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Bose Portable Home Speaker vs SoundLink Revolve (2021): Should You Choose Portability Or Great Sound Performance?

Bose used to have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, sometimes going years at a time without putting out any sort of design or technical update. This has recently changed though, as Bose now churns out new bluetooth speakers on the regular, each one an improvement over the older models. The Bose SoundLink Revolve, for example, has 360-degree technology, addressing the issue of unidirectional sound. As for the newer Bose Portable Home Speaker, it’s the perfect alternative to a lot of the unwieldy and untransportable speakers out there. While both models show just how innovative Bose can really be, it leaves us with one question: Which one is better?

If you can’t decide which one should take up space in your home just yet, take a look at our in-depth comparison of the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve so that you can get a better feel of their individual features and discover which one suits your needs best.

Bose Portable Home Speaker vs SoundLink Revolve Comparison Chart

ModelBose Portable Home SpeakerBose SoundLink Revolve
Bose Portable Smart SpeakerBose SoundLink Revolve
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at Walmart

Carrying HandleYesNo
OmnidirectionalYesYes
Voice AssistantsAlexa and Google AssistantAlexa and Google Assistant
ConnectivityWi-Fi, AirPlay 2, BluetoothWi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, NFC
Built-in MicYesYes
IP RatingIPX4IPX4
Battery Life12 hours12 hours
Dimensions7.54 x 4.69 x 4.09 inches6 x 3.25 x 3.25 inches
Weight2.3 lbs1.5 lbs

Design

The Portable Home Speaker is easier to carry around than the SoundLink Revolve. 

The Portable Home Speaker (left) is designed with a carrying handle, making it more portable than the SoundLink Revolve (right).

While some speakers out there call themselves portable, they’re still too burdensome to carry with you on the road. The Portable Home Speaker, however, really lives up to its name as you can tell by its fabric-wrapped carrying handle. This helpful feature lets you haul it around like a little bucket, allowing you to do other things with your free hand. It’s also very light and compact at 2.3 pounds so you don’t have to worry about your carrying arm being sore the next day. If you do decide to bring it along to the pool side or the beach, you can rest easy because it has an IPX4 rating, meaning it’s resistant to splashes of water.

The Portable Home Speaker, protected by an anodized aluminum enclosure, comes in two finishes. There’s a black version which gives out minimalist vibes as well as a silver one which has more of a futuristic look. On the lower third part of the speaker, you’ll find a wraparound grille while the top part of the speaker houses a smaller circular grille. You’ll also find the controls such as the power, volume, pause/play, microphone, and bluetooth pairing up top. As for the back portion, the only thing to see there is the USB-C port sans any sign of an AUX port.

As for the SoundLink Revolve, it lacks the convenience of a carrying handle but then again, it wasn’t designed to be portable. It’s also quite oddly shaped, taking on the silhouette of a salt shaker but much larger. However, it does share some similarities with the Portable Home Speaker when it comes to the rest of its design. It’s covered by a similar aluminum housing so you can expect it to have the same durability, it’s offered in the same black and silver colors, their grilles and controls are in the same places, and they even have the same IPX4 rating.

Sound Performance

Both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve are omnidirectional but the latter produces better sound quality. 

You can put the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve in the center of the room and they’ll blast sound in all directions.

The best thing about both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve is the fact that they’re omnidirectional. While you’d have to keep other speakers facing forward to sound good, these Bose speakers can be facing whichever direction and still give out fantastic sound. Likewise, you can be walking all around the room and be treated to the same sound quality wherever you are. This makes them the perfect addition to your house parties. Just set them in the middle of the room and you can be sure that the music will be loud and clear to everyone.

Bose is pretty secretive when it comes to their specs but it’s safe to say that the Portable Home Speaker can get very loud considering how petite it is. Its size does come with a drawback, however, as it fails to impress with its low frequencies. If you were to listen to a bass-filled song, you’d notice that the low frequencies are trimmed back at high volumes and that the aluminum enclosure rattles quite a bit. If you want to get a better idea of its general sound signature, maybe pick songs that aren’t so heavy on the bass. Fortunately, the mids and the highs sound good on the Portable Home Speaker and its soundstage lives up to expectations too.

As for the SoundLink Revolve, it does a better job of handling low frequencies, its bass worthy of praise despite its size. This holds true even as you turn the volume up, its digital signal processing kicking in to prevent sound distortion. Similarly to the Portable Home Speaker, it’s also able to deliver strong mids and crisp highs. The SoundLink Revolve shakes quite a bit too during bass-y parts but it doesn’t budge thanks to its rubberized bottom.

Additional Features

Both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve double up as smart speakers, able to operate both Alexa and Google Assistant.


Both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve have built-in microphones for voice commands. 

Aside from being able to blast music in all directions, both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve also double up as smart speakers. Built-in with Alexa and Google Assistant, you can ask them anything under the sun and they’ll be quick to give you an answer. You can tell them to give you weather updates, play and pause your music, and open up your calendar. It’s basically like having a mini assistant at home who won’t get tired of fulfilling your requests. Note that you can only choose one voice assistant to operate though. The built-in microphones on both models are located up top so your voice commands are sure to be heard from whichever direction you’re coming from. You can also use your speakers to take calls, given that they’re equipped with microphones.

Battery

The Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve are on par with each other when it comes to battery life.

Both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve can go 12 hours without a charge.

What’s the use of having great speakers if they don’t have dependable battery life, right? Fortunately, both the Portable Home Speaker and the SoundLink Revolve have decent battery life, able to go 12 hours each without a charge. Compared to other speakers out there, their battery performance is somewhere in the middle. Definitely not the best but not the worst of the lot either. Note that the number of hours can go either up or down, depending on how loud you play your music.

Verdict

Choose the Portable Home Speaker if you want portability but pick the SoundLink Revolve if you want better sound quality.

Lasso Brag

The Bose Portable Home Speaker is impressive for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s lightweight and thoughtfully designed with a carrying handle, making it extra easy to bring along to pool parties and beach trips. It’s durable as well, complete with an IPX4 rating, so you need not worry about getting water splashes on it while you’re outside. When it comes to sound performance, however, it leaves more to be desired, especially when it comes to its low frequency response. The fact that you have to stay away from bass-heavy songs is quite disappointing, especially since its price tag is on the heftier side. It’s really its innovative design that you’re paying more for.

Moving on to the Bose SoundLink Revolve, it lives up to its promise of delivering true 360-degree sound, making it effortless for users to share their music during parties and get-togethers. It doesn’t matter which direction it’s facing or wherever you are in the room–you can count on the sound quality to be just as great. When it comes to portability, however, it definitely doesn’t score as high as the Portable Home Speaker, given that it lacks the convenience of a carrying handle. But if this is something that doesn’t bother you and you’d rather enjoy good quality sound, then it’s the better choice for you and your wallet.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.