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BenQ treVolo Review

Verdict

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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 Specifications

  • 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.

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