Back in March of this year, I reviewed the Archeer A320 portable Bluetooth speaker which completely impressed me with the power of its bass as well as its design. Just as soon as I got used to thumping bass and loud music coming from my daughter’s room, Archeer came out with an upgrade to the A320. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure how they could improve on this already nice portable Bluetooth speaker. But they came out with some innovations which made me believe there is room for improvement, or better said, enhancement. I got a pair of the Archeer A320S to review and wanted to share what those little enhancements did to an already great sound. (*Disclosure below.)
First, let me outline what the Archeer A320 and the new Archeer A320S share in functionality. Both speakers have:
- Two 5 watt drivers for the mid and high sounds
- One 15 watt subwoofer
- 25 watts total output power
- Signal to Noise Ratio: Bass ? 75DdB; Treble ? 80dB
- Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
- Natural bamboo wood with a grey fabric wrap around the sides
- Controls for playback on the top
- Rechargeable and portable
- Carrying bag, USB cable, 3.5mm audio cable
Just those features alone make this speaker stand out, especially from a design perspective. The A320 or A320S look great on a bookcase but the sound is loud enough to easily fill a dorm room, living room, bedroom, or even the garden, deck, or pool area with rich, crisp, and deep sound, capturing great clear highs while not distorting with the thumping bass. As I said, I was quite impressed with the capabilities of the A320.
Archeer A320S Enhancements
So how does the Archeer A320S go to the next level (perhaps turning the volume up to 11)? Three important improvements.
The first is a new, higher-capacity rechargeable battery. In fact, the Archeer A320S has two batteries built-in to bring the total capacity to 8800 mAh! Conversely, the A320 has a single 5400 mAh battery. So while the A320 lasts about 11 hours at 50% volume (according to Archeer), the A320S will last 20 hours at 50% volume (again, according to Archeer). This is a significant enhancement. While 11 hours of playback time is quite good, having an extra 9 hours of time changes a daytime party into almost all all-day party! (Here’s a hint: use a higher capacity charger, like a 5V/2A, to charge the speaker in about 6-7 hours.)
Also, the Archeer A320S has a built-in microphone to allow you to do hands-free calling.
But this next feature is probably the one that is even more exciting. It does, however, require that you have two A320S. As a standalone speaker, the A320S (and the A320) are mono speakers, not stereo. While you probably wouldn’t notice that much with music, if you were to play a movie, you always hear the action from one direction. Archeer calls this TWS (True Wireless Stereo).
The A320S now has the ability to wirelessly pair with another A320S to provide you with stereo sound, at the same crisp highs and deep lows as a single speaker. And yes, while the price for this stereo experience is double (obviously, you need two to tango), the experience is also doubled. Essentially, once you connect the main speaker via Bluetooth to your device, the second speaker is set up as a slave connected to the main speaker.
Setting Up the Archeer A320S as a “Pair”
The one minor complaint I had was actually setting the two A320S’s up as a paired set. While the included instructions tell you how to do it, it’s a bit trickier than I thought it would be. However, once I got them paired, I loved the sound experience.
First, you need to pair one of the speakers with your smartphone via Bluetooth. (And remember, you can use each A320S independently of each other but you can only play sound from one speaker at a time that way.) From there, the steps are a bit tricky. I must admit, I was initially madly pressing various combinations of buttons, holding for a variety of times. Eventually, the hard work of my efforts paid off.
I reached out to Archeer with some specific questions on how to easily pair the two speakers. Here’s what I learned:
- You only need to pair via Bluetooth 1 speaker directly to your smartphone or device.
- You must briefly (like 1 second or less) press the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons on the speaker you want to pair (as a slave to the main)
- If you ever want to break the pairing between the two speakers (if you want to just have individual speakers), you LONG press the Volume Up and Volume Down for 2 second on the phone that is NOT paired with your smartphone.
- If you want to completely reset your speaker, you stick a paperclip or needle into the Reset hold in the back of the speaker and it will shut down immediately.
Just follow the directions that come in the manual (and my tips above) and you should be soon living the stereo dream.
So how well does it actually work? Once I paired the two speakers in stereo, I was able to walk around my house (I have a small house) and stream to both speakers. Once there were walls and other items that could cause interference (perhaps 50 feet away?), the audio did drop occasionally. In this test scenario, I had the two speakers fairly close to each other.
For my next test, I separated the speakers so that they were across the room from each other. For the most part, everything worked well. When I was close to the main (paired) speaker, there were no audio dropouts. And, for the most part, the audio between the two speakers remained consistent. However, once I moved the “slave” speaker further away, audio stopped (which was to be expected). And moving the slave back closer to the main speaker reconnected the audio automatically.
Overall, the sound quality, especially with the two A320S’s paired was fantastic. As I said, good bass and clear highs, all of it, times two. And the fact that the audio was now in stereo sound makes a big difference!
The MSRP of a single Archeer A320S is $229.99, however, you should not pay that much. Currently, on Amazon, a single speaker is $102.99. So to get the paired setup, you will need to double that price. (And you might want to watch for lightning deals on Amazon to get them even cheaper.)
As stated, I was impressed with the Archeer A320 (which currently retails on Amazon for $69.99), but for an extra $30, you get a longer battery/playback life, a built-in mic, and most importantly, the TWS (True Wireless Stereo) playback. I think that is worth it (but again, you need two to take advantage of the TWS).
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HTD says: There are a bazillion portable Bluetooth speakers in the market. The Archeer A320S differentiates from the rest with not only its solid bass and crisp highs, but also with the extended battery AND the ability to pair two of them for true stereo playback!
There are a bazillion portable Bluetooth speakers in the market. The Archeer A320S differentiates from the rest with not only its solid bass and crisp highs, but also with the extended battery AND the ability to pair two of them for true stereo playback! I loved the sound of the A320S’s predecessor, the A320. The A320S has the same great sound and design, but now has an extended battery, a built-in mic, and the ability to pair two of these together for true stereo sound, all completely wireless. The pairing process is a bit tricky to figure out, but once you do, it’s extremely easy to use. (I did lower the rating on Ease-of-Use slightly just for that setup struggles I had.) Otherwise, the price is good and the sound is great!