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Bose SoundTouch Revolve+ review: Big sound; impressive 360-degree audio

Jonathan Bray
14 Sep 2017
Our Rating 

Convincing 360-degree audio from a stylish Bluetooth speaker – and it's splashproof, too

Pros 
Great 360-degree audio
Fun to listen to at low volume
Splash proof
Cons 
Expensive
Can sound strained at top volume
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Bose has an enviable reputation for its excellent noise cancellation headphones, but my experience with its other audio products has been more patchy over the years. Still, that didn’t prevent me from giving its compact SoundLink Revolve speaker a positive review earlier this summer and this, the larger Revolve+ version, is just as impressive.

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Bose SoundLink Revolve+: What you need to know

Essentially, the SoundLink Revolve+ is a larger, more powerful version of the Revolve. It’s still relatively compact, though, and – thanks to its cylindrical shape – delivers strong, authoritative 360-degree audio with all types of content.

Just like its smaller sibling, it’s shower-resistant to IPX4, so if you leave it out in the garden by accident you’ll not need to replace it, although it won’t survive being knocked into the swimming pool. All-told, it’s a good quality Bluetooth speaker, just a little on the expensive side.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+: Price and competition

In fact, at £280, you’d struggle to find another compact speaker as expensive as this. Even the KEF Muo, which is my personal favourite compact speaker, is now £230, although it doesn’t have 360-degree audio and water-resistance as the Revolve+.

There’s a world of alternatives if you drop down the price spectrum, however. Among our favourites is the budget 360-degree Tronsmart Element T6, which delivers solid audio quality for less than £40, while the UE Wonderboom has waterproofing for around £90.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+: Design and features

The key difference between the Revolve and the Revolve+, at least from a physical perspective, is that it’s larger and has a handle integrated into the top. Otherwise, most of the design elements are the same and, as I said, it’s not that much bigger than you can’t sling it in a bag and take it on holiday with you.

The shape is like a tall thin cone with the top cut off and comprises a 12-hour battery. It’s finished in silver (“Lux Grey”) or black (“Triple Black”), capped at both ends with rubber and a mesh of micro-perforations surround the bottom half of the unit. Set into the base are contact points for the optional charging dock (£25), a tripod thread so the speaker can securely be placed on a stand, plus a micro-USB socket for charging and a 3.5mm AUX input.

The Revolve+ is a regular Bluetooth speaker, so there’s no fiddly Wi-Fi pairing to go through, and setup is as easy as it gets. There’s no support for apt-X – just SBC Bluetooth – although it is possible to join two Revolve+ speakers together in stereo or multi-mono “party” mode using the accompanying app.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+: Sound quality

The driver setup is the same internally as the smaller SoundLink Revolve. The speaker uses a single, full-range driver that fires downwards onto a dispersion plate to deliver 360-degree audio, and a couple of passive bass radiators face opposite each other in the speaker’s upper chamber to deliver the bass.

The result is, you might not be surprised to discover, is sound quality is very similar to that of the smaller Revolve. It sounds great at low to mid volumes, with commodious bass, a spacious mid-range and detailed treble that lends texture and character to whatever music you’re listening to. The 360-degree sound effect is convincing, too: place the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ in the centre of a room and it’ll sound just as good whether you’re standing by the door or sitting on the sofa.

Crank up the volume, however, and although it does go louder than its smaller sibling, it begins to sound a little strained. With Bose’s dynamic EQ kicking in to roll off the bass notes, the treble and middle-range begin to dominate, and that it can become a little tiring to listen to.

I still prefer the sound profile of the KEF Muo, even now, two years after its launch. It’s rich, detailed and balanced throughout the sound range, although that speaker can’t quite match the low-end bass solidity of the Bose nor its 360-degree audio trick.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+: Verdict

In the end, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is a decent Bluetooth speaker. Sound quality is excellent, especially at low volumes, it’s water resistant, easy to use and attractive to look at.

The big problem is that it’s very expensive and, at £80 more than its smaller sibling, £50 more than the KEF Muo and a nearly three times as pricey as the UE Wonderboom, it isn’t quite good enough to justify the price differential.

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