Looking for a powerful portable speaker? The Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is worth considering because it’s one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy. It’s a luxurious device for listening to music around your house or garden. If you have the money to spend on it, you’ll love what it can do.
Bang & Olufsen are known for their lavish audio devices. Anyone who wants their tech to look just as elegant as their home should take a look at what they have to offer. But it’s not all about looks, B&O devices boast both power and quality as well.
Not sure your budget will stretch this far? You could consider the best Bose Bluetooth speakers instead. They’re still very impressive but they’re a smidge cheaper.
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 review: price and features
The Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 sits in the middle of B&O’s range of portable speakers but it doesn’t come cheap. It’ll set you back around $500 in the US, £380 in the UK and AU$750 in Australia. Take a look at the widgets on this page to find out where you can buy one.
Keeping things simple, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 only has a few features worth mentioning here. Firstly, it’s packed with a 240W speaker system that will sound the same wherever you stand in relation to it because of its 360-degree design. If you wanted to make the audio even bigger, you can pair two of the devices together as well in stereo.
You’ll also be able to fine-tune the output using the manual equaliser in the smartphone app and you can even use the top panel to wirelessly charge your phone.
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 review: design and battery
Far from being a compact portable Bluetooth speaker, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is a big, powerful device to use around your home and garden. It measures 135 x 230 x 189 mm and weighs about 2.7kg so it’s not a speaker you’ll be chucking in your backpack to take to the park with you.
You can buy it in Black Anthracite (black and blue) or Grey Mist (grey and brown). I tested out the grey version.
Created in the classic B&O style, this luxurious box-shaped speaker is made from sturdy polymer with an aluminium speaker grille wrapped around its body that is backed by classy brown mesh, and there’s a matching leather strap to carry it around with.
The biggest flaw of the design is that there’s no official waterproof rating, so if you plan to use it outside you’ll need to watch out for dark rain clouds or keep it sheltered. That’s not ideal especially given the price of the thing.
Across the top, there's a panel that houses a few buttons to control your music including a pause/play button as well as volume controls. They’re indented to suit the shape of a finger so you’re less likely to mis-press them.
You’ll be able to connect to this speaker wirelessly through Bluetooth or through a wired 3.5mm connection if you want to hook up devices like a vinyl player.
To activate the Buetooth connectivity, there’s a dedicated button below the power button, you just need to hold it down until the tiny LED light switches from white to blue. After that, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 will connect automatically each time you turn it on.
In terms of battery life, you can expect to get about 8 hours of music at so-called ‘typical listening volumes’ - I’d imagine that’s about halfway up. It’s nowhere near the best portable speaker for battery life which is something to bear in mind if you plan to host people for a whole day or more. When you run out of juice, it’ll take about 3 hours to recharge it.
One significant benefit of this speaker is that the top panel doubles up as a Qi wireless charging pad to keep your devices topped up. So if you’re using the speaker outside and your phone starts to die, you can give it a boost and keep the music playing. If the speaker isn’t connected to its own power source, using the wireless charging feature will drain the speaker’s battery much faster, though.
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 review: performance
You get booming full-bodied sound from the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20. It’s made up of a 5.5-inch woofer with three 1.5-inch full-range drivers and two 4-inch passive bass radiators, all powered by dual 35W class-D amplifiers.
The result is punchy, balanced and crisp across every and any genre. Even podcasts sound great because voices come across very clearly. It’s seriously loud as well, the sound will very easily fill the room. Even when I whacked it up to full volume, there wasn’t any distortion at all and every track was just as clear as it was on 50% volume.
You can also adjust the audio in the Bang & Olufsen smartphone app to suit you better. Make it sound more bright, more energetic or warmer by dragging the slider around the circle. I personally found this more straightforward to use than the usual 2, 3 or 5 band equalisers but some people might feel differently.
There are also a number of preset audio settings to choose from including Optimal, Ambient, Party, Speech and Favourite - the latter you create yourself.
Through the app, which is available for both iOS and Android, you’ll also be able to turn off the wireless charging feature, find out the battery percentage of the speaker, adjust the volume and set up stereo pairing with another Beolit device.
Considering how expensive the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is, it would have been good for there to have been a few more features, like a microphone to use it as a speakerphone or even Wi-Fi connectivity to use it as a multiroom device.
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 review: verdict
If you care a lot about having a strong mix of style and good sound quality, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is sure to tick a lot of boxes.
It’s a modern and powerful speaker that you can use around your whole home and garden without needing to hook it up to a power source.
At this price, I would expect a bit more in the way of battery life, and perhaps a few more features added to the mix. But in saying that, what this speaker does well, it does extraordinarily well.
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 review: also consider
If you want plenty of bang for your buck, you could consider the Audio Pro A15 instead. Not only is it a little cheaper than this but it actually has a lot more in the way of features as well including Wi-Fi connectivity and multiroom functionality. The battery will last longer as well with 11 hours at 50% volume under its belt.
For those who want an all-singing, all-dancing portable speaker that is complete with smart features, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is the best you can buy. It’s stylish, it sounds great and you can control it by voice.