Bose has launched a pair of new Bluetooth speakers, the SoundLink Revolve ($199) and Revolve+ ($299). They both feature aluminum, cylindrical designs and — like the popular UE Boom line — play 360-degree, omnidirectional audio. Bose is really promising a great listening experience from these; the company says the Revolve+ in particular is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker it has ever produced. The SoundLink Mini II already offered some of the best sound quality from a portable Bluetooth speaker, so if this tops that, it should be a strong performer. Each comes in black or silver. I think they look mostly good, but also like a weird hybrid of Google Home and a metal water bottle.
The main differences between the two speakers are size and battery life. The Revolve measures around 6 inches tall; the Revolve+ is 7.2 inches with a larger diameter and includes a non-removable fabric handle for easy carrying. Bose says those bigger dimensions let the Revolve+ generate “higher-volume, more room-filling sound than SoundLink Revolve.” The regular Revolve can run for up to 12 hours, whereas the plus version extends that to 16. Two speakers can be joined wirelessly for a wider stereo soundstage.
Both are water resistant (IPX4), so they should keep playing just fine in the rain. There’s a microphone built in, which you can use for speakerphone calls or after hitting the dedicated “multi-function button” that will either trigger Siri or Google Assistant depending on what kind of phone you’ve got. Speaking of which, you can connect to two devices simultaneously, and the Revolve remembers the last eight devices it’s been paired with. There’s also NFC to further speed up pairing for Android users. There’s no Alexa here, obviously, but Bose’s FAQ is quick to remind people that you can easily combine the Revolve with an Echo Dot.
Bose includes a 3.5mm auxiliary jack if you prefer to use either speaker wired, and the speaker charges either via MicroUSB (not USB Type-C, unfortunately) or a sold-separately charging dock. Maybe the most “huh!” thing about these speakers is that they’ve got a tripod thread on the bottom. Bose is already shipping the Revolve and Revolve+ right now, so we’re hoping to get our hands on them very soon. It does feel like a lot of money for a Bluetooth speaker, especially when Ultimate Ears is still targeting new products at that under-$100 price point.