There’s a lot to like about the Olixar ProBeats, with an attractive design, intuitive controls and stellar battery life among the highlights. However, sound quality is simply not up to scratch when listening to music, something which will be a deal-breaker for the majority of people.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Olixar ProBeats Wireless Speaker
Olixar might be most well known for phone accessories, but it’s no stranger to the wireless speaker market.
While past efforts have focused on a ‘Drop and Play’ feature, where you can connect by simply leaving your device on top of the speaker, the ProBeats reverts to the more orthodox Bluetooth method.
However, in ditching that unique selling point, will it get lost in an abundance of cheap Bluetooth speakers? Read our full review to find out.
Price and availability
The Olixar ProBeats is available from Amazon for £29.99/ US$39.99, while you can also buy it directly from Olixar and at Mobile Fun.
This puts it firmly in budget speaker territory, although it undercuts many entries in our best cheap Bluetooth speaker chart.
Nonetheless, it will have to be compared to the likes of the Creative Muvo Play and Kitsound Diggit, excellent speakers which are available for just a few pounds extra.
Design and features
The ProBeats is instantly recognisable as a portable speaker, with a compact, lightweight design perfect for taking everywhere with you.
Olixar are marketing it as something equally adept for use inside and out, thanks to IPX6 water resistance. This means it can resist high-pressure, heavy sprays of water, the likes of which you might see in a rain shower.
In our testing the speaker was still fine after a brief exposure, but do note it may not survive the extended submersions associated with higher IP ratings.
The rubberised feet secure it in place on any flat surface, but it’s equally adept at being attached to a bag via the built-in strap. Olixar claims this is a handle for carrying around with you, but we would always instinctively grab the main body instead.
But for the fabric speaker grille on one side, this device has an all-rubber exterior. We’re more than happy to compromise on premium materials in order to make it so easy to grip and lightweight.
The ProBeats has a range of controls on the top of the speaker, which are exceptionally easy to use. They aim to avoid the inconvenience of returning to your phone to change tracks or adjust the volume.
The play/pause button doubles as an accept call function, with Olixar implying the ProBeats can be used as a souped-up version of your phone’s loudspeaker.
The ports are cleverly hidden behind a removable piece of rubber, but it can be a bit fiddly to secure back in place. Here you’ll find the micro-USB charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack, alongside a micro SD card slot for manually loading music you already have on your computer.
This allows Olixar to emphasise its compatibility with any audio device, although that won’t be a big selling point for many consumers.
What most certainly will be is the excellent battery life. Olixar claims the 2000mAh battery is good for up to 8 hours of playback time, and we found that to be pretty accurate in testing. However, charging via micro USB might take longer than you’re used to, taking around 2.5-3 hours to get from 0 to 100%.
The ProBeats is only available in the black model we tested. Affordable wireless speakers are often available in vibrant colour options, so it would have been nice to see more choices here.
A Bluetooth speaker can have all the features in the world, but there’s no point in buying it if it doesn’t sound good. Unfortunately, the ProBeats is particularly disappointing in this regard.
Despite the speaker sporting dual 5W drivers and a subwoofer, music performance is curiously lacking. This may be due to outputting audio from only one side of the device, but other speakers have handled that without issues.
In general, the sound feels a bit washed out and unbalanced, without much of the punchy bass that many listeners enjoy.
This is particularly apparent on Stormzy tracks, which might be popular for social gatherings. You lose a lot of depth of sound here, particularly as his songs are often a fusion of multiple genres.
It’s a similar story with the likes of ‘Le Freak’ by Chic, with the usually infectious chorus sounding more muddy than usual.
It fares a little better on slower songs such as ‘Dry Your Eyes’ by The Streets, although this is unlikely to be a regular at social gatherings.
One of the most frustrating aspects is the significant distortion to the sound, even at moderate volumes. This would make us reluctant to use it in any situation where room-filling audio was a requirement.
However, its real strength lies in voice-based content, with talk radio and podcasts sounding excellent. This solid performance extends to call quality, with the ProBeats working well
We could see this being useful for conference calls, as a potentially more reliable alternative to the methods already out there.
Overall, the ProBeats sounds a little better than entry-level smart speakers, but for a device with such a focus on audio we were expecting more.
The Olixar ProBeats is incredibly easy to use and looks good, but it disappoints in the most important area of all – sound quality.
Despite its low price, there are other alternatives that you should consider if you’re looking to play music while out and about.
Olixar ProBeats Wireless Speaker: Specs
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Up to 10m range
- 3.5mm port
- 2x 2″ drivers
- 1x bass radiator
- 2000mAh battery, 8 hours playback time
- IPX6 water resistance