I've been living with this Bose Bluetooth speaker for 7 years and it continues to outperform newer rivals — here's how

Bose speaker held in hand against with a tiled floor in the background
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When I’m not reviewing the best headphones and best wireless earbuds, I’m putting the market’s best Bluetooth speakers through rigorous testing.

Two of my current favorites are the compact Tribit StormBox Micro and spatial audio-ready Anker Soundcore Motion X500. I’ll often use them around the house during weekend clean-ups. That was until I rediscovered the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker, a gem of a portable that has sat in my closet for a few years.

Originally launched in early 2017, this 360-degree cylindrical sound system was well received and paved the way for Bose’s current portable speaker lineup. Seven years on and it’s still amazing. My wife and I have used it daily for the past month and can’t get over the speaker’s spectacular sound performance. Seeing the Revolve+ hold its own against rivals featuring 3D sound, Hi-Res Audio, LDAC compatibility, and much bigger speaker drivers is impressive.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ being removed from a closet

(Image credit: Future)

Does it surpass top offerings from heavyweights like JBL, Sony, and Sonos, or even the latest Bose releases? Yes and no, at least when it comes to specific verticals. The Revolve+ makes the most of Bose’s proprietary technologies to give listeners a well-rounded listening experience. It’s also a lot more modern than the long-running speaker model might suggest.

Bose speaker on a side cabinet with photo frames in the background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Bose has put out some fantastic-sounding speakers since the start of the Millennium, including the Bose Companion 2 (Series III), which Tom’s Guide ranks as the best desktop multimedia speakers overall. The Revolve+ boasts the audio prowess of a class-leading portable speaker, from its sharp omnidirectional sound presentation to its stellar speakerphone capabilities.

Very few Bluetooth speakers can deliver rich, vibrant, fine-tuned audio at high volume as well as the Bose Revolve+. Its bass is nicely balanced and hits harder than many Bluetooth speakers I've heard. Clarity is also more refined than newcomers like the Motion X500; mids and highs sound more transparent over thump-heavy recordings.

Few Bluetooth speakers can deliver rich, vibrant, fine-tuned audio at high volume as well as the Bose Revolve+.

Neo-soul jams such as Victoria Monet’s “Coastin’” are a sublime listen that highlight the singer’s melodic vocal layering perfectly. The infectious drum snaps are reproduced incredibly well, while the trumpet solo at the end bellows beautifully through the drivers. Playing the record in closed settings felt euphoric at times, thanks to the speaker’s surround sound projection that immersed my home office and living room in impressive soundscapes.

The up-tempo production on ‘80s boppers like Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” sounded terrific. I can’t think of another speaker that handles the track’s monstrous synth-bass wobble and pounding snares so well. These sonic elements are impactful and don’t overwhelm the soundscape, leaving the singer plenty of room to wail smoothly over the track. 

Bose, Ankers Soundcore and JBL speakers group together on a tiled floor

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ may be an oldie Bluetooth speaker, but it sounds better than Anker's Soundcore Motion X500 (pictured left) and JBL's Charge 5 (pictured right).  (Image credit: Future)

When playing music on the best music streaming services, I expected more depth from Tidal tracks, but the Bose's sound quality seemed agnostic to streaming quality and no matter what streaming service I tried, everything I played sounded great.

When used as a speakerphone, voice calls shone on the Revolve+. In fact, it's one of the best I’ve tested for loud and clear sound. The integrated mic is another component that deserves high praise, picking up vocals precisely for exceptional call quality and voice assistance. Business calls were met with positive feedback, and my wife was surprised by how crisp my voice sounded when speaking from opposite sides of the living room. 

Bose speaker on a table next to a smartphone with a living room scene in the background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Current Bose products use the rebranded Bose Music app. Meanwhile, the Revolve+ is stuck with the outdated Bose Connect app, which comes with fewer features, but is still serviceable.

You enable Party Mode to pair two Revolve+ speakers at the same time for stereo sound. Bear in mind that not all new Bluetooth speakers come with a multi-pairing mode (I’m looking at you, JBL Charge 5 Wi-Fi). The app has a few other perks like an auto-off timer, voice prompts in different languages, and even firmware updates. Speaking of which, it looks like Bose Connect has been updated over the past few months, at least according to version history logs in the App Store and Google Play. That’s a sign of Bose continuing support for both the mobile app and older devices.

The best features are available outside the app: Bluetooth multipoint and voice assistance. Pairing the speaker to two devices at the same time is awesome for business users wanting to play music on their PC and switch instantly to their phone when calls come in. The older technology works much better than expected: connections never scramble, and range is up to 45 feet. Google Assistant and Siri also perform well for hands-free voice commands.

The Revolve+ had a long market run before it was replaced by the Series II version (released in 2021). It’s a tough find these days, but there are still a few units available at select online retailers.


The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ has great craftsmanship with outstanding 360-degree sound and call quality. Right now, Amazon has it discounted to $263, making it an enticing option at the sale price. That’s $66 less than the newer Revolve II+, which is a solid upgrade featuring smarter voice assistance, stronger durability rated to IPX5 for water protection, and 17 hours of playtime.  

However, I would be remiss not to mention the category’s other superb options. We have the $449 Sonos Move 2, which is a pricey option but also has strong sound and is one of our audio editor's favorite portable speakers thanks to its long battery life, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility. Then there are budget options like the $99 UE Wonderboom 3, which stands out for its remarkable durability and monstrous bass response.

Despite being an older model, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+’s overall performance is a testament to Bose’s engineering pedigree, and continues to give some newer speaker models a run for the money.

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Alex Bracetti

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.