This author has been extensively using the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ and Libratone Zipp speakers for the past week. Both offer excellent wireless quality sound and a waterproof design. The SoundLink Revolve+ has especially received good reviews from sources such as CNET and Trusted Reviews.
However, for $299, one comes out as the clear winner.
Build and Design
Bose’s speaker resembles an outdoor lantern. It’s a combination of rubber and aluminum that works, and the speaker holes are all around the unit for 360 degree immersive sound. The bottom of the speaker has a tripod mount. Bose made a great decision to put all of the buttons on top, along with a handle.
The Libratone Zipp is heavier than the Revolve+, but it is also cylindrical. It comes with a detachable cover that can be zipped up. However, its buttons are all over the place (microphone on top, inputs on the lower back) and can make things confusing at first. It comes with a smaller handle than the Bose Revolve+.
This is where the Bose and Libratone speakers differ. The Revolve+ is a Bluetooth speaker with an Aux input jack as well. The Zipp is a Bluetooth + Wi-Fi speaker, and that makes a huge difference. It is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, but more importantly for sound freaks, it can be used with Apple’s AirPlay and Spotify Connect. Several speakers can be connected together to provide an indoor Wi-Fi speaker system. If you prefer to use Bluetooth with the Zipp, you can.
A Wi-Fi speaker provides better sound (more on this in a little bit) because the sound isn’t compressed as much as Bluetooth is. In most cases, it also provides a more stable connection. The best part about the Libratone Zipp is that it is portable, meaning it can run up to 10 hours on a wireless charge — something current Wi-Fi speakers from Bose, Apple, Sonos, and even Amazon can’t do.
Bose continually has its lovers and haters debate over the audio-maker’s sound quality, which provides heavy bass, decent mids, and very noticeable highs (sometimes too noticeable) with a tiny “filter” effect in most of its products. Those who love Bose’s sound will definitely appreciate what this speaker has to offer. You won’t notice much of a difference between the sound when using Bluetooth or the Aux input.
The Libratone Zipp, however, is in a different league than Bose, but you won’t notice when using Bluetooth. However, when playing over Wi-Fi or using the Aux connection, the Zipp offers some of the strongest bass ever heard on a 360 degree speaker. And the bass certainly doesn’t hide the highs, although the instruments in the middle ranges are somewhat recessed.
When playing the song “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry outside Starbucks, people sitting and walking by said they were shocked that a speaker the size of the Zipp offered that much punch. The sound can certainly fill up a whole living room and the speaker barely distorts when the volume is turned all the way up.
Bose says the Revolve+ offers about 16 hours of battery life, which is great for something of its size. In just one test, the battery lasted 15 hours and 10 minutes. Keep in mind that it seemed like forever to recharge the speaker.
The Libratone Zipp battery lasted 9.5 hours (close to the advertised time). Although that may seem mediocre, one has to remember that this is a Wi-Fi speaker that requires a lot more power. The Libratone Zipp can fully recharge in less than two hours.
Bose sells an optional cradle to charge the Revolve+ for $30. Libratone offers several different covers that they (falsely) claim can be changed easily. Taking the cover off and putting it back on proved to be quite a daunting task for this author. Perhaps more practice will make things easier.
If you are going to spend $299 for the Bose SoundLink Revolve+, you should look and listen to the Libratone Zipp before making your decision. If you are in the market for a Wi-Fi speaker, you should definitely look and listen to the Zipp, which is priced very well considering all that it offers. There will likely be other portable Wi-Fi speakers released in the near future, but the Libratone Zipp remains the best in its category.