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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jun 11, 2021 at 09:37 am
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore Picture
6.4
Music
6.1
Videos/Movies
7.5
Podcasts
3.0
Voice Assistant
7.6
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a small and well-built portable Bluetooth speaker with a built-in carrying strap and removable carabiner hook to help with transporting it. It has a boomy sound profile that adds a little extra bass to the mix, though this can muddy vocals and may be overwhelming for some listeners. Fortunately, its companion app comes with customizable EQ presets, as well as a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature, so you can adjust its sound to your liking by moving around the feature's sound circle. Unfortunately, like most small speakers, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass, which can often be felt in bass-heavy music.

Our Verdict

6.4 Music

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore isn't bad for music. With its 'Optimal' preset enabled, it has a boomy sound profile that can muddy vocals and lead instruments, which may overwhelm some users. It also lacks a thumpy and rumbling bass, and its underemphasized treble range can make higher-pitched vocals and instruments sound a bit dark. Thankfully, you can use its 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets to adjust its sound to your liking. It also has great directivity, resulting in an open and spacious-sounding soundstage.

Pros
  • Great directivity.
  • 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.1 Videos/Movies

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is passable for watching videos and movies. With its 'Optimal' preset enabled, it has a boomy sound profile that can make dialogue in your movies and videos sound a little muddy, and it struggles to reproduce a thumpy and rumbling low-bass, which may disappoint fans of action-packed movies. That said, it has great directivity, resulting in a wide-sounding soundstage. It also has very low latency with iOS and Android devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary.

Pros
  • Low Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android.
  • 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.5 Podcasts

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is good for podcasts. This outstandingly portable speaker has a boomy sound profile that can sometimes muddy voices in your audio. However, It has great directivity, so you can hear your audio clearly from most angles, and its companion app features a 'Speech' preset, though we didn't test it. You can also pair it to up to two devices at once, which is helpful when you need to quickly switch between audio sources. That said, it doesn't get very loud, and there's some compression at max volume that can affect the clarity of your audio during louder listening sessions.

Pros
  • Great directivity.
  • 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets.
  • Incredibly portable.
Cons
  • Some compression artifacts at max volume.
3.0 Voice Assistant

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore doesn't support voice assistants.

7.6 Outdoors

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is good for outdoor use. This well-built speaker offers a spacious and wide-sounding soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design. It also has a boomy sound profile, though it lacks some low-bass. That said, you can tweak its sound to your liking using its 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets available on its companion app. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and there are some compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean at louder volumes.

Pros
  • Great directivity.
  • Incredibly portable.
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • 6.4 Music
  • 6.1 Videos/Movies
  • 7.5 Podcasts
  • 3.0 Voice Assistant
  • 7.6 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 23, 2022: Changed the test results for USB Audio from 'No' to 'Yes' in the 'Wired' box.
  2. Updated Jun 11, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jun 08, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a 360-degree design that's small enough to fit in your hand. It comes with a built-in carrying strap to help transport it, and its body is covered by a unique striped metal grille.

9.3
Design
Portability
Volume
50 in³ (813 cm³)
Weight
1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is outstandingly portable. It's small enough that you can carry it in one hand. It also has a built-in carrying strap and comes with a carabiner hook so you can clip it onto your bag and easily take it with you when you're on the move.

8.3
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
No
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has a great build quality. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. The manufacturer says that it doesn't have any formal certification for impact resistance, so you should avoid intentionally dropping the speaker. Its body is made of Type II anodized aluminum and sits on a plastic base, while its top panel and physical buttons are plastic. Also, its charging port is on the bottom rear of the speaker.

6.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore's controls are alright. You can double-press the play/pause button to skip to your next track or triple-press it to skip to the previous one. There are + and - buttons you can use to adjust the speaker's volume. You can also press and hold the Bluetooth button for two seconds to enter pairing mode and five seconds to enter 'True Wireless Stereo' paring mode to pair it to another Beosound Explore speaker and create a stereo pair.

Unfortunately, since the buttons aren't texturized, it can be difficult to tell which buttons you're pressing when you aren't looking at the speaker. There also isn't any audible feedback to let you know once you've reached its minimum and maximum volume levels.

Design
In The Box

  • Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore speaker
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Carabiner hook
  • Quick Start guide

Sound
5.6
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-1.20
Std. Err.
4.19 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
91.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
12.7 kHz

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has a middling frequency response accuracy. With its 'Optimal' preset enabled, it has a somewhat boomy sound profile that can slightly muddy vocals and lead instruments, which some users may find overwhelming. Like most small speakers, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy and rumbling low-bass, which may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music. Additionally, its underemphasized treble range can make higher-pitched vocals and instruments sound dark. Fortunately, its companion app features a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets that you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. For a portable Bang & Olufsen speaker that can produce a more extended low-bass, check out the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
8.8
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
2.22 dB
Stereo
Yes

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has an excellent soundstage performance. Thanks to its 360-degree design, it has great directivity, resulting in a wide and spacious-sounding soundstage.

6.5
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
84.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.24 dB

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore's dynamics are fair. It can't get very loud, and there's some compression present at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean when listening at louder volumes.

Active Features
7.3
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
9.0 hrs
Charge Time
3.9 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has a decent battery performance. It's advertised to last around 27 hours at normal listening levels. However, it lasted nine hours in our tests, which is still good. That said, battery life can vary depending on your usage habits and chosen settings, so your real-world experience may vary. This speaker also has a handy power-saving feature that shuts the speaker off following 15 minutes of inactivity, though you can disable this in its companion app.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
6.0
Active Features
App
App Name
Bang & Olufsen
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Presets
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
No
Multi-Room
No

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore's Bang & Olufsen app isn't bad. It's compatible with iOS and Android devices, and you can use the app to pair two compatible Bang & Olufsen speakers to create a stereo pair. While it doesn't feature a traditional graphic EQ, there are four EQ presets and a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature next to the 'Party' preset, which you can use to tweak the speaker's sound to your liking. You can move around the 'Beosonic' feature's sound circle to make the speaker sound brighter, warmer, more energetic, or more relaxed, and add more low-bass, high-bass, low-treble, and high-treble to your sound. Additionally, you can customize the 'Favorite', 'Speech', and 'Party' presets to your liking by moving around the 'Sound Level Circle'.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
Yes
Other Ports
No

Update 02/23/2022: The test results for USB Audio were changed from 'No' to 'Yes' after retesting the speaker.

You can use the speaker's USB-C charging port to wire devices like your laptop to the speaker, which is handy when you need to listen to your audio through a wired connection instead of through Bluetooth.

9.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
6 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
28 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore has outstanding Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair it to two devices at once, which can come in handy when you need to switch between audio sources quickly. It also has very low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching videos and movies. That said, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may differ.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore comes in three color variants, 'Anthracite', 'Green', and 'Grey Mist'. We tested the 'Anthracite' variant, though we expect all color variants to perform similarly. You can find the label for the model that we tested here.

If you come across any other variants, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

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.

Check out our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers under $100.

JBL Charge 5

You may prefer either the JBL Charge 5 or the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore depending on your listening habits. The JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low bass than the Bang & Olufsen. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Bang & Olufsen comes with presets and a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature to tweak its sound to your liking. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more immersive-sounding soundstage.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore and the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2 are similar speakers, though they have different strengths. The Gen 2 has a better-balanced sound profile and offers outstanding voice assistant support. However, the Explore has a wider-sounding soundstage and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which sounds more immersive. It also has a longer battery life, though this can depend on your usage habits, so your experience may vary.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a slightly better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound explore overall. The Ultimate Ears can produce a more extended low-bass and comes with a graphic EQ and presets to customize its sound. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Bang & Olufsen is a bit smaller, making it more portable. It can also be paired to two devices at once, which is handy when you quickly need to switch between audio sources.

Sonos Roam

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore and the Sonos Roam are similarly-performing portable Bluetooth speakers. That said, the Sonos offers a more neutral sound profile with Trueplay enabled and offers excellent voice assistant support. It has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and does a great job understanding your commands from far away and in noisier settings. That said, the Bang & Olufsen can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and has better directivity, so its soundstage is perceived as more open and immersive-sounding.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II or the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore. The Bose has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and can support voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. It also has a Party Mode feature, so you can pair it to multiple other compatible speakers when you want your audio to fill a large room. That said, the Bang & Olufsen is more portable and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It also features EQ presets and a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is a better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore overall. The Ultimate Ears' sound profile is more neutral and can produce a more extended low-bass. It comes with a graphic EQ and presets to tweak its sound. It can get significantly louder with less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. That said, the Bang & Olufsen is smaller and lighter, making it easier to carry around with you when you're on the go.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a slightly better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore, though they have different strengths. The Bose has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone and does an excellent job of understanding your commands from far and in noisier settings. That said, the Bang & Olufsen can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, resulting in a more immersive soundstage. It's more customizable, thanks to the presets and the 'Beosonic' sound customization feature available in its companion app.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a slightly better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore. The WONDERBOOM has a better-balanced sound profile, a wider sounding soundstage, and can get louder than the Beosound Explore, with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. That said, the Beosound Explore is more customizable thanks to its 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and EQ presets featured on its companion app. It also has lower latency with iOS and Android devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is better than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore overall. The Bose offers fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, and can easily understand your commands from far and in noisier settings. Its sound profile is better-balanced and can produce a more extended low-bass. However, the Bang & Olufsen can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono which is more immersive. It also has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a slightly better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore. The Anker has a somewhat better-balanced sound profile and lasts over 15 hours from a single charge, though this can vary depending on your usage, so your experience may differ. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. However, the Beosound Explore has a more open and natural-sounding soundstage. It's also better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this.

Bose Home Speaker 500

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore overall, though they have different strengths. The Bose offers fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and does an excellent job understanding your commands from far and in noisier settings. It can get louder and can produce a more extended low-bass. However, the Bang & Olufsen is better-built, battery-powered, and is smaller and lighter than the Bose, making it better suited to carry along with you when you're on the move.

JBL Flip 5

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a better speaker than the JBL Flip 5 overall. The Bang & Olufsen is better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It also has a wider-sounding soundstage and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. Also, it's more customizable thanks to its EQ presets and 'Beosonic' feature, which you can use to adjust the speaker's sound to your liking. However, The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and has a 'PartyBoost' feature you can use to pair it to other 'PartyBoost' compatible speakers when you want your audio to fill a large space.

Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a better speaker than the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6. The Beosound Explore is more portable and is better built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It's also more customizable, thanks to its EQ presets and its 'Beosonic' feature, so you can customize its sound to your liking. Additionally, it has an excellent soundstage and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, the Onyx Studio 6 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and can reproduce a deeper bass than the Beosound Explore.

Sony SRS-XB12

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB12 overall. The Bang & Olufsen has a better-balanced sound profile and is more customizable thanks to its 'Beosonic' sound customization feature and its EQ presets available on its companion app. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. That said, the Sony is smaller and lasts over 13 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage, and your experience may vary. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good.

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