While our smartphones work great as portable music players, their sound output is not loud or full enough to have a true music experience. That is why portable Bluetooth speakers are getting so popular. When paired with the smartphones, these portable speakers deliver a louder sound output that can fill up the room or create party environment while outdoors.
Recently, I got the opportunity to try out a very unique portable speaker. This is BenQ treVolo S Portable Electrostatic Bluetooth Speaker. Instead of conventional dome/cone shaped tweeters, treVolo S uses Electrostatic technology. Electrostatic technology is used in the bigger, high-end speaker systems. BenQ treVolo S is world’s first portable Bluetooth speaker that uses the Electrostatic diaphragm technology.
The Electrostatic Advantage:
Unlike conventional speakers, electrostatic speakers are thin and flat. They usually consist of a sheet of plastic which is coated with some electrically conductive substance. This sheet is placed between two conductive grids that are separated by an air gap on either side. The audio source gets converted to electrical signals which charge up the grids. These grids then vibrate the thin membrane to produce sound.
Electrostatic diaphragm technology delivers purer and more natural sounds with less distortion. While the Conventional speakers have a distortion rate of 10%, the electrostatic speakers have a distortion rate of less than 1%. However, they are challenged while producing very loud sound and bass frequencies.
BenQ treVolo S:
treVolo S is world’s smallest Electrostatic speaker. It is equipped with dual vibrating diaphragm to deliver the clear sounds using Electrostatic technology. To help with the loudness and bass, it also has dual 12W woofers and dual amplifiers. It can emit sound bi-directionally and has a 3D mode that delivers richer, fuller sound experience. This portable Bluetooth speaker claims to deliver battery life of 18 hours. In my experience, the battery lasted a whole week of 2,3 hours of listening per day at low to mid volume. It comes with a 10W power adapter. But as it is a 2-pin flat US plug, I had to charge the speaker using my smartphone charger. That worked well too. For connecting with media source, the speaker uses Bluetooth 4.2 protocol and has NFC for quick pairing.
BenQ treVolo S has a very unique design. When the Electrostatic panels are folded, it looks like a simple flat box. But open the panel and they fan out like wings, giving the device a satellite kind of appearance. On the front we have two round speaker grilles for woofers. The control buttons are on the top. There are six buttons for Power, Bluetooth, Volume +, Volume -, Mode, and Pause/Play. On the rear, we have a micro USB port and 3.5-millimeter input jack. treVolo S measures 96.3×157.5×63.2 mm (Closed) and weighs about 1kg. So, although portable, it is not quite small or lightweight enough to be carried in a pocket or a small purse. But on the whole, it looks very impressive and feels sturdy, despite its plastic body and folding panels.
Electrostatic speakers are considered great for their crisp and clear sound with less distortion, even in very low volume. This is where Electrostatic speakers win over traditional speakers. Thanks to the Electrostatic technology, the treVolo S manages to deliver finer, more detailed sound even at any volume. Besides listening to music, I tested this speaker by pairing with my Fire TV Stick. Even at low volumes, the dialogues were delivered clearly. I also tried with my JBL Blutooth speaker and easily noticed the difference. The dialogues at low volumes sounded like mumbling on JBL, but were clear and legible on treVolo S.
treVolo S has two sound modes. These are the Natural Sound and the Spacious Sound (non-distorted 3D mode). If you are used to listening to loud, bass heavy music, the Natural Sound mode might sound flat and unimpressive to you. That is, until you notice the purity and accuracy of the sound. As for the Spacious Mode (3D), it cannot fail to impress! Without altering the original soundwaves, treVolo S’s proprietary non-distorted 3D mode increases the dimensions of the listening space and delivers richer, fuller sounds to deliver more immersive feel and better sound experience. I think, the Natural Mode is suitable for low volume playing while the 3D Mode is excellent for louder music playback and better Bass performance.
It works great in delivering accurate Timbre and sound image and is great for listening to vocals, acoustic guitar or classical sound tracks. It works well in delivering treble and Mid sounds and only lags a little in delivering Bass. However, the 3D mode helps a great deal in enhancing even the Bass output.
Over all, treVolo S is an excellent and high-quality portable, Bluetooth speaker. It looks great and, on the whole, gives a very premium feel and an exceptional battery life on single charge. It is ideal for those who value clarity and purity of sound over mere loudness.
Availability and Price:
BenQ treVolo S Bluetooth speaker is available in Black and White colour options. It can be purchased on Amazon with a List Price of $199.00.
BenQ treVolo S Bluetooth Speaker Specifications:
- Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 20 kHz
- Connections: Duo mode For 2 treVolo S pairing (Stereo / Party mode)
- NFC: Yes (for auto turned on and BT pairing)
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2
- Input: Types 3.5 mm stereo input ; USB audio
- Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, upto 18 hours playing time (Dependence on user scenario)
- Physical Keys: Power, BT pairing, Volume +, Volume -, 3D (mode), play/pause
- LED Indicator: Under the Power key : Red LED x1; Green x1 BT Pairing Key : Blue LED x1
- Accessories: USB Charger, Quick start guide, Warranty card
- IO Port: Micro USB x1 ; Line-in x1
- Input Power Rating: DC 5V 2A
- Temperature range for use: 0~40º C
- Dimension: 96.3×157.5×63.2 mm (Closed)
- Weight: About 1kg
- Colour: White, Black
- Price: $199.00
- Availability: Amazon.com