Roberts Beacon 330 review

Style over substance, but oh, that style

bluetooth speaker
(Image: © TechRadar)

TechRadar Verdict

The Roberts Beacon 330 looks delightfully attractive, capturing the company's retro styling perfectly. However, it lacks some oomph in the audio performance department, and that may bother some users.


  • +

    Looks fantastic

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    AUX-in port is convenient


  • -

    No microphone

  • -

    Weak audio performance

  • -

    Not exactly durable

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Two-minute review

It's the looks that will grab your attention most when it comes to the Roberts Beacon 330 Bluetooth speaker. It's so charming, and so oddly aspirational, it'll make you want to ensure the rest of your living space looks so stylish. 

Underneath the delightful exterior, the Roberts Beacon 330 is incredibly simple to use and reasonably competent as a speaker. It's not the best sounding of speakers even at its price point of £199.99, but it's good enough that only audiophiles will be disappointed. Style over substance it may be, but the Roberts Beacon 330 still scratches the right itch. 

It weighs about 0.7kg and is compact enough to easily slot onto a shelving unit or a nearby kitchen top without you having to worry about it being knocked off. That's particularly convenient as there's no water resistance rating here and we're not convinced the Roberts Beacon 330 would like to be handled too roughly. Still, as a design piece, we wouldn't really expect it to.

Issues arise then where the Roberts Beacon 330 lacks some useful key features. That includes a microphone, which means there's no way of receiving calls through the speaker and – related to that – there's no voice assistant support either. Not all speakers in this price range come with such features but we'd have liked to have seen it here. There's no app support either, although the Roberts Beacon 330 does offer some equalizer presets through the button-based interface on the top of the speaker. It also offers a 3.5mm AUX input, which could be very useful if you want to quickly hook it up to your device with a cable.

portable speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design-wise, we adore it, even if it does lack some useful extras. Gorgeous and appealing, it'll look great wherever you place it around the home – just don't expect to take it camping or hiking with you.

At the top of the speaker are four large and clear-looking buttons, which control the power, Bluetooth pairing, and volume. Unfortunately, there's no way of skipping tracks here, but the volume buttons do double up as controls to change between equalizer settings. The buttons are big and clear enough to be attractive yet practical too - something not all speakers manage to combine so well.

Where the Roberts Beacon 330 suffers is in its audio quality. It's fine but it lacks energy and bounce. No matter what equalizer setting you change to, the bass is a little weak and not even the loudest of tracks sounds powerful here. The chorus of Kasabian's Ill Ray (The King) lacks that inspiring oomph, with Lorde's Green Light also sounding a little flat. 

When it comes to classical music, the Roberts Beacon 330 performs better, sounding suitably balanced in terms of mids and lows, but it certainly isn't the kind of speaker that's aimed at a party environment. 

Still, looking so good and feeling like a quality daily speaker ensures that the Roberts Beacon 330 will still be appealing to many. 

Voice assistant support would have cemented it as our new favorite addition to the smart kitchen, but it's still an attractive proposition, taking up very little space while offering a decent amount. 

A 15-hour battery life might not be the greatest of lifespans but the Roberts Beacon 330 recharges quickly and the accompanying AC adaptor has you good and ready for placing it permanently somewhere within your living space. 

wireless speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Roberts Beacon 330 price and release date

  • Available now
  • Priced at £199.99

The Roberts Beacon 330 has just launched meaning discounts aren't easy to come by (although upcoming Black Friday deals may change that). It's priced at £199.99, which is fairly expensive for a portable speaker of this size – but your paying for the Roberts branding. It's a company that has been granted two Royal Warrants as manufacturers and suppliers of radio receivers to the Queen and the Prince of Wales, so you're getting some seriously regal heritage for your money.

There's a choice of four color schemes to choose from with a standard Carbon Black or Pastel Cream scheme, along with Duck Egg or Berry Red. 

portable speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)


  • Fabric grille
  • Retro styling

The Roberts Beacon 330 has that look of a speaker that should fit into the living room or kitchen of your dreams. Well, sort of. It's charmingly designed in a way that looks like something you'd see in the background of The Great British Bake Off or some other TV show that likes to have a homely charm to it. It captures the retro-inspired design that one expects from the Roberts name pretty well. 

It's also reasonably small with a firm base that means you can place it on a shelf or other unit and not worry about it slipping. It weighs about 0.7kg, which is just the right kind of weight for this home-focused device, while still being simple enough to move between rooms with no hassle.


(Image credit: TechRadar)

Unlike other speakers in this price point, it's not rugged. There's no water resistance rating, and we don't really rate its chances in a fall but again – this is clearly a speaker aimed at remaining at home rather than being taken on your travels. 

Control-wise, using the Roberts Beacon 330 is fairly simple stuff. On the top of the speaker is four large and clear-looking buttons. They're slightly recessed so you won't be able to identify them as clearly in the dark but they're big enough that you should be fine with muscle memory. The top left is the power button with the Bluetooth pairing button to the right, then volume buttons which also double as the way in which you can switch between equalizer modes. It's simple yet works well. The only thing we'd have liked to have seen here is the addition of some skip track buttons. 

Near the bottom of the device are some fairly hidden away ports. They include the AC adaptor socket, USB and an AUX-in port so the basics are all covered here. 

bluetooth speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audio performance

  • Weak bass
  • Doesn't really fill the room

The Roberts Beacon 330 comes with dual bass radiators that should bring with it "rich, powerful and clear sound" according to Roberts. In reality, it's certainly clear but we're not convinced by the power. The volume requires turning up more so than with other speakers in this price range and, even then, the energy isn't quite as potent.

That's not to say the Roberts Beacon 330 is inferior. It sounds just fine, and has a penchant for tackling mids and trebles smoothly and crisply, but it lacks some strong bass. That makes the Roberts Beacon 330 feel more like the kind of speaker to work as background music than for a party style atmosphere, with relaxing music like John Legend's All Of Me and heavily instrumental pieces sounding delightful – but the bounciness of Childish Gambino's Feels like Summer feels a little weaker than on other setups. 

Still, as you crank up the volume, the crispness and clarity never seems to fade, so the Roberts Beacon 330 is certainly consistent here. It might not be the speaker for an impromptu mini gathering but for listening to all your favourites and dancing away while you cook dinner, the Roberts Beacon 330 has you suitably covered. 

roberts audio

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life and connectivity

  • Up to 15 hours of battery life promised
  • Dual Beacon pairing option
  • AUX-in functionality

15 hours of battery life isn't the longest we've seen in a speaker in this price range, but the Roberts Beacon 330 does at least achieve that reasonably well. As always, the length may dip if you whack it up to high volumes and we'd expect pairing it up in Stereo mode with another Beacon may impact it further, but for the most part, 15 hours is to be expected. 

As mentioned, you can link two Roberts Beacon 330 speakers together for a wireless stereo setup although we weren't able to test this for ourselves. 

Besides Bluetooth connectivity, you can also plug in non-Bluetooth compatible devices via the AUX input. It's a nice option to have even if you might not need it often these days. It's all predictably dependable here, although we do wish that the Roberts Beacon 330 could have stretched to include some smart speaker capabilities with an onboard voice assistant. It would have sweetened the deal for a speaker that's begging to be part of your living situation. 

Should I buy the Roberts Beacon 330?

portable speaker

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

You want good looks for your living room
The Roberts Beacon 330 looks delightful, and it's sure to liven up your living room or your kitchen. It won't steal focus or look like a bulky piece of tech, it'll simply look stylish and attractive.

You want straightforward simplicity
Incredibly simple to setup and use, the Roberts Beacon 330 is ideal if you don't want to feel obliged to tinker with anything. Being able to switch between equalizer modes is a nice touch but far from essential for most people. 

You need to be able to hook your speaker up via AUX-in
AUX inputs aren't as easy to come by in Bluetooth speakers as they used to be, but that doesn't mean that everyone no longer needs them. If you want to be able to easily hook up a speaker to a non-wireless source, this is a convenient option.

Don't buy it if...

You want a smart speaker
Voice assistant support is often included in other speakers around this price range, and the Roberts Beacon 330 doesn't have that. If you've paired it with your phone, you can use Siri or Google Assistant here, but that won't be a perfect solution for all.

You want to be able to take calls with it
Similarly, without a microphone necessary for voice assistant support, there's no way of using the Roberts Beacon 330 to take calls. This is solely a device for listening to music rather than receiving calls.

You want great audio quality
The Roberts Beacon 330 is stylish and delightful, but it's far from the most powerful speaker out there in this price range and size. If you're an audiophile, you won't be impressed.

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 

Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides and hunting down the latest coupon codes to save you money. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.