Retro speakers with a 1950s look: the Beacon 325 put to the test

A rich sound with two passive bass radiators, a runtime of 12 hours and a retro design that catches the eye: the British audio specialists at Roberts promise a lot. But can the Beacon 325 keep it? We listened to the Bluetooth speaker in various sized rooms, loud and quiet, with hard rock music as well as instrumental singer-songwriter stuff.

Design: Speakers with a 1950s look

Sun yellow, old pink, midnight blue, petrol and anthracite: these are the five colors that Roberts offers the Beacon 325 in. The yellow version probably stands out the most. It is not just the colors that the manufacturer paints on a modern piece of technology through a journey into the past. The curves of the housing, the fabric in which the speaker is wrapped and the shiny silver elements exude 1950s charm. But not everything fits into this picture. The controls on the top edge don’t quite match the retro look. It could have been a bit more mechanical here.

Roberts Beacon 325: Bluetooth speakers with a 1950s look put to the test

Sound: Restrained British

Apart from the appearance, it is above all the sound that determines whether you put such a speaker on the shelf. As for the highs and mids, there is nothing to complain about. However, we had expected a little more boom from the two bass radiators. So the sound fits the design, more precisely the time it comes from and is distinctly British. Not everyone will like it, but it’s a matter of taste.

Roberts Beacon 325: Bluetooth speakers with a 1950s look put to the test
Roberts Beacon 325: Bluetooth speakers with a 1950s look put to the test

Anyone who needs a cooking soundtrack in the kitchen and wants musical accompaniment when cutting and frying will like the speaker. As it does not exaggerate the bass, it is also particularly suitable for podcasts and audiobooks. And even in the garage while working on the car, the Beacon 325 delivers better sound than many of the old cassette radios you can still find in such spaces today.

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It is only suitable to a limited extent for enjoying music in a large room, such as the living room. It lacks punch and tends to overdrive if the volume is too high. It also doesn’t deliver 360-degree sound, which you might expect given its shape. On the other hand, the speaker scores points at outdoor picnics, where you don’t need a roaring amplifier. Also because of its battery life.

Battery: More than expected

Roberts promises a battery life of 12 hours. In the test, however, we clearly exceeded this number. After 18 hours our mixtape was still playing. The speaker only ran out of steam after almost 20 hours. However, it must be said that on average we listened to our records at just under half volume in the test.

Roberts Beacon 325: Bluetooth speakers with a 1950s look put to the test
Roberts Beacon 325: Bluetooth speakers with a 1950s look put to the test

The charging, on the other hand, could be a little more uneven. The battery only has a capacity of 2,500 mAh, which is about half of an average mobile phone. Almost four hours at the socket for a charge is a bit too much. Furthermore, the speaker can only be charged with the supplied charger, as the manufacturer does not have a USB port. So if you want to take the Beacon 325 on holiday, pack the retro box as well as your mobile phone charger.

Retro speakers in the test: the conclusion

Robert's Beacon 325 Review

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker for the kitchen or garage that won’t be used for a party but looks great on the shelf, you’ll find it in the Roberts Beacon 325. At around 150 to 170 euros, depending on the offer, the Bluetooth – the box is not a bargain, and to be honest we expected a slightly better sound for the price. This is not bad and can convince in smaller spaces. However, the JBL Charge 5 (currently around 160 euros) or the Sony SRS-XB43 (also around 160 euros) provide speakers of a similar size for the same price, which deliver a significantly better sound. If you also like a retro design, you might also like the Klipsch Heritage Groove.

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The look is as daring as the sound is reserved. It should be, which is why most potential buyers choose the speaker. However, we must also emphasize the battery life and the simple and intuitive operation.

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