BenQ treVolo

Score

Pros

  • Reasonably wide sound
  • Up to 12 hours battery life
  • Detailed sound

Cons

  • Rock and indie music sound awful
  • Bass is a little underwhelming

Key Features

  • Review Price: £230.00

What is the BenQ treVolo?

BenQ is the latest company to try its

hand at making portable, Bluetooth speakers – but its effort is

different. This design incorporates electrostatic technology, more

commonly seen in high-end speakers, and is known to produce very

detailed sound.

It’s this use of electrostatic speakers that also

goes some way to explain the treVolo’s unusual look. This is a

well-featured portable speaker, too: it uses the aptX audio standard,

and includes speakerphone support, USB audio input and can last up to 12

hours on a full charge. It doesn’t quite do enough to justify the

£230/€329 asking price, but it’s worth considering if you’d like more

detail from your portable speaker.

BenQ treVolo 7

BenQ treVolo – Design and Features

In

a world of anonymous blocks and cubes, the BenQ treVolo stands out. The

two electrostatic panels that fold outwards and the imposing metal

front with its grid of holes make it look fun and unusual.

Build

quality is excellent, too: the treVolo feels rock-solid. However, it

isn’t the most “portable” of portable speakers – it weighs 1.2kg, which

is more than some laptops and would be about the same as lugging around a

large dictionary.

There’s ample physical connections if you’d

rather not use Bluetooth, including micro-USB, a 3.5 line-in and even a

3.5mm line-out that lets you connect an external speaker and use the

treVolo as a Bluetooth bridge.

BenQ treVolo 19

All

the controls sit on the top, including a slightly confusing Mode

button. It actually switches between three different EQ settings: red

for “warm” with more bass; blue for “vivid” and a stronger mid-range;

and green for normal. We’re not sure BenQ should have bothered with this

since you’ll quickly forget it’s there, plus the benefits are subtle.

The

built-in battery claims up to 12 hours of use, although in our time

with the product we’d say eight to ten hours is more accurate. This is

still pretty good, though – it will certainly last a whole day before a

recharge is needed.

BenQ treVolo 5

BenQ treVolo – Sound Quality

With

portable Bluetooth speakers, there’s always some level of compromise.

In the treVolo’s case, it’s excellent detail against slightly restrained

bass.

This speaker really is exceptionally detailed for a

Bluetooth unit. Music that benefits from great detail, such as jazz and

piano, sounds fantastic. The treVolo can fill a room pretty well, too,

in part thanks to the fact that electrostatic speakers send sound both

forwards and backwards.

BenQ treVolo 15

But

this isn’t an especially versatile Bluetooth speaker. It struggles with

more popular styles of music, such as guitar-led indie and rock, and to

a lesser extent bass-heavy hip-hop and dance tracks.

The bass can sound a little clipped and restrained, which works well in some contexts but not for music with a big bass beat.

But

it’s indie and rock that really suffer. The treVolo seems incapable of

dealing with so many competing sounds. The result is a harsh, incoherent

mess – indie tracks often sound like they’ve been fired through a long

tube.

This seems to be down to the dynamic system designed to

prevent distortion. And while distortion certainly isn’t a problem,

which is a plus point, the price you pay is inconsistent sound. One

track can sound beautifully detailed, crisp and rich; the next can sound

incoherent and annoying.

This lack of versatility is a serious

problem, unless you plan to avoid the pop, indie and rock music that

expose the treVolo’s weakness.

BenQ treVolo 23

Should I buy the BenQ treVolo?

The

treVolo is worth considering if you want a portable speaker for less

popular styles of music. While the excellent detail it offers can’t be

matched by many at this price, the treVolo is neither cheap nor great

value.

And that’s the problem. This is an expensive Bluetooth

speaker, and its struggle with indie and rock music mean it doesn’t

offer the kind of versatility you’d expect at this price. It’s also

rather heavy – it’s transportable rather than truly portable to our

minds.

If you need something more portable, the Bose SoundLink Mini II makes more sense, while the Sony SRS-X5 offers a bigger sound for much less than the BenQ.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Verdict

An innovative Bluetooth speaker that offers detailed sound, but there are more versatile speakers available for the price.

Score

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