The question that Bose are asking with their new SoundLink Revolve speaker range is a pretty simple one.
Specifically: why bother with messy networks of interconnected speakers that struggle to sync and stand out like sore thumbs? Why take that messiness upon yourself? Why not just cut that Gordian knot of wireless home audio experiences with a simpler solution?
Why bother with an array of smaller-speakers when one solid omni-directional one will do the trick? Whether you hate the hassle or lightly lean towards the elegant, Bose are hoping that their SoundLink Revolve and SoundLink Revolve + will be the solution to your problems.
The wireless speaker boast a single-piece aluminum enclosure that projects 360-degree audio via a set of passive radiators and an omni-directional acoustic deflector. These guts lend the SoundLink Revolve the kind of versatility you want out of a wireless speaker.
Even if it’s hardly going to match your subwoofer for volume, it adds a superb bedrock to your day (more-or-less regardless of the existing ambient noise). During our tests, the SoundLink Revolve did a great job of filling the air with a deep, resounding bass and crisp vocals.
Both the SoundRevolve and SoundRevolve + can pair through NFC or Bluetooth and use plain-language voice-prompts to enable a quick-and-easy setup. The pair have even got integrated microphones built-in, allowing them to be used with Siri and Google Assistant (no word on Alexa support just yet). This feature worked well for us (picking up commands from as much as a meter or so away) but it still very much subject to the limitations of the software involved.
Battery-life for the Revolve sits at between 10 and 12 hours. The Revolve + bumps that up a few more hours to between 14 and 16.
It’s clear that as much – if not more – time and care has gone into the design and aesthetics of the SoundLink Revolve. The SoundLink Revolve’s design walks the line between minimalism and utilitarianism, giving the speaker an oblique and inconspicuous profile. On both fronts, it looks and feels like the kind of premium product you’ll want to say is worth the money.
The only thing we weren’t hugely impressed with was the fabric handle only found in the SoundLink Revolve +. This felt a little flimsy and was quick to gather dirt – detracting from the product’s overall aesthetics. Apart from the additional battery life and volume offered by the larger-size, the handle is the biggest difference between the standard Revolve and its heavy-duty cousin.
Both the top end of the speaker (which features the embedded control panel) and the bottom (which contains a threaded “quarter-twenty” universal tripod mount) are coated in a tacky plastic surface that Bose say earns the speaker the title of “bump-proof”.
Based on our experience with the speaker, I’d be willing to believe this. At least to a point. In reality, Bose’s “bump-proofing” offers about as much protection as you expect it to. We didn’t really set out minds to breaking the speaker but it bounced back after a drop from table-height without any fuss.
The range pairs this “bump-proofing” up with an IPX4 rating. This means that the SoundLink Revolve come splash, rain and dirtproof. Again, we didn’t really set our minds to breaking this (admittedly-gorgeous) speaker but we’re reasonably confident about the speaker’s credentials for durability. It’ll likely hold up against a splash or two, but don’t go throwing it in the pool anytime soon.
Overall, the SoundLink Revolve is a solid package. It delivers clean audio, bolstered by a really appealing form-factor. The only real caveat here is price. The standard Revolve sits at an easily-recommended price of $299. However, the Revolve + feels like a harder sell at $439. It’s definitely the better product – but it’s difficult to call it that much better.
Regardless, Bose have made a solid effort at delivering a one-size-fits-all wireless speaker here. Whether it realistically lives up to that promise is debatable but the quality of the sound being delivered isn’t.
Bose’s SoundLink Revolve and SoundLink Revolve+ Bluetooth speakers are available through Bose stores, Bose.com.au and other authorised Bose dealers. for an RRP of $299.00 and $439.00 respectively.