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A person sits on a green cushion holding the Bose SoundLink Revolve II in hand.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys

Bose SoundLink Revolve II review

Can this little Bose SoundLink Revolve II pump the bass with the best of them? We test see how it stacks up to other Bluetooth speakers.
By

Published onAugust 16, 2023

Bose SoundLink Revolve II
The bottom line
The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a neat little unit, that looks as good on your deck as it does on your bookshelf. However, outdated features and chippable exterior limit its outdoor capabilities.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a neat little unit, that looks as good on your deck as it does on your bookshelf. However, outdated features and chippable exterior limit its outdoor capabilities.
Product release date
April 8, 2022
Price
$219 USD
Weight
660g
Model Number
‎858365-0100
Waterproof
IP55
What we like
Nice look
Omnidirectional sound
What we don't like
Outdated codec/Bluetooth options
Micro-USB charging
Price
Too much Bass

Choosing a Bluetooth speaker requires some self-reflection. It’s a bit like determining what kind of person you really are, not what kind of person you want to be. Take the Bose SoundLink Revolve II, this one’s intended for the person who wants a no-fuss experience, and perhaps not the mountain climber who chucks all their gear into a bag. With the speaker’s attractive design and dead simple functionality, let’s see if it’s worth the Bose branding.

Editor’s note: this review was updated August 16, 2023, to answer a FAQ about the Bose Portable Smart Speaker compared to the Bose SoundLink Revolve II.

About this Bose SoundLink Revolve II review: We tested the Bose SoundLink Revolve II over a period of a weeks. It was running firmware version 3.1.1, and the Bose Connect app ran version 20.0. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

What you need to know about the Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II sits on a concrete stair with the concrete stairs painted yellow, green, and blue.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The aluminum and silicone materials make for an attractive speaker.
  • Bose SoundLink Revolve II: $219 USD / $279 CAD / £199

Bose’s upper mid tier Bluetooth speaker, the SoundLink Revolve II lands below its larger sibling, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II. Aesthetically, it looks refined, with a smooth plastic construction and a rubberized top end. You technically can take it with you on a hike, but it doesn’t exude the same level of ruggedness as the Bose SoundLink Flex. Basically, this black or silver Bose entry makes sense in your living area, or on a picnic, but not necessarily out on an intense excursion. Bose even sells an optional charging base for the speaker, so you can pick a spot on a shelf and never have to worry about charging again.

Its unique design features dual passive radiators, a downward facing transducer, and an omnidirectional acoustic reflector, all stacked vertically to project sound evenly in all directions. This means speaker placement is mostly a non-issue—the SoundLink Revolve II is designed to avoid audio dead zones and get loud enough to fill a room.

What’s good about the Bose SoundLink Revolve II?

On concrete the Bose SoundLink Revolve II is shown from above displaying the controls next to an iPhone showing Party Mode in the Bose Connect app.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
You can connect to other Bose Bluetooth speakers for Party Mode, but that will get expensive quickly.

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is about the size of a large Thermos, but it weighs more than you’d think—just shy of 660 grams. The Bluetooth speaker‘s shape is pleasing, and easy to hold in one hand, though we’d welcome a handle (like the plus version), or a removable strap.

The buttons on top of the Bose SoundLink Revolve II are handy for when you’re not near your device. They’re responsive, and unlike almost every Bluetooth product, there is little to no delay between entering a command and it occurring. Pressing the power button feels as reactive as turning off a TV.

It’s nice that the controls let you set the phone down. In addition to the buttons, voice commands with Siri or Google Assistant also work for simple instructions like “play [song] by [artist] on Spotify.” You’ll have to press the multi-function button for that, unlike a more sophisticated Alexa speaker that’s always listening. It’s a compromise suitable for folks who don’t feel comfortable in total smart home immersion, but still want the convenience of voice commands.

Bluetooth pairing is simple—the SoundLink Revolve II automatically enters pairing mode when powered on, so all it takes is selecting it on your phone. Bucking the trend of ditching auxiliary inputs, Bose includes a 3.5mm port for a wired connection, which is great, though you’ll have to provide your own cable.

Depending on your needs, the fact that the Bose Connect app does very little might count as a pro or con. It’s mainly for updates, and renaming the speaker. The random name generator supplies some amusing suggestions, at least—this unit named itself Pope of Mope. If you have a second Bose Bluetooth speaker, the app is where you’ll access Party Mode to sync the speakers, but otherwise you probably don’t need it most of the time. For its diminutive stature, the speaker gets louder than some cheap speakers, and indeed, the sound projects evenly in every direction as designed.

Bose designed the SoundLink Revolve II to share the exact same controls as the larger SoundLink Revolve+ II. Besides the usual volume buttons and power buttons, here are the controls.

ModeFunctionAction
Mode
Media playback over Bluetooth
Function
Pauses audio
Action
Press once
Mode
Media playback over Bluetooth
Function
Skip forward to next track
Action
Double-press
Mode
Media playback over Bluetooth
Function
Skip backward to previous track
Action
Triple-press
Mode
Media playback over aux or USB
Function
Mutes audio
Action
Press once
Mode
Media playback or standby
Function
Activate your phone's smart assistant
Action
Press and hold
Mode
Incoming call
Function
Answer
Action
Press once
Mode
Incoming call
Function
Decline
Action
Press and hold
Mode
During a call
Function
Transfer the call to your smartphone
Action
Press and hold
Mode
During a call
Function
End the call
Action
Press once
Mode
Incoming call during an ongoing call
Function
Answer incoming call and put current call on hold
Action
Press once
Mode
Incoming call during an ongoing call
Function
Decline incoming call
Action
Press and hold
Mode
Two active calls
Function
Switch between calls
Action
Double-press

What’s not so good about the Bose SoundLink Revolve II?

A close up of the Bose SoundLink Revolve II showing the aux in and charging port with the microUSB cable.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
microUSB is a bit outdated, but an aux input is a welcomed detail.

Bose includes a microUSB cable with the SoundLink Revolve II, which charges the speaker fine, but a newer USB-C connection suits the price tag better. It also has no fast charge function, taking 4 hours to fully charge from empty. Furthermore, the optional charging cradle is an additional cost and one wonders why Bose omits it from the package — it’s not like this is a cheap speaker to begin with.

For its size the SoundLink Revolve II has a lot of bass on tap—too much. While for casual use, the highs and mids sound reasonable, the bass overwhelms the audio pretty often. The Bose Connect app could use an equalizer, because podcasts don’t need that much low end emphasis, and it’s outright distracting with some music when the bass matches volume or overrides the lead vocals. On the SoundLink Revolve II, tracks with already loudly mixed bass may experience the unfortunate rattle associated with too much bass, although this admittedly occurs very infrequently. Interestingly, Bose appears to have a built in a function that turns down the bass EQ as you increase overall volume, but you need to get fairly loud (read: not super safe) before the sound improves.

It’s also surprising that the SoundLink Revolve II only supports the basic SBC codec over Bluetooth. The logic at play perhaps is that if you seek the best quality, you’ll just plug in your 3.5mm jack. Realistically, anyone with an iPhone hasn’t had a headphone jack for years without a dongle, so we’d like to see AAC (like all current Bose wireless headphones), and something from the aptX family of codecs for Android, though maybe that want is a little ambitious.

The SoundLink Revolve II having an IP55 rating suggests durability, and while the speaker may survive dust or a bit of water, the finish flakes off easily, so it won’t necessarily continue looking good with prolonged exposure to the elements. Even careful handling doesn’t always prevent bits of the matte black from coming off the speaker’s aluminum housing. This may bother people investing in an expensive Bluetooth speaker. Realistically, the case use is likely limited to inside your home or on your deck—which makes the fact that Bose doesn’t include that charging cradle all the more glaring.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II specs

Getting down to brass tacks, here are the key specifications of the Bose SoundLink Revolve II.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II
Size
152 mm x 82 mm x 82 mm
Weight
660 grams
IP certification
IP55
Wired audio connection
3.5mm aux in
Wireless audio connection
Bluetooth 4.1; SBC, and wired
Controls
Button/Voice
Battery life
13 hours
Fast charging
No
Connector
microUSB
Price
Original: $219 USD

Bose SoundLink Revolve II review: Should you buy it?

An iPhone sits on a metal bench next to a Bose SoundLink Revolve II with stripes of sunlight on the Bose speaker.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The SoundLink Revolve II favors a bass heavy sound at low and moderate volumes, which is arguably too much indoors, but makes more sense outside.

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is an awkward entry into the SoundLink family. This won’t be the only speaker in your house, and it’s not worth the price to buy two for Party Mode, nor is it tough enough to go outdoors unscathed. On the other hand, it fits a pre-party if you want a speaker while getting ready for a night out.

The ease of use and optional auxiliary input are excellent pros, and they make the SoundLink Revolve II both family friendly and compelling for the tech averse. The ability to pick different languages rates as a plus, but the robotic voice sounds quite unnatural—almost comedically so at times. Heck, even the bassy sound could count as a positive for some listeners, particularly when outdoors.

However, some features are simply outdated, like microUSB charging without quick charge and using SBC codec only transmitted over (albeit a stable) Bluetooth 4.1. Bose also could’ve added an equalizer to its app — that way you could avoid all that disproportionately loud low end while listening to Maurice Ravel at home, and then revert to a bassier sound later when you play sunn O))). We could overlook many of our qualms if the speaker was priced accordingly, but the Bose branding doesn’t come cheap.

Adventurous folks who only want Bluetooth for music outdoors should look for something more rugged, like the JBL Charge 5 for $149 at Amazon. The Sony SRS-XE300 (on the product’s website) also offers some improvements over the SoundLink Revolve II, with a better IP67 rating, a more comprehensive app (with EQ), a better codec selection, and USB-C charging, but no aux input, and less refined treble reproduction.

Sonos is like the Pepsi to Bose’s Coca-Cola, so unsurprisingly the Sonos Roam is another option ($418 at Amazon) with added Wi-Fi capabilities and deeper tech features, but a less immediately user friendly interface.

You could also save a few bucks and grab the UE BOOM 3. while it’s not the newest on the block, sharing some of the older tech of SoundLink Revolve II, it’s also quite a bit cheaper at $129 at Amazon. You can also EQ it, and the hardy build keeps the finish intact.

Bose SoundLink Revolve IIBose SoundLink Revolve II
Bose SoundLink Revolve II
3.5mm port • Voice command supported • Omnidirectional sound
MSRP: $219.00
A good-looking and straightforward speaker
The Bose SoundLink Revolve II produces a loud sound in every direction. Bluetooth pairing is simple, commands are responsive, and it has a 3.5mm port.

Frequently asked questions

First of all the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is quite a bit larger and pricier ($399 at Amazon) than the Bose SoundLink Revolve II. The Portable Smart Speaker has a handle, a lesser IPX4 rating, but more importantly, it’s a Wi-Fi smart speaker with Bluetooth capabilities. To contrast, the SoundLink Revolve II is a Bluetooth only speaker that relies on your phone for smart features.

The following are the pre-installed languages on the SoundLink Revolve II.

  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

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