Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore review: an impressive outdoor speaker from the luxury brand
We review the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore, testing the outdoor speaker's battery life, design and audio quality
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A Bluetooth speaker with fantastic battery life, great audio, and a premium build, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is an outdoor speaker for tech-heads and the style-conscious alike.
Outstanding battery life
Good audio quality with solid customization
A more 'rugged' build won't be to everyone's taste
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We may all be victims of the changing weather, but we're also expecting more and more for our technology to be able to come along with us on adventures year-round. No one has ever questioned whether their phone should be drop-proof or if a smart doorbell should be able to withstand the weather, but, generally, speakers are still thought about as something that needs to stay in the home away from potential tumbles and spills.
That's certainly true of Bang & Olufsen's premium speaker range, which costs a pretty penny and often acts as decor as much as it does a piece of home tech. But the company clearly wants its range to cover all possibilities, and the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has been designed to appeal to those who want to take their audio outside.
We tested out the Beosound Explore to see how it performed in all the key areas and how it actually looked in a home environment. Read on to see what we thought, or head on over to our best outdoor speakers guide for more.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore: key info
- Battery life: up to 27 hours
- Colors: Black Anthracite (dark grey), Grey Mist (light grey), Chestnut (brown), Navy, Green
- Waterproof rating: IP67, can be submerged in 1m water for up to 30 mins
- Dimensions: H12.4 x W8.1 x D8.1cm
- Weight: 6.3kg
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore: design
Built with a scratch-resistant anodized aluminum casing, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore looks and feels incredibly sturdy. Perhaps unlike B&O's Beoplay A1 portable speaker, we would be confident taking this to the beach. The vertical rib design is supposed to add to this ruggedness by protecting against bumps and scrapes, and the effect is quite attractive.
With room for the Bang & Olufsen logo at the top of the cylinder, the shape and build mean the speaker can offer 360-degree sound. On top, you will find the controls - power, Bluetooth, play/pause, and volume - and the fabric carry strap is attached to the back with an optional metal clip included in the box.
A portable speaker designed to be dropped and abused is a slightly odd proposition from a premium brand like B&W. Still, the Beosound Explore combines a luxury feel with the utility needed for an outdoor speaker.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore: set-up
Our Beosound Explore worked straight out of the box, but there's a chance that you will need to charge the speaker before using it. The package contains a Quick Start Guide, charging cable, metal clip, and the Explore. To turn it on, you can press the power button on top, and a white light should appear.
If you want to access advanced controls like EQ, you will want to add the speaker to the B&O app. Download it to your phone, create an account and add the Explore. Then you will be able to see information like remaining battery life, and you can fine-tune the audio to your preference. Presets, including ones to boost speech or tune things for a party, are available.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore: features & performance
The Beosound Explore sounds excellent, with the Optimal setting in the app producing deep, punchy bass on music and clear audio on podcasts. We had no problem connecting the speaker to our phone and laptop via Bluetooth and could leave the room and go to the kitchen without the sound cutting out.
The battery life for the Explore is pretty astonishing, offering 27 hours (at typical volumes) of wireless playback that would probably see you through an entire trip away before you needed to recharge. And the time you need to do that is also impressive - 2 hours to a full charge.
For comparison's sake, the Sonos Roam offers 10 hours of playback, and the JBL XTreme 2 tops this with 15 hours. In-house, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 (2nd Gen) offers between 18-24 hours. So whatever way you look at it, the Beoplay Explore is top-notch for portable audio.
The Explore sadly doesn't support multi-room audio if you have more than one B&O speaker. What it does have, however, is stereo pairing, so you can easily use the two speakers as part of an outdoor surround sound system.
Would we recommend the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore?
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a fantastic entry for the high-end speaker brand, and we're incredibly impressed with how well the chic, luxury feel of the company's other speakers has been translated into something we could safely use outside in the rain or beside the sink without worry. It's not quite as beautiful as the Beoplay A1 (2nd Gen), and there's no Alexa smart speaker on board here, but the audio strength and quality materials are still front and center.
About this review
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore, like all products featured on this site, was tested in the writer's own home to ensure that the experience was as close to that of our readers as possible. Hands-on experience with these products means that our recommendations are as honest as possible. The Beosound Explore was kindly sent to us for review purposes. Head to our guide for more about our reviews.
Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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