Reviewed: HEOS 3 by Denon

As a tech journalist, I have reviewed a few speakers, each of which delivers something new. To be honest, choosing between them can be quite hard since each is made with a specific use in mind. Some are built for immersive entertainment, while others focus on portability. Finding the right stereo equipment to add to your own arsenal can be quite challenging, particularly if you’re a music junkie like me. Thanks to our friends from Denon, we have discovered a new model of wireless speakers that combines high-fidelity audio and music streaming in one package.

Design: 4.5/5

Small but definitely incredible—these are the words that fit HEOS 3. Designed for small to medium-sized rooms, the edgy speakers can either be mounted on a wall or placed on a tabletop. The front is covered with a protective cloth, with an interesting, almost hypnotic pattern when viewed from side to side. Small, compact and lightweight compared to other models in the same class, the Heos is a lot of sound with a tiny footprint.

Hardware: 4.5/5

Resting inside its plastic body is a pair of powerful wide-range drivers matched with two-channel Class D amplifiers. As part of the Japanese brand’s second generation of Home Entertainment Operating System (HEOS), the audio device brings quite a few innovations to the table including stereo pair operation. This feature enables users to use two HEOS devices in concert as left and right channel, which provides even better output for larger rooms. It also supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and any wired network thanks to an RJ-45 port. Perfect for tech geeks, the speaker provides convenience and multiple connectivity options.

Basic controls like the volume rocker and mute button with an LED indicator is placed on the top of the device, while its back houses the screw mount and bass vent, as well as important ports for USB and Ethernet. It’s also the location of the connect and reset buttons, power input, and the trusty 3.5mm audio jack. You’ll find the rubber base with LED on its bottom part, and some rubber nubs on its side, both of which are useful for placing the speakers in different positions.

User Experience: 5/5

We paired various devices like tablets, smartphones, and even my cousin’s laptop to the speakers to put it to the test. To be honest, I didn’t expect too much from it since it is on the tiny side of the spectrum, but underestimating its powerful performance was a mistake. The dual drivers dish out more bass and powerful volume, turning my bedroom into a mini studio. Larger rooms mean you will generally need more power, but the HEOS 3 can handle even those with no problem. From party anthems to mellow piano tracks, the speakers deliver crystal clear and high-resolution audio even at higher volumes. Another thing that we admire about it is its music streaming capabilities via Wi-Fi connection, though setting it up may be confusing for those not tech-inclined. For the feature to work, you need to link the speakers and the device to the same router via the HEOS app. This can be achieved through one of two ways: either by using the LAN port or through the auxiliary cable in the box. Once connected, you can then use your device as remote control to play your favorite tunes through different music sources like Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, Pandora, Tune-In, and SoundCloud among others.

The app is also the means by which you can link two HEOS speakers together, for even better audio in larger spaces. The speakers are going to have to be plugged into a wall outlet, so it’s going to be more of a semi-permanent fixture. Rounding off the feature set is its smart functions, and the ability to support voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa.

Value: 3.5/5

It might be pricey for some, but if you’re willing to shell out some cash for digital surround sound speakers, the HEOS 3 is a product worth considering. It offers a lot of connectivity options, streams uncompressed music files without the need for Analog-to-Digital converters (ADCs), and provides great audio, without the need for wires.

Bottomline:

It’s a stunning speaker with a golden price tag.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE September 2018 Issue.

Reviewed by Jewel Sta. Ana

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