Bose is no stranger when it comes to quality speakers, headphones, and wireless Bluetooth speakers. And with the Portable Smart Speaker, Bose now has a new category in its kitty—portable Bluetooth speaker. Yeah, this new speaker from Bose can not only play music but also gives you access to your favorite smart assistant. Another omnidirectional wireless speaker that has managed to grab music lovers' eyeballs over the last three years is the Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus.
Launched in 2017, this was one of the few speakers that could project sound in all the directions. At the same, it boasts of an unusual lantern-like cylindrical shape and it delivers an excellent audio experience.
Both these Bose speakers fall on the premium spectrum. Hence, this brings us to an important question—are there any notable differences between the Boser Soundlink Revolve Plus and the new Portable Smart Speaker? Or is the older Soundlink Revolve Plus still a better choice, provided that it is priced around $50 less than its new counterpart.
Well, that's what we are going to find in this post today. Let's get started. But before we begin,
If you look at the Soundlink Revolve Plus, the first thing to come to your mind will be a lantern. Yes, the Soundlink Revolve Plus resembles a mini lantern, and similar to one, you can carry this wireless Bluetooth speaker everywhere. And the handle at the top helps its case. Furthermore, at 31.99 oz, it's not that heavy, and you will be able to carry it with ease.
The Soundlink Revolve Plus features an aluminum body. It sports an IPX4 rating which makes it splash resistant. However, it might be risky to carry it to a pool party or the beach. If you ask me, a higher IP rating would have been more than welcome for the price.
Nevertheless, this one makes for an ideal companion for backyard parties or indoor events at home. It's sufficiently loud (more on that later), and the option to thread a wall mount or a stand makes it even better.
Beyond that, the design is pretty simple. All the buttons are at the top, and the micro USB port and the AUX port sit at the back. It also bundles a mic, and you can activate the smart assistant of the linked phone.
Being a speaker in almost the same spectrum, the new Bose Portable Smart Speaker sports almost the same design. Although this time, the company has chosen to let go of the slight bulge at the bottom. Instead, the Portable Smart Speaker features a cylindrical curved base and needless to say, it gives off a sleek and premium vibe.
Like its counterpart above, it's lightweight and measures just around 7.5-inches. It also sports a signature handle at the top which, thereby adding to its portability quotient.
Other than the basic design, the design is mostly similar. The buttons are at the top while the speaker grills surround the lower half of the speaker. Unlike the Soundlink Revolve Plus, here you won't find the legacy MicroUSB port for charging, and rightly so.
It's almost 2021, and mostly all the premium speakers bundle USB-C for faster charging, and the Portable Smart Speaker from Bose is no exception.
However, what it doesn't upgrade is its Ingress Protection rating. It still rated a mere IPX4 and has the same probability of being damaged by excessive sand and water as its counterpart.
Plus, the fabric-wrapped handle tends to absorb water. So should you be careless with the handle, you might end up seeing some discoloration in the long run.
Nevertheless, there have been some pretty upgrades. What's more, you can also turn off the Smart Assistant with a button.
Off late, quite a few makers have stripped the 3.5mm AUX port from their speakers, and Bose's new speaker is one the new ones to join this lineup. So yeah, you won't be able to play songs directly from your phone. The good news is that there are plenty of services which you can use to stream your favorite songs and podcast.
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2. Battery Life
When it comes to battery life, do not expect much from these speakers such as the likes of the UE Hyperboom or the Marshall Stanmore II (see best portable Bluetooth speakers with long battery life)
The older Soundlink Revolve Plus is rated for 16 hours of continuous playback on moderate volumes. But should you raise the volume, the battery is expected to dip even further.
As opposed to that, the Portable Smart Speaker lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge, and on standby mode, it can last over 24 hours. It's worth to be noted that this speaker is was launched in direct competition to the premium Sonos Move, which has a battery life of around 11 hours.
And like the Sonos Move, both the portable speakers can be charged wirelessly via Bose's charging cradle (sold separately at $30).
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3. Built-in Smart Assistant
This is one of the major differences between both speakers. While the older Soundlink Revolve lets you access smart assistants on your phone, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker goes ahead and integrates Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa into its speakers, making it one of the few portable and lightweight smart Bluetooth speaker.
Like your Echo Spot or Google Home, you can now issue commands to the speaker, and the chosen assistant will do the needful. Of course, it would need access to Wi-Fi for the same. Speaking of Wi-Fi, you can also reap the full advantage of streaming services like Deezer, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, to play your favorite soundtracks.
If you step beyond the Wi-Fi range with your speaker, it will struggle to answer your questions/requests. But the good news is that you can have your chosen smart assistants on your phone as you move around.
Unlike Google Home or the Echo Show, you do not have to deal with the hassles of connecting it to a power source as long as you keep it charged.
4. Sound Performance
Let's get one thing straight—both the Portable Smart Speaker and the Soundlink Revolve Plus are omnidirectional speakers meant for home usage and backyard parties, and it sure fills that void with ease.
Both the speakers are sufficiently loud, and you won't be straining your ears trying to listen to your favorite songs even on medium volume.
The older Revolve Plus boasts of a smooth audio output and a pronounced bass. There's minimal distortion even at high volumes.
As for the Bose Portable Smart Speaker, it delivers balanced audio with added bass effect. Simultaneously, the output is clear and punchy and well, that's what you'd expect from a premium speaker.
The highlight of this speaker is the addition of mono-signal tech. Similar to the Sonos Move's Auto Trueplay tech, this one also tunes the audio output as per the surroundings. This translates well into real-world usage, and you will find an overall balanced listening.
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Battle of the Portable Smart Speakers
Do you need smart assistant support often? Do you want a couple of Bose smart speakers linked around your house? If the answer to the above question is yes, then yeah, you should certainly pick the new kid in the block.
It packs a premium look, and the audio output is clear and vibrant. Plus, you get the advantages of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. If you have seen our older lists, having smart assistant support minus the power cord is a rare breed for now.
However, if you want a simple speaker with loud but balanced audio (and if you can bear with the shape), the Soundlink Revolve Plus is the one you should go for. Plus, if you already have a Soundlink Revolve Plus, you can buy one more and pair it with the previous one and beef up the sound.
More importantly, it's durable, and several user reviews on Amazon have backed that.
As opposed to it, the new Portable Smart Speaker only pairs with other smart speakers from Bose. So, if you already have an older speaker, you will not pair them together. On the upside, if you want to get into the concept of a connected home or smart home, ignore the $49 price difference and go for the new one.
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