BenQ treVolo portable Bluetooth speaker
High quality sound, battery powered portability, and a wacky design make this speaker an interesting one to consider
- Built-in battery for portability
- High-quality sound overall
- Interesting design
- Some tracks needed more treble
- BenQ Audio app didn't work for us
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
BenQ is not the first brand (or perhaps even the twentieth) that you’ll think of turning to for a high-quality Bluetooth speaker, but the company has introduced a portable speaker that’s different from the norm, and quite an interesting proposition. The treVolo makes use of electrostatic speaker drivers that can produce sound both in front and behind the listening position.
By including electrostatic drivers, which are based on a flat, lightweight membrane, rather than traditional cone-based tweeters, for the higher frequencies, the BenQ treVolo stands out from the crowd. It still has cone-based drivers for its woofers, and these are installed in the central core of the speaker while the electrostatic drivers are in side panels that fold out to give the speaker a larger footprint. The woofers face forwards and are 2.5in in diameter, and there are two bass radiators installed on either side to help bolster the low-end frequencies.
It’s an interesting speaker design overall, with the side-folding electrostatic drivers giving it a less-than-traditional function, as well as making the unit look neater when it’s not in use, and making it easier to transport. It feels solidly constructed, and the buttons are easy to press. There is the main power button at the top, which has a ring that illuminates in different colours to indicate what’s going on with the speaker, and there are extra buttons for the built-in speakerphone functionality and playing mode, in addition to volume.
Built-in equaliser settings can be accessed directly on the speaker itself when you press the mode button, and they make a subtle yet noticeable difference to the sound. We preferred the 'pure' setting, which is indicated by a green flashing light around the power button. The 'warm' and 'vivid' settings made the sound a little less vibrant to our ears. In any case, we took to using a digital signal processor (DSP) app on our Android phone to dial in some more treble.
Like many speakers these days, you can get quite a big sound from a small footprint, and the treVolo is no exception. Its overall output is loud enough to fill a room of a modest size, and it’s ideal for an apartment setting because it won’t emit too loud a boom.
As usual, speaker placement can play a part in the resulting sound quality, and you'll need to find a nice, central location for it in the room you plan on listening in. Since it's a portable speaker with a built-in battery that can give around 12 hours of life, it doesn't need to be near a power outlet all the time. Bookshelves, tables, and anywhere you have surface space can all be tried.
All the music that we tried on this speaker sounded good to our ears, rock and metal being particularly suited to the speaker due to the somewhat flat response. As mentioned, we turned to our own DSP to add some treble, but mostly to hip-hop and electronic dance tunes. It was no big deal, but we felt like the higher frequencies in some tracks needed a little help to overcome the woofer sounds in those instances.
Clarity was high, and the subtleties in the songs that we played were noticeable. From tiny cymbals to scratchy guitar strings, it could all be heard, and it’s a speaker that provided an enjoyable listening experience across the board. We tested with streaming music from Google Play Music, as well as locally stored 320Kbps MP3s and CD-quality FLAC files.
The problem straight off the bat for BenQ is that the treVolo costs $399, which puts in the same price league as products such as the Bose SoundLink, and only $70-100 below products such as the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A2 and the Bowers & Wilkins T7. These are all names that are highly regarded in the audio space, while BenQ isn’t. It’s an immediate disadvantage that the company hopes it can make up for with different styling and technology.Read more: Harman/Kardon Aura wireless speaker
Indeed, while it’s a Bluetooth speaker that definitely sounds good, we can’t help but think that the asking price is a little high for brand that hasn’t been a player in this area before and needs to entice potential users.
That said, there is plenty to like about it: its built-in lithium-ion battery makes it wonderfully portable, and its speakerphone and line-in features are also useful. Sound quality is mostly accurate and loud enough for a modest room, there is enough bass for everything from hip-hop to trance, and subtle tones are reproduced well. Some tracks might need a bit of extra treble though.
At the time of writing, we spotted it for $350 from a couple of online retailers, which is a price that definitely makes it more enticing.
BenQ supplies a phone app that's meant to be able to show you the battery life and EQ mode of the speaker, in addition to play music off your device and any music servers you have on your network. However, we couldn't get this app to communicate with our speaker in order to see its stats. The app played music through speaker without problems though.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
- The guts of Onkyo's SBT-A500 sound bar come in an external box to give the speaker an ultra-low profile
- Plex embraces Kodi as Plex Media Player becomes available to all
- 'Google Cast' is being phased out in favor of Chromecast for connected TVs and speakers
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCData Migration Lead - SAPNSW
- FTLife/400 Testers - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCSAP HR/ Payroll ConsultantQLD
- CCCloud Solution Architect - Financial Services - Continuous IntegrationNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- CCNetwork Systems Engineer l Application Support l Linux l Port MacquarieNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- FTSAP BW ConsultantACT
- TPSystem AdministratorQLD
- FTFull Stack Web Developer - UI/UX - .NET or JAVANSW
- FTJnr Security SOC Analyst (Tier 1) - Permanent - North Ryde BasedNSW
- FTSolutions Architect - Data Centre/ NetworkACT
- TPPMO SchedulerNSW
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- TPProject Services OpportunitiesSA
- FTInformation Security ManagerNSW
- CCApplication Programmer - Software - Geospatial and Industrial EnterpriseVIC
- FTRegional Sales Manager - Telco/ICT - Employer of choiceQLD
- FTProject Delivery Manager | PortfolioQLD
- CCBusiness Analyst Finance & Lending - Brisbane Based RoleVIC
- TPProjects Planning ManagerQLD
- CCTechnical Business Analyst-DevOpsNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- FTSystems AdministratorVIC