Bose might not have changed much but the SoundLink Revolve II has a lot to like if you’re looking for a compact Bluetooth speaker with 360-degree sound and some smart features. It just costs a fair amount and some areas are stuck in the past.
Design & Build
You’d be forgiven for thinking I have been testing the original SoundLink Revolve here because the second-generation model doesn’t look any different.
This is still a compact cylinder that’s wider at the bottom than the top and there are rubber sections at either end to absorb impacts if you do happen to drop the speaker. In the middle is smooth aluminium and you can buy the Bose in Triple Black or Luxe Silver.
On the top, you get a circle of buttons for power, source, volume up, multi-function, volume down and Bluetooth. They’re all slightly concave and have a satisfying action. Hidden here is an NFC chip to make pairing easier and quicker.
So, what has Bose changed? Well, on the design front it’s an invisible upgrade as the IP rating has been given a bump to IP55.
It was previously IPX4 so the speaker is now full dust resistant and the waterproofing is better, able to withstand water jets.
There’s little else to say here as the SoundLink Revolve II is simple and elegant. It’s lightweight at 660g and there’s a thread on the bottom if you want to mount it along with metal contacts for an optional charger.
Sound Quality & Features
Bose hasn’t actually changed the insides of the Revolve for this second generation so sonically it sounds the same. There’s a downward firing driver two passive bass radiators and an omnidirectional acoustic deflector.
The latter means the sound comes evenly out of the speaker on all sides. It really does offer an excellent 360-degree experience. You can turn the Revolve II around in your hands and the sound doesn’t change.
I’m impressed with the sound quality here, although it should be basically a given from the likes of Bose. The SoundLink Revolve II sounds great for a wide range of music, able to deliver enough oomph for The Prodigy while handling the delicate guitar and vocals of Ben Howard.
It does sound best at medium volume levels, but quality does take a bit of a dip at the higher end if you’re trying to fill a large space.
Although the speaker can be used with the Bose Connect app, there’s no digital EQ here to customise the sound. Instead, you get some basic info and settings like battery level and the ability to adjust the auto-off timer and switch the voice prompts if they get annoying.
The main feature here is the Party Mode so you can group other SoundLink speakers together for, well, a party. This can be done with the larger SoundLink Revolve+ II but not the Bose Portable Smart Speaker – the latter being a rival to the Sonos Move.
When connected to a phone, you can use the speaker to take calls by answering with the multi-function button. You can also long-press it to access Siri or Google Assistant – when connected to a compatible device, of course.
Battery life is something Bose has improved from the original model, now with up to 13 hours of playback. That’s actually not a huge number considering the similarly sized Marshall Emberton can go for more than 20.
However, I’m not sure how Bose reached that figure because in my testing the speaker has much better longevity. I’ve been using the SoundLink Revolve II while working at home for around four hours a day and after five days – therefore roughly 20 hours of use – it was still on 50%.
While the battery life is impressive, it’s disappointing to find an old Micro-USB port on the back for charging. Really, a speaker at this price from a company like Bose should have USB-C in 2021. You can buy a charging cradle – it’s a bit like the base of a kettle – which make things a lot easier, although you’ll have to cough up another £24.95 for it.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is available to buy now priced at £179.95, although it’s discounted to £154.95 on the official store at the time of writing.
You can also buy it from Currys PC World and John Lewis for effectively the RRP, while Amazon and Argos have the speaker for £199.
It’s not currently available from Bose in the US. Check out our chart of the best Bluetooth speakers for more options.
With little difference from the original, existing owners are unlikely to feel the need to upgrade, but for anyone else, the SoundLink Revolve II is a compelling product.
It’s easily one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can get with the kind of high-quality 360 sound you’d expect from Bose along with excellent build quality – now up to IP55.
The premium experience extends with things like a 3.5mm jack input (not always a given) and various smart elements like being able to take phone calls and use digital assistants from the speaker itself.
The app could do with an EQ and it is surprising to see Micro-USB on a high-end speaker in 2021, but with battery life extending way beyond the quoted figure of 13 hours, these are fairly easy to forget about.
There are cheaper speakers around, but not many can offer the same experience as the SoundLink Revolve II.
Bose SoundLink Revolve II: Specs
Downward facing full-range transducer
2x passive bass radiators
Omni-directional acoustic deflector
Bluetooth with 9m range
13 hours battery
152 x 82 x 82mm
Triple Black or Luxe Silver
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