Bose Revolve II
Bose Revolve II

Growing up, I watched a lot of television. In the mid-90s, there was this commercial for a Bose speaker. The premise was that this little compact Bose speaker had the same power as a huge speaker system. It could purportedly, fill an entire room up with sound. Since then, I’ve always been intrigued by Bose speakers. Were they truly different from other speaker brands, or was I just a sucker to good marketing as a child?   

Fast forward to today, and I’m about to find out. I’m reviewing the Bose Revolve II. Unlike the speaker I saw in a commercial from the 90s, this Bose speaker is portable, durable, and smart.

Let’s begin by looking at some of the notable specs:

  • 360-degree sound 
  • IP55-rated aluminum body, water, and rust-resistant 
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts and NFC pairing 
  • Siri and the Google Assistant compatibility
  • Pairs with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices
Bose Revolve II Top
Bose Revolve II

Design of the Bose Revolve II portable speaker

I wouldn’t normally associate Bose as a rugged, portable speaker audio brand. So I’ll give them credit where it’s due. As a 360-degree sound speaker, the Revolve II has an impressive functional design that provides protection and portability. 

With a compact cylinder shape, the bottom portion is slightly wider than the top. The main grill around the speaker is made from aluminum with a rubber ring featured on the top and bottom. This was a clever design element. If the Revolve II is pushed over, the rubber rings absorb the impact and prevent scratches or dents on the grill. The top of the speaker also has a rubber surface with concave buttons. The Bose logo is prominently featured in the middle.  Inside is an NFC chip but there is no NFC logo featured on the speaker itself. Had I not looked at the specs, I wouldn’t have known it had NFC pairing. 

A Micro-USB port and a 3.5 mm jack input are located on the bottom. Flip the Revolve II over and you’ll find a mounting screw and a metal contact for the optional charging cradle. 

Bose Revolve II
Bose Revolve II

Sound quality of the Bose Revolve II

Bose has always disguised their speakers as producing excellent sound quality. I have a lot of experience with portable Bluetooth speakers. I use them all the time when I’m jumping rope outside. Using it outdoors, the low-end was the first thing that stood out. For a compact speaker, it has a lot of bass. This was achieved by the dual passive radiators. It delivers the low-end frequencies and reduces wasteful vibrations by converting them into acoustic output.

Together with the mids and the highs, the Revolve II produces a pleasant, well-balanced sound with distinct clarity in all the frequency ranges. I played a wide variety of music styles such as classical, rock, pop, and lo-fi. Everything sounded great which tells me a lot of thought and effort went into this speaker. 

I’m a huge fan of the 360-degree sound profile but I’ve never taken the time to learn how it’s achieved. With the Bose Revolve II, a transducer is located in the middle and faces downward. Below it is an omnidirectional acoustic deflector. The sound from the transducer hits the acoustic deflector and produces the 360-degree sound. 

Bose Revolve II battery life

Bose says the Revolve II has 13 hours of playback. This figure may vary, depending on how loud and often music is playing. I used it for hours and only charged it once. Unless you’re away from a power source for a long period of time, I don’t think the battery life will be an issue. 

What surprised me was the inclusion of a Micro-USB port. Let’s be honest. I did not expect to see a portable speaker with the old-style Micro-USB port. It’s 2021. Why a company like Bose would not include a newer USB-C port is beyond me. Remember, this is the Bose Revolve II, the second iteration. Yet they still used a Micro-USB. I’m perplexed.   

Notable features

The Bose Revolve II does have some notable features. The first is multi-connect. This allows you to connect two devices at the same time. In a party situation, two people can play DJ from their smartphones. I appreciate the ability to simultaneously connect my smartphone and tablet to the Revolve II. Without multi-connect, trying to use the same Bluetooth speaker interchangeably with two devices is a pain. You never know what device the speaker is going to connect to. 

The second is accessing Siri and Google Assistant. This is great for homes with Apple and Android devices. A simple long-press of the multi-function button gives access to your respective voice assistant. It also pairs with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices making it a great choice for smart homes. Still, you have to press the multi-function button for the voice assistants. That probably explains why I never used it. I’m used to using smart speakers handsfree. 

The Revolve II can also combine with another SoundLink speaker for stereo sound. This can also be used for Party Mode playback with two speakers placed in different locations. This is done through the Bose Connect app which surprisingly, does not have any EQ settings. 

Bose Revolve II
Bose Revolve II

Final thoughts

While I’ve reviewed Bose wireless earbuds before, I’ve never reviewed a Bose portable speaker. In fact, I’ve never considered getting a Bose speaker before for outdoor use. I had always considered Bose to be an audio brand designed for indoor listening. 

This review left me with a favourable impression of Bose as an audio brand. The sound quality and design of the Bose Revolve II are impressive. I enjoyed jumping rope outside with it because it produces a powerful sound that is loud and clear. It has a great balance of thumping low-end and bright highs. The build quality and battery life are superb.

On the surface, connecting two SoundLink speakers sounds like an awesome feature. Practically speaking, what are the chances someone will buy two Bose SoundLink speakers? This closed wall-garden approach to Bluetooth speaker compatibility needs to end. Imagine being able to connect any two wireless Bluetooth speaker brands together in Party Mode. What a wonderful world that would be. 

With that said, if you’re looking for a portable, durable Bluetooth speaker that produces a versatile sound for any type of music, the Bose Revolve II is sure to impress. 

Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.