"Sleep Alone" was released as the lead single from the album on 20 July 2012. The album's second single, "Sun", was released on 16 November 2012. "Next Year" was released as the album's third single on 15 February 2013, followed by "Handshake" on 31 May 2013. The album was reissued on 28 October 2013 including the song "Changing of the Seasons", which was released as the lead single from the EP of the same name.
The band have produced a four-part documentary titled What We See, which depicts their European summer tour prior to the release of Beacon. In relation to touring, lead singer Trimble explained, "The past few years have sort have been not necessarily a struggle, but a learning curve. So it's learning to be in touch with the people you leave behind and learning to just deal with the ridiculousness of it all." The documentary was filmed by Gregg Houston (Babysweet Sessions), a friend of the band.
Beacon received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 62, based on 18 reviews. Megan Farokhmanesh of Paste wrote that "Beacon isn't a step up from Tourist History, but rather a brother to it. The band returns with tunes that can operate as low-volume background noise or pumped-up danceable beats. There's very little progression or change in their sound, but that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing." Ray Rahman of Entertainment Weekly commented the album "tempers its galloping pop gait with frontman Alex Trimble's Ben Gibbard-y confessionals. And at their best, tracks like 'Sleep Alone' and 'Wake Up' come off like a less grandstanding Killers—human and dancer." Katherine Rodgers of the NME stated the album "blitzes in on a flurry of discordant, M83-style synth-fuzz, and while it doesn't stray far from their trademark tinkly guitar lines and infectious choruses, it's laced with New Order-ish disco trimmings", while noting it is "undoubtedly a more sophisticated release than Tourist History—even if, in places, it feels thematically confused."
The Irish Times' Lauren Murphy opined that Beacon "may not be as instantly gratifying as Tourist History, but with producer Jacknife Lee's guidance the band have plumbed deeper songwriting depths and turned in some fantastic songs. Much of Beacon is undeniably Two Door Cinema Club; at other points, it sounds like it was made by a different band. No matter what way you look at it, it's progress." In a review for the Evening Standard, Rick Pearson found that on Beacon, the band "share Snow Patrol's fondness for a big picture and even bigger sound but they are altogether lighter on their feet [...] As breakthrough albums go, Beacon could hardly be more obvious." Davey Boy of Sputnikmusic viewed Beacon as "a wise and predictably executed record in all the right ways", as well as "a more even, consistent and cohesive LP than Tourist History, even if it does not reach the same individual heights."
AllMusic editor Heather Phares felt that "much of the nervy, scrappy energy that made Tourist History so appealing is missing from Beacon", concluding that "[t]here's nothing overtly bad about Beacon; it shows that Two Door Cinema Club still have a remarkable knack for winsome melodies and harmonies set to kinetic beats. It just doesn't have the spark that Tourist History had, even if it's a more accomplished album overall."The Guardian's Dave Simpson expressed, "'Next Year''s fleeting Beach Boys/Beatles harmonies aside, there aren't too many departures from what made them successful: radio-friendly songs with intricate little catchy bits which may find new homes as advertising jingles." Despite dubbing Beacon "another competent album of breezy indie-pop tunes" and praising Trimble's "songwriting gift", Martin Headon of musicOMH found it to be "a rather dissatisfying listen", concluding, "With only one true standout track, a handful of fillers, and little innovation or progress, it reeks of diminishing returns from start to finish." Aoife Ryan of State Magazine claimed that "[t]hough producer Jacknife Lee is sure to make the album profitable, it is still hit and miss with many of the same faults as the first one [...] At its worst it is formulaic with saccharine lyrics but on occasion it does hint that they have something more to give." Paul Mardles of The Observer argued that "while [Beacon] is polished, thanks no doubt to U2 producer Jacknife Lee, there is nothing to distinguish Two Door Cinema Club from several other excitable indie-disco bands", adding that aside from "Sun", Beacon is "prosaic and frenetic, its tireless synths and fidgety guitars unable to camouflage the group's dearth of ideas."
Beacon debuted at number one on the Irish Albums Chart, becoming the band's first number-one album on the chart. In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, selling 33,306 copies in its first week. On 21 June 2013, the album was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), denoting shipments in excess of 100,000 copies in the UK.