Bang and Olufsen BeoLab 3 review

More than just reasssuringly expensive?

Early Verdict


  • +

    Stunning to look at. Great build quality. User-friendly design. Good voice-reproduction.


  • -

    Really expensive. Quite genre-dependent.

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Danish design guru Bang and Olufsen has long been accused of a business model similar to that of Stella Artois: sell yourself on the fact that you are expensive, rather than on how good the product is. Some things don't change, and a pair of BeoLab 3s are certainly pricey, but - and this is a butt of J-Lo proportions - they are very impressive.

As you'd expect from Bang and Olufsen, they look and feel fantastic, and their odd shape is due to a brace of interesting technologies. The cube design looks like it houses three drivers, but there's actually only one mid-range driver plus a pair of passive "radiators", which allow for more air movement and therefore improved bass from a smaller unit. The other point of interest is that the tweeter sits at the top of the unit, and fi res upwards into a silver element - dubbed Acoustic Lens Technology - which disperses the sound and makes placement of the speakers less crucial to the overall effect.

The good news is that the results are inspired. These speakers do what they claim, and provide great, all- encompassing audio wherever you sit - within reason, obviously: if you stick them together and put your head behind the sofa, they don't work so well! In most conventional set-ups, they sound full and lifelike, and while they work better on the twanging of Bob Dylan than they do on the reggae of Bob Marley, they put in a good all-round performance.

These aren't for everyone, but for the Bang and Olufsen obsessed, the level of sonic shimmer they add to a system makes them well worth the money - as long as you've got it to burn.

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