08/02/2022 (Carsten Rampacher)
The Beacon 335, the first pure Bluetooth speaker from traditional British brand Roberts, is available in stores for €199 each and is available in a choice of sky blue, jet black, pastel cream or burgundy. The small active audio converter offers a good but not above average 15 hours of playback time (at medium volume) on a single battery charge.
Chic retro style – here the view from the front
Side view with spots – this is where the two pieces of fabric meet, a seamless piece would be nicer
Charging takes a minimum (quite long) three hours, and there is no quick charge option (such as charging for 15 minutes for 3 hours of runtime). There is an automatic standby mode for this. After 10 minutes of no audio signal, the power LED on the top will flash, after another 5 minutes the speaker will turn off.
Controls above. Depending on the light, the speaker’s color appears more bluish or more turquoise
Roberts promises a “rich, multidirectional sound” on the website and wants to achieve this with special EQ curves for different purposes, a dual passive radiator, the driver arrangement (45mm full-range driver with neodymium driver) and a bass amplifier. In addition to Bluetooth, there is also 3.5 mm aux and the possibility of charging mobile devices on the Beacon 335 via USB. On top of the Beacon 335 are the standby button, Bluetooth pairing button and volume control. Using special button combinations, which we will explain later, you can also switch back and forth between a total of 5 EQ curves. The button for stereo pairing is also located below the speaker: two Beacon 335 can be paired here to significantly improve the sound experience. We also checked this constellation later in the audio test series. However, there is nothing to read on the website about any kind of protection against water and dust. So you have to be careful not to “leave out in the rain” in the truest sense of the word the well-made speaker with the trendy retro look.
Gold decorative stripes over the grille
Because that would be a shame for this fine device. The very special coloring of our test sample would not have been our personal choice, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the visual appearance effortlessly meets high demands. The elegantly integrated, gold-colored metal plate at the top, on which the already mentioned operating elements are placed, is first class. The nicely applied fabric grille in just the right color combination also underlines the quality standard. However, it is not made of one piece, there is a small break on the side. Sure, from a tool point of view it should be much cheaper to attach the two pieces of fabric to the grid separately, but seamless transitions would be better for the eye. There are disadvantages to the hard plastic elements above and below the grille, here we would have thought a corresponding rubber coating was the right way. On the other hand, we really like the gold accent strips between the LS grille and the plastic parts, as well as the classic, beautifully ornate Roberts lettering on the housing.
Finish bottom area
The bottom holds no surprises. The attachment of a rubber bumper ensures a secure stand, the button for stereo pairing is very simple and has a poor pressure point.
The connections (3.5 mm Aux, USB-A) are without a protective flap, so that dirt and dust can penetrate during outdoor use. The connection bar also reveals the next weak point: A special DC 5V power supply connection for the external power supply (power supply completely included in the scope of delivery) is anything but “state of the art”. With a BT speaker of this design, a USB-C terminal is considered “good form” these days.
One last word: Roberts also highlights the sustainable packaging on the website, which is 100 percent recyclable.
All in all, a well-rounded, attractive, retro-look Bluetooth speaker, mostly flawlessly crafted, which unfortunately has to do without IPX certification and no quick-charge feature – and no app to help with the DSP modes and stereo pairing option and reset could be helpful.
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Tags: bluetooth speakers • speakers • roberts