It’s easy to scoff at the thousands of inexpensive audio products that show up on Amazon. Many are truly awful and prove the old “you get what you pay for” adage. But there are also some gems. The Archeer A320 falls into the latter camp. It’s an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker that looks great thanks to an attractive bamboo and cloth design, and it sounds far better than its selling price suggests it should.
The Archeer A320 arrived from Amazon in a nondescript cardboard box. Inside were the speaker itself, a carrying bag, a USB cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable.
If you don’t have a spare 5V/2A USB charger, you’ll need to pick one up, as it’s not included—naturally, Archeer will sell you one. The cube charger Apple includes with iPhones is 5V, but only 1A (you’ll get a flashing red error LED if you try to use it), but my iPad charger worked fine.
Visually, the Archeer A320 is a very attractive looking speaker, at least if your tastes run to natural materials rather than plastic. 10-inches wide and 5-inches tall, with rounded corners, the front face is a slab of bamboo with a honey-colored finish. The edges are well sanded and smooth to the touch, including the cutouts for the drivers. Dark gray cloth is wrapped around the entire unit, with top mounted volume, pause/play and power buttons. The back panel is also bamboo. There you’ll find a 3.5mm AUX input, battery indicator LED, and micro-USB charge port. There’s also a bass reflex port.
If you’re familiar with House of Marley speakers, the look is very similar.
Archeer A320 Key Specs
• 15W, 2.5-inch woofer
• 2 x 5W, 1-inch tweeters
• Bluetooth 4.0
• 5200 mAh battery rated at 11 hours (50% volume)
• 9.8 x 5.2 x 31-inches, weighs 3.1 pounds
The Archeer A320’s audio performance was very good for a Bluetooth speaker of this size. There was no distracting hiss at low volumes—a flaw that’s common with cheap speakers. With that big woofer in the dead center of the speaker and dual tweeters, it produced warm sound that could reach sufficient volume to fill a mid-sized room without distorting. Audio is crisp, but bass is definitely a strong presence (without muddying things), and the reflex port at the back off the speaker moves a lot of air. Cranking songs like Gary Numan’s “Cars” or Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” brought out the best in this speaker, with clean synths and vocals backed by driving bass.
Placement significantly impacts the performance of this speaker. With the drivers facing straight ahead, it sounds best if placed on a high table or shelf instead of on the floor or a low coffee table—basically, near the listener’s head level. If you prefer a lot of bass, placing it close to a wall will boost the low end even more.
Battery life is rated at 11 hours at 50% volume. I’ve been clocking in the 10-12 hour range, playing at a variety of volume levels.
The price is what will make or break the Archeer A320 value proposition. The MSRP is $199. At that price, there are many options, including name brand speakers, with similar or better performance. House of Marley’s Get Together—also in bamboo and cloth, but with four drivers instead of three—can be had for less.
However, Archeer is promoting a $69.99 price and, at time of publication, the A320 was going for $65.99 on Amazon. That changes the equation considerably and makes the Archeer A320 a solid deal. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Bluetooth speaker that looks this good and sounds this good for $70 or less…
Disclosure: Archer provided a speaker for review purposes but had no editorial input.