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B&O Beosound Explore Review: Scores high on immersive omnidirectional sound, portability, and water resistance

B&O Beosound Explore Review: Scores high on immersive omnidirectional sound, portability, and water resistance

The IP67 certification makes it ideal to be carried for hikes, to the beach or even pool parties. Additional of the aluminium carabiner means you can easily hang the speaker to your backpack using the integrated strap

Controls mounted on the top are convenient and the company claims it can be used with gloves in cold conditions too. Controls mounted on the top are convenient and the company claims it can be used with gloves in cold conditions too.

Price: Rs 20,000
Colour: Black, Green, Grey
In the box: B&O Explore speaker, charging cable, carabiner

Rugged portable speakers are plenty, but you might run of choices if looking for a premium offering. Bang & Olufsen's Beosound Explore fills this gap perfectly. Beosound Explore is a circular compact speaker that fits in the palm but at the same time is heavy to hold at 630 grams. Most of this weight is coming from the hard aluminium body, which is designed to withstand dust and water.

The IP67 certification makes it ideal to be carried for hikes, to the beach or even pool parties (and with pandemic confining me to my home -- rain parties on my terrace). Additional of the aluminium carabiner means you can easily hang the speaker to your backpack using the integrated strap, instead of fitting it inside. B&O Beosound Explore came for review just at the right time -- it has been raining in Delhi for the past two weeks. And to test the company claims, I did place it next to the plant pots in heavy rain where nothing deterred the speaker's spirit. It continued to play blasting music even when pouring heavily. Although the company claims it to be completely scratch resistant but in my experience was quite prone to it.

Inside the rugged body is the dual 1.8-inch driver that gives omnidirectional sound through the cuts line in the outside grills. Controls mounted on the top are convenient and the company claims it can be used with gloves in cold conditions too.

Hard rubberised top housing controls -- a dedicated key to power on/off and bluetooth pairing along with volume up and down and a play/pause button. Double pressing play/pause button jumps to next track and triple press to previous. While all is great about the built quality if dropped in a puddle, cleaning it can be challenging.

Pairing the speaker was a breeze too. Just put it in pairing mode, connect with the smartphone and it plays the music. But at the default settings, it was mostly clean vocals and average bass and treble -- very unlike the B&O experience. Don't judge this speaker by its first impression right out of the box for it sounded totally flat. B&O Explore is good when it plays music, but the app brings a new facet altogether.

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Connect it to the B&O app, make some minor adjustments to your liking and you will hear the subtle and significant changes. The B&O has a range of listening modes (presets) to choose from. But what's more fascinating is the option to create your sound adjustment. Using the virtual circular disk, I was able to choose from brighter, warmer, more energetic, or more relaxed settings or seamlessly customise it a bit more by adding low-bass, high-bass, low-treble, and high-treble. I tweaked the treble and bass as per my liking for different genres of music I often listen to and even saved those profiles to the app. The app is compatible with both the iOS and Android platforms. While it's good for listening to music, the low latency makes it a perfect outdoor entertainment system too -- streaming shows and movies on your smartphone with an immersive sound.

Unlike most modern-day speakers with voice assistant support, B&O Explore doesn't belong to that world. This also means no mics and no fear of Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri eavesdropping on you. Also, it does not have an audio out, just in case you were wondering.

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The outdoor wireless sound experience on the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is complete with the long battery backup. Unlike the company's claim of 27 hours of listening, it lasted me close to 15 hours. The company's tests are usually based on standard testing but my usage varied extensively - thumping bass and full volume at used on the terrace and in the shower, at 60% volume with speech mode when listening to audio books, and 70% volume and custom profile when listening to my old Bollywood melodies. Just like most speakers in the market, to save battery, the speaker powers off after 15 minutes of inactivity. However, this feature can be disabled from the app. While the speaker does not announce the batter levels, the same can be viewed from the compatible app.

The Beosound Explore lives up to B&O's legacy - great looks with uncompromised sound.

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