Breaking the mould: Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth speaker review

Enjoy surprisingly rich bass and 300-degree sound from this compact Bluetooth unit

Tags: BluetoothBoseUnited Arab Emirates
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Breaking the mould: Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth speaker review The Bose SoundLink Revolve promises, and delivers uniform 360-degree sound.
By  David Ndichu Published  July 12, 2017

Bluetooth speakers are today a dime a dozen.

They adorn almost every table, shelf, and floor around the world. And they are to found in every shape imaginable -flat, round, cylindrical, tower...

It therefore takes some special effort work to stand out, both literally and figuratively, in such a crowded setting.

Bose makes a stab at differentiation with its recently-launched SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth speaker.

To be fair, Bose can count on a long legacy in sound, unlike most of its competitors who got into the speaker game when it became trendy.

Features

Bose efforts starts with the design, which takes the shape of a lantern, (complete with a carrying handle for the heftier SoundLink Revolve+ cousin).  The company says it started with a clean template with the Revolve, building the speakers from the ground up.

The Revolve features an aluminium construction, available in either silver or black. A rubberised top hosts the buttons. These control power, Bluetooth connections, volume as well as a multifunction button which among other functionalities, allows user access the voice input for Siri and Google Now directly from the speaker, thanks to the integrated microphones.  This button also lets you control music playback on the speaker-repeat previous track, jump to the next one, etc.  

I would recommend downloading the free Bose Connect app from which you can access all the speaker’s features, keep track of the battery life and push software updates to the speaker.

The Revolve is pretty easy to set up, just as you would link any other Bluetooth device, with voice-prompts if extra help is required.

At the bottom are the charging port and an AUX connection if one wishes to hard-wire their music source. There’s an optional charging cradle, but will cost you a cool AED 129. You feel though Bose would have thrown this as a freebie for customers.

Like many Bluetooth units, the Revolve is also a speakerphone through which you can take calls, with the advantage of the other party actually sounding better than they do in real life.

Performance

After the initial connection is made, subsequent Bluetooth tethering with the device are a breeze. The speaker will then immediately announce the battery life you have left. The Revolve keeps battery life very well. It promises 12 hours, with no loss of quality, and delivers. However, make sure you prepare well in advance as a full charge may take upto long 4 hours.

Of course, the main selling point for the SoundLink Revolve is the promise of 360O output. And this is where in my opinion Bose really shines.

The Revolve construction features a passive radiator setup running up the sides of the speaker to take care of the bass. Mids and trebles are handled by a downward facing transducer (the speaker’s driver) which fires downwards into an omnidirectional acoustic deflector at the bottom which then spreads sound evenly around, avoiding dead zones.

I played the SoundLink Revolve it in my apartment, and I had to tone it down quite a bit to avoid disturbing the neighbours. Few Bluetooth speakers give you the luxury.

For Bluetooth speakers, there’s usually a compromise between portability and sound quality. Typically, sound gets sacrificed and you end up with the irritating tinny sound you find with small speakers. However, the construction of the Revolve, which combines the dual-opposing passive-radiators, a full range driver and the acoustic deflector, deliver uniform, undistorted sound with rich bass.

Mind you, this is not a replacement for your home surround system. (Bose does have its home theatre range after all).

By default, you would place the speaker in the middle of the room for the 360o sound. However, it’s preferable to place these speakers next to a wall which actually reflects the sound back to the room for better bass output.

The Revolve is portable and can be taken outside. They are IPX4 rated and can withstand the perils of the outdoor barbeque - spills, rain, and pool splashes. Its aluminium enclosure with soft edges is designed to survive dings, drops and bumps. Mind you this is not an IPX6 rating, so while it’s a good choice for the backyard cookout, it will fare badly on the beach or out on the hiking trail.

A quarter-twenty thread allows for tri-pod mounting, if table space is at a premium.

If you have the means and the inclination, you can buy two Revolve(s) and use both units in Stereo Mode which enables left-right pairing. You haven’t listened to Bohemian Rhapsody until you have listened to it in stereo.

Conclusion

The SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth speaker retails for AED 799 in the UAE which is quite steep for a Bluetooth speaker. First, Bose traditionally sells its audio systems at a premium. Secondly, this is not your run of the mill Bluetooth speaker and you can tell some thinking went behind the engineering.

The result is a Bluetooth unit with a surprisingly rich output and distortion-free bass.

For: 360-degree sound; Rich bass; Compact; Robust construction; Battery life
Against: Expensive; Non-IPX6 rating
Verdict: The best sounding Bluetooth speaker I have come across, from a brand with strong credentials in the business. 

    

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