The Danish manufacturer of high-end consumer electronics Bang & Olufsen is known not only for performance but also for the design of its products and attention to detail. The Beosound range of audio products includes all types of speakers, including speaker systems for home installation, but the product I am reviewing today is part of their portable audio range. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest products Bang & Olufsen currently has, although it’s still pretty expensive compared to similar wireless speakers from brands like Xiaomi, Sony, and JBL.
The Beosound Explore is a premium wireless speaker priced at Rs. 20,000 in India. It’s designed and built for outdoor use, with an anodized aluminum frame and IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. Is this the best bluetooth wireless speaker you can buy for around Rs? 20,000 now? Find out in this review.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore can withstand the elements
Bang & Olufsen products are known for their great aesthetics and the Beosound Explore is no exception. The speaker is chic, classy and significantly smaller than similarly positioned options such as the UE Boom 3 and JBL Xtreme 2. However, due to the generous use of metal in its construction, it weighs roughly as much as the products mentioned above. The frame is made of anodized aluminum, while the base is made of rubberized material for grip and some shock resistance.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is IP67 dust and water resistant; This means it can withstand significant exposure to dirt, dust, and water, including full immersion in shallow water for short periods of time. A waterproof fabric strap and a carabiner are also included with the speaker to make handling and carrying a little easier. The USB Type-C port for charging is at the bottom of the rubberized base, the controls are at the top. The positioning of the speaker drivers allows for 360 degree sound instead of having a targeted listening zone.
On the top there are five physical soft-touch buttons for controlling power, volume, playback and Bluetooth pairing. The play button lets you play and pause music with a single press of a button, but you can also skip to the next track with a double press or the previous track with a three press.
Also useful is the multipoint connectivity, which allows you to connect up to two Bluetooth devices at the same time, as well as stereo pairing if you have two Beosound Explore speakers. Fast pairing via the Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair protocols is also supported. It’s important to note that this speaker doesn’t have a built-in microphone so you can’t use it as a speakerphone for calls. This also means that voice assistants such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa are also not supported.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has two 1.8-inch drivers, two 30W full-range Class D amplifiers and a frequency response range of 56-22700 Hz. The speaker uses Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity with support for the SBC- Bluetooth codec. The Bang & Olufsen app (available for iOS and Android) allows you to control playback and volume, adjust sound profiles and set up stereo pairing to connect two Beosound Explore speakers. It also shows the speaker’s battery level.
The battery life of the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is reported by the company to be 27 hours at normal volume, but I found it much less in actual use. I got about 11 hours of listening time at moderate volume on a single charge, which while much lower than the figure claimed, is acceptable for a speaker of this size. It took about two hours to fully charge the Beosound Explore using my own 10W charger.
Good soundstage on the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore
Aside from good looks and build quality, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore promises good sound quality thanks to its dual driver setup. While the gain specs suggest the Beosound Explore is loud, it doesn’t push the volume quite as high as devices like the UE Boom 3. However, the sound quality is decent in terms of tuning and the positioning of the drivers makes for a good soundstage .
I used the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore with an iPhone 13 (review) as the primary source device for this test, but I also tested the multipoint connectivity with an Android smartphone. Since the device does not have a microphone, my test was limited to listening to music, occasionally watching 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 10 feet, and switching between devices was quick and smooth.
Starting with Supalonely from Benee, I set the volume to around 50 percent and the sound profile to “Optimal”, which, thanks to the natural tuning of the loudspeaker, corresponds to a flat equalizer setting. I found the sound a little too warm at this setting, which made Benee’s light, youthful vocals sound a bit muddy and distorted. While this helped make the sound of this upbeat track punchy and bass-loving, it didn’t sound quite as clean as I would have liked.
Fortunately, the sound profile is easy to adjust to your liking and I was able to intuitively adjust it to the appropriate levels for individual tracks. However, that’s something I wouldn’t do often, given my different musical preferences and my inclination to hear different genres shuffle. In this respect, the natural tuning of the speaker wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it would be, especially when you consider the price.
With Intoxicated by Martin Solveig and GTA, I had the opportunity to listen to the Beosound Explore with the music that suits it best. The strong, fast beat of this track sounded funny from the speaker, and the directionality of its drivers made for an excellent soundstage throughout the room, even though it was placed in a corner against a wall. With the volume turned up, this track was very enjoyable, and I also had the feeling that the sound quality improved a bit at a volume of around 70 percent or higher.
Although turning up the volume to around 90 percent made the sound signature seem a bit too boisterous and arrogant, the Beosound Explore was able to hold its own in terms of distortion and harshness of the sound to a minimum. On the whole, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore sounds decent, even considering the high price, but is held back a bit by its size and the tendency to sound a little too warm.
Bang & Olufsen’s “luxurious” approach to personal audio works quite well with the Beosound Explore. This is an outdoor-friendly wireless speaker that is great for “glamping” or sitting by the pool in your vacation home. It’s a nice-looking, well-built wireless speaker that has enough in terms of sound quality to streamline its Rs a bit. 20,000 price tag.
However, the sound is not quite as loud as I had hoped it would be, there is no microphone for hands-free calling, and you definitely pay an extra charge for the beautiful design and sturdy construction. The sound quality is decent though, especially the good soundstage and the ability to quickly adjust the equalizer to your liking using the app, which makes the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore a worthwhile option for around Rs. 20,000.
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