Danish high-end consumer electronics maker Bang & Olufsen is well known for its product design and attention to detail, in addition to performance. The Beosound audio product line covers all kinds of speakers, including home installation speaker systems, but the product I’m reviewing today is part of its portable audio line. In fact, it is one of the more affordable products Bang & Olufsen currently offers, although it still costs quite a bit compared to similar wireless speakers from brands such as Xiaomi, Sony and JBL.
The Beosound Explore is a premium wireless speaker, priced at Rs. 20,000 in India. It is designed and built for outdoor use, with an anodized aluminum frame and IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. Is this the best wireless bluetooth speaker that you can buy for around Rs. 20,000 right now? Find out in this review.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore can handle the elements
Bang & Olufsen products are known for their great aesthetics, and the Beosound Explore is no exception. The enclosure is sleek, sophisticated, and considerably smaller than similarly positioned options such as the UE Boom 3 and the JBL Xtreme 2. However, it weighs roughly the same as the aforementioned products due to the liberal use of metal in its construction. The frame is made of anodized aluminum while the base has a rubberized material for better grip and a certain degree of impact resistance.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance; this means it can withstand significant exposure to dirt, dust and water, including being completely submerged in shallow water for short periods. A waterproof fabric strap and carabiner are also included with the speaker for easy handling and transport. The USB Type-C port for charging is on the bottom, on the rubberized base, and the controls are on the top. The positioning of the speakers allows for 360-degree sound rather than having a focused listening area.
There are five touch-sensitive physical buttons on the top to control power, volume, playback, and Bluetooth pairing. The play button lets you play and pause music with a single tap, but you can also skip to the next track with a double tap or to the previous track with a triple tap.
What is useful is that there is also multipoint connectivity, which allows you to connect up to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, as well as stereo pairing if you have two Beosound Explore speakers. Quick pairing via Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair protocols is also supported. It is important to point out that this speaker does not have a built-in microphone, so you cannot use it as a hands-free device for calls. This also means that there is also no support for voice assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has two 1.8-inch speakers, two 30W Class-D full-range amplifiers and a frequency response range of 56 to 22,700 Hz. The speaker uses Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity with SBC Bluetooth codec support. The Bang & Olufsen app (available on iOS and Android) lets you control playback and volume, customize the sound profile and configure stereo pairing to connect two Beosound Explore speakers. It also displays the speaker battery level.
The battery life of the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is 27 hours at normal volume by the company, but in actual use I have found it to be much less. I got about 11 hours of listening at moderate volume levels on a single charge, which, while well below the advertised figure, is acceptable for a speaker of this size. It took about two hours to fully charge the Beosound Explore with my own 10W charger.
Good soundstage on the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore
Aside from the beauty and build quality, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore promises good sound quality thanks to its dual pilot configuration. While the amplification specs suggest the Beosound Explore is loud, it doesn’t quite push volume up as well as devices like the UE Boom 3. That said, the sound quality is decent in terms of setting and Positioning of the speakers allows for a good soundstage.
I used the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore with an iPhone 13 (Review) as the primary source device for this review, but also tested multipoint connectivity with an Android smartphone. Since there is no microphone on the device, my testing was limited to listening to music, watching occasional videos on YouTube, and playing games on my smartphone. Connectivity was stable even with two devices connected to the speaker, over distances of up to 3m, and switching between devices was fast and seamless.
From Benee’s Supalonely, I had the volume at around 50% and the sound profile set to the “Optimal” level, which is equivalent to a flat EQ setting thanks to the natural speaker setting. I found the sound a little too warm in this setting, which made Benee’s light and youthful voice a little muddy and biased. While that helped make the sound punchy and joyful in this energetic track, it didn’t sound as clean as I would have liked.
Fortunately, the sound profile is easy to adjust to your liking, and I was able to intuitively set it to levels suitable for individual tracks. That said, it’s not something I would like to do often given my varied musical preferences and my tendency to listen to different genres in shuffle. In this regard, the speaker’s natural setting was not as good as I had hoped, especially considering its cost.
With Intoxicated by Martin Solveig and GTA, I had the chance to listen to the Beosound Explore with the kind of music that suits it best. The strong and fast pace of this track sounded fun on the speaker, and the directionality of its speakers made for a great soundstage throughout the room, despite being placed against a wall. in a corner. With the volume turned up, this track was very enjoyable, and I also felt that the sound quality improved a bit with the volume at around 70% or more.
While cranking up the volume to around 90% makes the sound signature a bit too loud and overbearing, the Beosound Explore held up in terms of minimizing distortion and harshness of sound. Overall, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore sounds good, even considering its steep price, but is held back slightly by its size and tendency to sound a bit too hot.
Bang & Olufsen’s ‘luxury’ approach to personal audio works quite well for the Beosound Explore. This is a wireless speaker suitable for outdoors that could be well suited for “glamping” or by the pool of your vacation home. It’s a beautiful, well-built wireless speaker that offers enough sound quality to somewhat streamline its Rs. 20,000 price tag.
That said, the sound isn’t as loud as I had hoped, there’s no microphone for hands-free calling, and you’re certainly paying extra for the good looks and sturdy construction. The sound quality is decent however, especially the good soundstage and the ability to quickly change the EQ to your liking using the app, making the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore a worthwhile option to consider for around Rs. 20,000.
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