Hands-on: Bayan Audio Soundbook X3 review

Bluetooth speakers are all the rage, but if you’re looking for a slice of audio product hot stuff to adorn your bookshelf or desk then British manufacturer Bayan Audio might have just the ticket in the Soundbook X3.

The name is a clue to the product’s design, which has a ballistic nylon cover that unfolds from the front a bit like a book. But unlike a book it acts as a level stand to prop up the slanted-design aluminium frame of the speaker itself.

And if you’re wondering what the heck ballistic nylon is - so were we upon first inspection - then it’s the same stuff that’s found in flak jackets. So if a truly horrible tune comes on via the built-in FM radio then even firing off a couple of bullets the X3’s way isn’t going to stop it pumping out the audio. The material actually looks and feels almost like a faux leather and, in the model we saw, was finished off in a fetching blue shade.

That’s probably the most standout thing about the X3 - its design. It’s well considered and even comes available in an of-the-moment black and burnt orange combo.

But you don’t buy a Bluetooth speaker just to stare at it. Well, we hope not anyway. Tucked behind the exposed mesh of the X3’s front panel - which also has a protruding circular centre to give that extra lick of intricate design appeal - are four 1.5-inch drivers and a 3.25-inch passive bass radiator.

It might sound like something from a plumber’s arsenal, but this bass radiator is an essential for low-frequency output. At this scale bass isn’t quite room-shakingly huge, but the Soundbook X3 is large enough to deliver ample low-end output from 50Hz - showing off how much more audio capable it is compared to the smaller models in the range.

It goes without saying that the X3 caters for audio via Bluetooth, but it’s of the 4.0 variety and complete with aptX codec support - which means it can maintain CD-quality audio over the invisible airwaves. We’re a big fan of Bluetooth, because it’s just so easy. Easier still is the X3’s inclusion of NFC (near field communication) so a relevant smartphone or tablet can quick pair and you’ll be head-nodding to your favourite tunes before you know it.

If you’re not the wireless type then a 3.5mm audio in to the rear caters for those physical needs. There’s even a 3.5mm out which, frankly, we’re a little baffled by, but it’s there nonetheless.

So there we have it, the Bayan Audio Soundbook X3. Neat, tidy, sexy, British and - assuming you don’t find the £250 price tag excessive - a welcome addition to any trendsetter's home.