MEGATech Reviews: BenQ treVolo S Electrostatic Bluetooth Speaker
If you're looking for a unique Bluetooth speaker that delivers cleaner, crisper 3D sound without distortion, the treVolo S is on another level.
  • Impressive, balanced sound
  • Premium metal design
  • Convenient connectivity options
  • More expensive than most Bluetooth speakers
  • Relatively heavy, clunky design
9Overall Score

Just as you can be perfectly justified in spending more money on high quality speakers for your home entertainment system, why shouldn’t you invest in better sound quality for listening to music on the go too? If you’re of the mind that all Bluetooth speakers are fundamentally the same, you’ve probably never listened to the BenQ treVolo S Bluetooth electrostatic speaker. Now that I have, I can assure you that not all Bluetooth speakers are made alike.

A Premium Bluetooth Speaker

The BenQ treVolo S follows up on the original BenQ treVolo with fundamentally the same form factor, but in a smaller, more refined package. The Swiss cheese-looking front with two sets of nine holes has now been replaced with just two round speaker grills. I’d say this is a vast improvement.

I was immediately struck by the premium build quality of this speaker. The metal body definitely has some heft to it at right around 1 kg (just over 2 pounds), giving it a very planted, confident stance on your desk (or shelf or kitchen table or wherever else you might place it). Inside, the BenQ treVolo S boasts dual woofers and dual amplifiers to deliver a rich and full soundscape, complete with non-distorted 3D sound.

Running through the spec sheet, you’ll find dual 12-watt woofers, a frequency response of 60 Hz to 20 kHz, Bluetooth 4.2, up to 18 hours of playing time from the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and closed dimensions of 63.2 x 157.5 x 96.3 mm (2.49 x 6.20 x 3.79 inches).

Flipping Out for Electrostatic Technology

You don’t need to look very far to be bombarded by an assortment of “brick” shaped Bluetooth speakers. At first glance, that looks like what you get here, but the BenQ treVolo S actually has a pair of fold-out wings. These work in tandem with the company’s electrostatic technology to take you “to new heights of audio satisfaction as you enjoy natural sound of astonishing clarity.”

That’s a lot of superlatives and I don’t completely understand how electrostatic technology works. What I can tell you is that this technology is more commonly found in higher-end speaker systems. The net result is a sound with far less distortion (about one-tenth of conventional speakers) and “no cabinet resonance.” And, if nothing else, it’s a pretty neat party trick when you whip out your Bluetooth speaker and flip out its wings. It’s a conversation starter.

BenQ treVolo S Controls and Connections

This is a Bluetooth speaker, running on Bluetooth 4.2 (no aptX), so it’ll be compatible with almost anything. If your mobile device has NFC, as so many do these days, pairing with the treVolo S is as simple as turning it on and giving it a tap. Otherwise, you can go through the usual Bluetooth pairing process that you’ve surely done so many times before.

In addition to the Bluetooth connection, there’s also a standard 3.5mm audio jack on the back to connect to your audio source of choice. What’s nice is that the micro-USB port on the back that you use for charging can also work as an audio input. That makes this speaker a perfect travel companion for your laptop, for instance, as notebook speakers oftentimes leave a lot to be desired.

All of the controls are found at the top of device, arranged as two columns of three buttons each. It’s here that you’ll find the power button and Bluetooth pairing button, volume up and down, play/pause, and mode. The mode button is how you switch to 3D mode for more of an all-around sound. The NFC tag is located on top as well, toward the back. This is all perfectly functional if not remarkably inspired.

But How Does It Sound?

Remarkably good, actually.

One of the most common shortcomings that you’ll encounter with smaller speakers is that they tend to struggle on the low end and they start to distort pretty hard as soon as you try to turn up the volume. Neither is the case with the BenQ treVolo S. I don’t claim to be any sort of audiophile, but I can tell you that the sound here is rich and full. It sounds balanced without feeling flat, if that makes any sense.

It does feel like it skews more toward the low end (bass) than it does the high end, but that helps to avoid the sharp, shrill sound that you normally get out of small, “tinny” speakers This deeper sound is more pronounced in the “normal” mode, but if you switch over to the 3D mode, the whole sound profile shifts a little upward. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

Also, BenQ claims that distortion is minimal and this is true almost all the way up to maximum volume. You can hear it start to crack at around 85% or 90% volume. It’s already plenty loud before that level; while you shouldn’t expect it to compete with decidedly larger home theater speakers, the treVolo S holds its own given its smaller dimensions.

MEGATechie Electrostatic Stunner or MEGATechie Electrostatic Sucker?

Absolutely, you can hop on over to Amazon and find yourself some dirt cheap Bluetooth speakers to sling around at the beach this summer. But many of those dirt cheap speakers also have horribly harsh sound profiles that offer practically no bass at all. And when you try to eke some bass out of them, all you get is nasty distortion. I mean, they work, but not very well.

Speakers like the treVolo S are of a different class, just as you can be convinced to spend $250 on a Sonos One at home. Sound quality means a lot and it’s not just about being loud. It’s about offering that rich, full soundscape, free of distortion but still with plenty of oomph. And this offering from BenQ really does deliver on that promise. It’ll just cost you a few doubloons more than your generic, off-the-shelf Bluetooth speaker.

The BenQ treVolo S electrostatic Bluetooth speaker is available now for $199 on Amazon in your choice of black (as shown) or white. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can even pair two of them together for stereo sound in Duo Mode or “double the fun” with Party Mode.

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