What Will You Use The Speaker For
If you only want to play music at home, then you could choose a mains-powered speaker. You lose the complete portability that a battery-powered speaker offers, of course, so its basically an indoors-only speaker. But you never have to worry about the power running out.
Mains-only speakers tend to be bigger and heavier, which means they can have stronger bass, for instance. Speaking of which
Bang And Olufsen Beosound A1
- Not truly 360-degree sound
- Can’t stereo pair new model with old
If you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker – and can forgive the lack of Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and a 3.5mm port – then the Beosound A1 2nd Gen is unrivalled.
With added Alexa voice control and waterproofing, it’s clearly superior to the already awesome original.
For many, the elephant in the room will be the Beosound A1 2nd Gen’s asking price. No, this isn’t a low-cost speaker. But, yes, it most definitely is a high-quality one that delivers huge sound from a beautifully made package.
There were the odd gripes we experienced during testing, such as the lack of a 3.5mm jack and the inability to stereo pair with the older model, but these are small grievances in what is a very accomplished Bluetooth speaker.
It might be small, but the Beosound A1 2nd Gen packs a big punch that makes it worth every penny. We can name no better portable at this scale.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore Review: What Do You Get For The Money
The Beosound Explore costs £169 and is available in three attractive colourways: Grey Mist, Black Anthracite or Green. Its shaped like an oversized can of beans, with a hard outer shell crafted from anodised aluminium that makes up most of its 637g mass.
Standing at 124mm tall and measuring 81mm in diameter, the Explore is small enough to grasp it in one hand, and theres a fabric strap attached to the rear of the speaker that makes this more secure. Theres also a matching carabiner included should you wish to clip the Explore to your belt or the outside of a bag.
Basic controls are located on the top of the speaker and take the form of depressible buttons. The play/pause control sits in the centre of the circular panel with pairing, volume up, power and volume down buttons positioned at the north, east, south and west compass points, respectively.
Weatherproofing and durability are crucial to the Beosound Explores offering, and it couldnt be much better equipped in those regards. An IP67 rating certifies it dust-tight and waterproof to the point where it can be immersed in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes, while the aluminium housing is scratch-resistant and tough enough to withstand being dropped on hard surfaces.
When empty, the 2,400mAh battery will recharge in a couple of hours via a 5V/3A power supply using the USB-A to USB-C cable included in the box.
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Fill Your Room With Rich Sounds With Bang And Olufsen Speakers
You can find a Bang and Olufsen speaker for almost any application. The broad range of B& O speakers not only look good, but they also sound great. Bang & Olufsen design their audio products to produce audio that’s true to life. The speakers can be used to play various music genres, including classical compositions and heavy metal concerts, without experiencing any distortion. From the extensive collection of new and used models available on eBay, you can easily find the right B& O speaker for your needs.
Are Bang & Olufsen speakers compatible with any sound system?
Yes, B& O speakers can be used with any AV receiver or input source. The speakers can be connected to audio systems via lossless speaker wires that are compatible with nearly every device. It is important to use good quality wires and connectors in order to preserve high-fidelity sounds when connecting B& O speakers to an audio system. Since each B& O speaker model is unique, refer to the manufacturer site for details regarding compatibility and connectivity.
Do Bang and Olufsen speakers have audio controls?
Yes, many B& O speaker models allow you to manipulate audio settings directly on the speaker. Some units, like the Beolab series, have built-in amplifiers with audio controls that maintain its sleek look by keeping the controls hidden from sight. Some of the audio settings that can be controlled with the speaker include gain, speaker position, bass, and treble.
What types of speakers can be found in the B& O range?
How To Choose A Bluetooth Speaker
Bluetooth speakers come in different forms. They can be portable, lightweight and even waterproof. What they have in common is the capability to play music wirelessly from your phone, tablet or laptop, which is quite the opposite of most smart speakers and soundbars.
So, what should you be looking out for?
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More About This Story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
In the case of Bluetooth speakers, we put each device through its paces in both indoor and outdoor environments. By listening to a range of different genres, discovering each speaker’s level of portability and testing battery life, we’re able to decipher which are worth your time and why.
We’ve been testing Bluetooth speakers since they became a thing, and have pretty much reviewed every major model released. The product category has changed a lot, adding features like waterproofing in some cases, better sound capabilities, and, more recently, support for streaming via the likes of AirPlay, Chromecast and Wi-Fi. We’ve also seen a greater focus on design, and all these elements have played into the choices we’ve picked for this buyer’s guide.
As with any roundup, it’s not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the Pocket-lint team – as well as thoroughly assessing the areas outlined above – in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each Bluetooth speaker is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.
Beyond Bass How Important Is The Audio Quality
Important, right? And if the bass isnt the thing you crave the most, you could even opt for something smaller that is still strong on melodic, crisp audio with clear vocals and tight instrumentals, no matter how loud it goes. If you can, listen to the speaker before you buy it and, if possible, turn it up so you know it doesnt go all muddy when theres a bit of oomph behind it.
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It Sounds Bigger Than It Is
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knifes Silent Shout, the Beolit 20’s drivers deliver powerful low-frequency thump, and at top volumes, they dont distort. The DSP makes sure that things never get distorted at top volumes, but it also does a solid job of not overwhelming the dynamics of the mixyou can hear it working, but it doesnt squash things. Also, this speaker can get quite loud for its size…not that its tiny in the first place, but it sounds like a larger speaker.
Bill Callahans Drover, a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the Beolit 20s general sound signature. The drums on this track sound almost thunderous here, and Callahans baritone vocals receive an extra dose of low-mid richness. This would all overwhelm the mix and make things muddy if the drivers didn’t deliver a clear, detailed high-frequency response, but the vocals get some treble edge and the acoustic strums have a bright presence to them, as do the higher-register percussive hits. This is a sculpted sound signature with full-bodied, rich lows that sound great on drums and electric bass, and high-mids and highs that add clarity and contour to the mix.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 Vs Minirig Bluetooth Speaker
Bang & Olufsen A1
The mini rigs have found themselves right up there as our pick of the best portable Bluetooth speaker out there. Its virtually indestructible design, quality sound, and stellar battery life are all reasons to go for it. Until we heard the B& O A1 I would have recommended it over anything else on the market. Making a choice between the A1 and the Minirigs is not an easy choice as both of them do a lot of things very well. The A1 is the pricier of the two but is also the better looking. Availability in markets outside the UK is going to favor the Minirigs as is the build and battery. Sound out the Minirigs is Mono only versus the preferred bi-directional setup of the A1. The Minirigs at added cost can be daisy-chained with the sub and another minirigs speaker to create an incredible sounding 2.1 mini HiFi setup but the A1 is designed to be used on its own.
Both of them sound incredible considering the size. Ultimately the main splitting points are going to be the styling and price. For me, I would be more than happy to take either one. The sound matters most to me and both are top-shelf stuff in super small packages. However, the Minirig is both cheaper, better built, and expandable into a full 2.1 system with an enormous sound presence. On the other hand, the B& O A1 has a standard power connector via the USB-c connector as opposed to the Minirigs proprietary cable. It also has a 360 degree sound projection whereas the Minirigs is monodirectional.
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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore Review: The Best
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore looks great, is rugged and waterproof but doesnt deliver a truly satisfying audio experience
The majority of Bluetooth speakers designed for outdoor use are rather artless in appearance not so the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore.
The Beosound Explore is a hyper-stylish portable speaker that catches the eye when its standing on your bookshelf but possesses the rugged qualities to withstand pretty much any weather conditions or extreme situation you fancy subjecting it to.
If youre a music-loving mountaineer in search of a device that will be the envy of your expedition companions, few Bluetooth speakers fit the bill better than the Beosound Explore. Having said that, the Explore falls short of its stablemate the Beosound A1 in the audio quality department, and its price might put off less affluent adventurers.
Compared To Other Speakers
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a small, portable Bluetooth speaker with a boomy sound profile. Its companion app features customizable EQ presets and its ‘Beosonic’ sound customization feature, which allows you to move around a sound circle to adjust the speaker’s sound to your liking. Thanks to its 360-degree design, this speaker also has great directivity, resulting in a wide and open-sounding soundstage. However, unlike the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2, it doesn’t support any voice assistants.
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Why Should You Buy A Bluetooth Speaker
There are many reasons as to why you would want to buy a Bluetooth speaker, but the biggest one is to get the audio from your phone or tablet to a speaker quickly and easily to enjoy the audio better and louder. Bluetooth speakers are normally small, very portable, and great for sharing your music at a picnic, in your bedroom, or elsewhere with the freedom to simply move somewhere else when the urge takes you.
Most, if not all, come with batteries, removing the need to plug in and be tethered to a specific location.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore Can Handle The Elements
Bang & Olufsen products are known to have very good aesthetics, and the Beosound Explore is no exception. The speaker is stylish, sophisticated, and considerably smaller than similarly positioned options such as the UE Boom 3 and JBL Xtreme 2. However, it weighs roughly the same as the aforementioned products because of the liberal use of metal in its construction. The frame is made of anodised aluminium while the base has a rubberised material for grip and some degree of shock resistance.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is IP67 rated for dust and water resistance this means that it can handle significant exposure to dirt, dust, and water, including being fully submerged 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 it a bit easier. The USB Type-C port for charging is at the bottom, on the rubberised base, and the controls are on the top. The positioning of the speaker drivers allows for 360-degree sound rather than having a targeted listening zone.
There are five soft-touch physical buttons on the top to control power, volume, playback, and Bluetooth pairing. The playback button lets you play and pause music with a single press, but you can also skip to the next track with a double-press or the previous track with a triple-press.
A carabiner to attach onto the Beosound Explore is included in the box
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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore Review: What Could Be Better
All of this is good stuff unfortunately, the Explore doesnt quite hit the sonic heights, and it certainly isnt as easy on the ears as its sibling, the Beosound A1 .
It delivers an impressive amount of detail in the mid-range, and trebles sparkle, but I didnt get quite the same sense of scale as I did from the A1. The Explores soundstage feels a little constrained, and low-end reproduction is less satisfying even with Beosonic adjustments boosting bass.
The Explore also lacks the muscle of options like the JBL Charge 5, although thats to be expected given the Charge 5 is significantly larger, heavier and incorporates dual passive radiators. At maximum volume, the Explore fills a small room reasonably effectively and will ensure a small group sitting around a campfire are well catered for just dont expect it to be the life and soul of a large outdoor gathering.
The physical controls are very simple to use in the daytime but, since theres no illumination on the buttons themselves, using it in dim and dark conditions can be tricky. This isnt an issue when youre sitting at home on your sofa but means you might have to dig out your torch if youre in a remote location with minimal light.
Lastly, the Explore cuts the speakerphone and Alexa functionality present on the A1 . I can totally understand ditching Alexa given the Explores target market, but not being able to take calls through the speaker is a pretty big loss.
Do You Need Other Features Like Waterproofing And Charging Devices
Some speakers, even battery-powered ones, have enough juice to recharge your phone or tablet while theyre playing, which is a handy bonus.
Similarly, if this is a speaker youre going to take to the pool or the beach, then waterproofing is important. You may never actually dunk the thing but waterproofing gives you peace of mind against everything from splashes to an accidental topple. In fact, if this is a feature you really crave, you can check out the top waterproof speakers in our dedicated guide.
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What Makes Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth Speakers Unique
Bang and Olufsen was founded in 1925 in Denmark on the foundations of Danish design and the idea that functionality doesnt have to come at the expense of beauty. All Bang and Olufsen materials are sourced in Europe and each speaker is made in Denmark, and you can find everything from natural high-grade aluminum to genuine Italian leather in B& O speakers. In fact, B& O pioneered the use of aluminum in the audio industry and has a state of the art anodization process that leaves their products with an unparalleled fit and finish. Also, in terms of the actual speaker technology, B& O has been a consistent innovator. Their first product, released in 1927, was a revolutionary radio, called the Eliminator, that relied on AC current as opposed to the massive, unreliable batteries of the day.
In addition to their stunning sound quality and dedication to innovation, the design aesthetic of B& O speakers sets them apart from the competition. The engineers at B& O are masters of turning premium materials into unique, pleasing designs, and many B& O speakers function as stand alone art pieces.
Good Soundstage On The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore
Good looks and build quality aside, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore promises good sound quality thanks to its dual-driver setup. Although the amplification specifications suggest that the Beosound Explore is loud, it doesn’t quite push volume as well as devices such as the UE Boom 3. That said, 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 as the primary source device for this review, but also tested multi-point 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 quick and seamless.
Starting with Supalonely by Benee, I had the volume at around 50 percent and the sound profile set to the Optimal’ level, which is the equivalent of a flat equaliser setting thanks to the speaker’s natural tuning. I found the sound a bit too warm at this setting, which made Benee’s light, youthful vocals sound a bit muddy and skewed. While this did help to make the sound punchy and bass-happy in this peppy track, it didn’t quite sound as clean as I would have liked.
The anodised aluminium frame of the Beosound Explore looks and feels great
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