Skip to main content

B&O BeoLab5 review

These outlandish constructions work as well as sculpture as they do as speakers Tested at £10000

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These outlandish constructions work as well as sculpture as they do as speakers


  • +

    Wonderfully made and feels luxurious in the extreme

  • +

    sonic refinement


  • -

    Over-polite sound robs the preamp of transparency

No matter whether your hero from outer space is Dan Dare or Han Solo, you know their space-age bachelor pad contains a pair of B&O (opens in new tab)'s BeoLab 5s.

Of course, B&O has any number of reasons at as to why these ­speakers have to look this way, but doubts remain even after they are removed (a two-man job) from their packaging.

Room-calibration abilities
Typical of B&O, the specification is impressive, build quality is first-rate, and the quality of materials used second-to-none. Setting up these active speakers is a sci-fi experience in itself.

Using the Beo4 remote (another £160), each ­speaker calibrates itself to the your room and its position therein. In broad terms, they sound ­fabulous. Van Morrison's Into the Mystic revels in a rock-solid soundstage, taut and agile bass, effortless swing and rare insight.

Switching to John Coltrane's Giant Steps reveals the BeoLab 5s have an almost ­telepathic degree of integration. Dusted by Leftfield demonstrates that the B&Os are fastidious about timing: there's no overhang, even at antisocial volumes.

True, ten grand buys an awful lot of amp and speaker, but these curious active designs are well worth a listen.

What Hi-Fi?
What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test