who is around them.

Both have more battery life than you'll likely need for an all-day/all-night party, and they're splashproof (with an IPX4 rating, which is a binding claim for a certain degree of water-resistance). Many competitors (like those mentioned later) are fully IPX7 waterproof and can be dunked underwater, but who exactly does such things with their speakers?

Other features to be aware of for both Soundlink Revolve speakers:

  • Threaded Tripod Mount: You can mount the Bose Revolve and Revolve+ anywhere that you can mount a standard camera by screwing into the standard threaded mount on the bottom. This means that you could place the speakers on a tripod in the yard, or, interestingly, use a flexible clawed tripod to attach them anywhere else. Do consider, however that both units sound a just bit better when placed on a solid surface in order to leverage the downward-facing driver.
  • Google Assistant and Siri Integration: Pushing the multi-function button on the top of the speakers triggers either of these assistants on your linked phone; we think this makes the Revolve and Revolve+ actually superior to the always-on, gimmicky home speakers ("assistants") like the Google Home or Amazon Tap. You can also pair the Bose Revolves with an Echo dot, if you must. Most likely, you'll actually just use the personal assistant apps directly on your phone.
  • Speakerphone: The speakerphone function works great, but again, you'll probably place calls on speakerphone directly from you actual phone.
  • Handles multiple inputs: The Revolve and Revolve+ can both switch flawlessly between multiple Bluetooth sources, such as phones, tablets, and laptops. You can also connect them directly to a computer via USB.
  • Apps: The Bose Connect iOS or Android apps allow you to pair any two Bose Soundlink speakers, including the Revolve and Revolve+. This allows you to create a wide stereo soundstage anywhere, on the go, or to simply double up the sound in "party mode". These apps can also be used to update the firmware of the speakers (and it's recommended that you do so upon purchase).
SpeakerWeight (oz.)NotesLength (in.)Width (in.)Height (in.)Waterproof?Pricing
Bose Soundlink Revolve23.4• 12-hour battery
• Generally well-liked by Amazon reviewers
3.23.26Water resistant (IPX4)
Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus32• 16-hour battery
• Generally well-liked by Amazon reviewers
4.14.17.2Water resistant (IPX4)

The other Bose Bluetooth speaker options (the Soundlink Mini II, the Soundlink Color II, the Soundlink III) are more suitable for inside use, whereas the Revolve line marks Bose's first true attempt at a portable Bluetooth speaker for the great outdoors as well; the Revolve and Revolve+ are more durable than their Bose cousins (water- and shock- resistant), which also lack 360-degree sound. Note that if you already have any of these speakers, you can now pair them (via iOS or Android apps) with the Revolve or Revolve + for bigger sound, or to create a stereo pair.

The biggest competition to the Revolve and Revolve+ from other brands is from Logitech. We have previously discussed why we think that the smaller UE Boom 2 is the best speaker that you can take around outdoors, indoors, whatever. It also does great 360-degree sound, and it is much lighter, more durable, and not incidentally cheaper than the Bose Soundlink Revolve. Critics are quite universal in their praise of the UE Boom 2's sound, and it's been around for longer so quite a range of professional listeners and consumer testing organizations have weighed in.

Other great, even cheaper options from Logitech's UE are the UE Roll 2 and the UE Wonderboom (compared here). JBL also has some good options (JBL Charge 3, JBL Flip 4, JBL Xtreme, and JBL Pulse 2), and B&O offers the Beoplay A1, but while these are generally liked, critics are less uniform in their praise of how they sound.

Pricing

Pricing for Bose speakers generally tends to be remarkably stable (other Bluetooth speakers often experience wild price swings from month to month and dealer to dealer). We don't expect the Revolve's $199 and the Revolve+'s $299 price points to be changing much, but you can check a few places by clicking through here:

Latest Revolve pricing: Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, eBags

Latest Revolve+ pricing: Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, eBags

Wrap-Up

In the end, choosing between the two really comes down to price, size, and sound quality. All of these are greater with the Bose Soundlink Revolve+. If you don't mind the added weight and you can afford it, you'll be happier going plus-size.

The Bose Soundlink Revolve is a fine choice, however. So far the critics have preferred it to similarly sized options, and it's more portable so you're likely to not think twice about taking it on a trip. And if you want to upgrade it now (or eventually), you can nab a second Revolve, and, for about $100 more than a single Revolve+, you can have a stereo pair of Revolves to use on the go.

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