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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore review

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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is the latest in the company’s long tradition. Imagine B&O speakers in futuristic satellite-shaped shapes that you can roll to increase volume. You might also imagine premium hi-fi systems doubled as art installations. Dark, foreboding monolithic 8200-watt speakers with 18 drivers. TVs that unfold like a butterfly displaying its wings. These are all genuine B&O products.

B&O, however, is a player at the smaller and more portable end of the spectrum. This makes our best Bluetooth speaker guide more strikingly gorgeous and otherworldly with each release. The Beosound Explore is no different.

Bang & Olufsen means to avoid the cheapest product on the market. This is what you should know now. The Danish audio specialist is known for its high-end, luxurious, and aspirational kits that bring with them a sense of pride. The Beosound Explore is the less expensive of B&O’s two best-selling portable speakers. (The Beosound 2nd Generation costs $250/PS199 and the Explore is $199/PS169). It is also more outdoors friendly, with Bluetooth 5.2 (versus Bluetooth5.1) and a slightly more durable shell with scratch resistance.

It has the same strap as the A1 2nd Gen. But it also comes with a carabiner so you can attach it to things. The incredibly chic design is hard to beat. You can grab this bag from your picnic bag and enjoy the laughter of your friends.

Bang & Olufsen App Support is also available. This allows you to access various EQ presets, as well as link your Spotify account, iTunes library, Deezer and DLNA streaming from your local servers. You can also connect your TuneIn radio stations to your Spotify account. It doesn’t support multi-room audio grouping. However, you can pair up to two devices simultaneously to share DJ duties. You could also pair them in stereo to enhance the sound.

This is just a minor issue. Despite being a portable speaker, there’s plenty of detail and space for its size. Its barrel-shaped dimensions might have made us worry about the volume, but it is not. The bass is our only complaint. Although the app can augment the bass, it doesn’t provide the same level of boom and grip as the beosound A1 2nd generation, which is why we always reach for the slightly more expensive speaker.

It’s waterproof and dustproof, so attach it to a branch while camping. It’s important to remember it when you leave. (Image credit TechRadar).

B&O Beosound Review: Price and Release Date

The Beosound Explore was announced in May 2021. It supports Bluetooth 5.2 and the USB-C charging port. You can also pair it with any source device quickly.

B&O products are rarely discounted, but the Beosound Explore, which is the portable speaker that B&O makes, is actually less expensive than the A1 2nd Generation ($250 / PS199), and the Explore, which we review here.

The Explore, the younger of the two (the A1 2nd Generation launched May 2020), has removed Alexa support. We don’t mind this – it is portable territory and support was ineffective in the A1 2nd Gen.

The Explore boasts a longer battery-life (27 hours instead of 18), Bluetooth 5.2 (rather Bluetooth 5.1), and a tough build with a scratch-resistant, hard anodized shell that is surrounded by solid rings. Things are looking great…

The JBL Char 5 is an excellent proposition. It will charge your phone while streaming music, and it is also cheaper at $179 / PS159 / AU$229.

The textured rubberized top-plate makes it easy to use and contrasts with the metallic grilles and bodywork. (Image credit TechRadar).

B&O Beosound Explore Review: Design and Features

  • Simple, elegant design with a built-in strap.
  • Dual driver configuration
  • Playtime up to 27 hours – This is an excellent

Take a look at the Flip 6 and then take a look at this stunning creature. Visually, there is no comparison. The B&O product has all the brutalist angles and cool aluminium. It’s also one of the best-branded metal carabiners that we have ever seen (and I am an aerialist so I am familiar with carabiners).

The JBL Charge 5 has no speakerphone/power bank features, and it is a bit more expensive. You have to choose the aesthetics over the functionality.

The cool casework features two 1.8-inch full-range drivers, powered by two Class D amplifiers at 30-watt each. However, due to the inclusion of a Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.2 chipset it’s disappointing to see that wireless codec support is limited only to plain old SBC. This means there’s no aptX streaming support or AptX low latency.

Although the Beosound Explore takes up less space than a coke or travel coffee mug, it is quite heavy. The Beosound Explore weighs 637g, including the carabiner. If there is a carabiner, we will always attach it. However, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom2, which is similar in size, only weighs 420g. The metal bodywork and the meaty battery, which offers a class-leading 27 hour run time, make a big difference.

The top plate and base are covered with rubberized polymer, which contrasts wonderfully with the cool metallic casework. The USB-C port is for charging. There are no other ports.

B&O also guarantees that the Explore is IP67-rated for dust and water ingress. This means that it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in freshwater for up to one meter and still live to tell the story.

It’s a joy to use the app, which offers EQ customization and allows you to consolidate your streaming subscriptions into one location. However, each app can still be used to manage your music. The radio tab is our favorite, as it gives you easy access to Linn Jazz, BBC Radio 4 or other stations. It’s something that you might not expect at this level.

  • Design and features score 4/5

B&O Beosound Explore Review: Sound quality

  • A rich, detailed sound due to its dimensions
  • Does not distort even in higher volumes
  • Bass is a slightly lean

We start our listening with Les Gordon’s Flirting with June and are surprised by the large soundstage, which is almost the same size as a tall latte. The Explore’s sound is truly omnidirectional, as it pings at us from different angles.

Lady Gaga’s million Reasons keys feel three-dimensional. The backing vocals sound impactful through the midrange. Gaga’s skilled vocal delivery is centrally delivered with great detail and space, something that is rarely heard at this level.

John Frusciante’s Obmission guitars are kept in check by the dual-verses joining in a cohesive mixture. It is here that we notice a slight lapse in the lower registers. While the tambourine is a shining example, so are a harmonica, a female vocalist and a saddened female singer, it is here that we need to see more of the walking bass guitar, which underpins everything.

We switched to Backroad Gee’s Live in the Flesh to highlight what we mean. This track drops right into the bass registers. However, we find that the performance is a bit weak and can’t sink low enough to make an impactful listening experience. A speaker with such small dimensions will always struggle to produce a lot of bass clout. However, the UltimateEars Wonderboom2 does a better job, especially when we go outside, where the UE product allows us to activate an ‘outdoor boost button’ which cuts through the ambient park sounds.

We don’t think the bass is distorted or flabby. However, we want more. If you listen to opera or acoustic music, this sound profile may be a better fit. The audio quality is excellent through the mids, treble and upper reaches. The Beosound Explore is the best choice if you are all about the bass. The B&O A1 is a great option for those who want deeper bass, but still have the same soundstage detail.

B&O Beosound Explore Review: Value

  • Incrediblely competitive pricing
  • An alternative to larger brands

Your priorities will determine whether the B&O Beeosound Explore is of great value to your needs.

Are you looking for the best looking item for your money? The Explore is a very expensive item. While the A1 2nd Generation looks cute, almost like a piece de viennoiserie, this gear is serious and audiophile-grade.

Do you want the longest-lasting speaker? Bingo lasts 27 hours, which is quite impressive for something this small. The JBL Flip 6 only offers 12 hours.

Do you prefer a louder bass and smaller proportions? The Tribit Stormbox Micro Micro 2 costs just $60 / PS60 (around AU$86), so you can buy two to save money and improve the sonic performance through low end – but no app support for EQ alterations.

The Stormbox Blast is even cheaper at $199 (around P163, U$290). So if you are looking for one of the best party speakers, this might be the right place.

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