Beoplay A1 Bluetooth Speaker

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Meet the Beoplay A1

Beoplay A1 speaker in natural tone colorway
The Beoplay A1 resembles a sanded stone not much larger than a stack of 40 audio CDs. Bang & Olufsen

Bluetooth speakers are so common these days, that it tends to take something spectacular in order to turn heads. Bang & Olufsen, known for melding high-end audio with striking design, has just introduced its latest premium speaker. The Bluetooth wireless B&O Play Beoplay A1 features the company's signature sound, a lightweight aluminum chassis, and battery life capable of steaming music for up to 24 hours per charge.

As long as a speaker carries easily and plays without need for an outlet, it's generally considered to be portable. The Beoplay A1 hits that sweet spot of size, where it can feel substantial resting in hands while remaining sufficiently small to tuck away in bags or pockets. Weighing 0.6 kg, at 4.8 cm thick and 13.3 cm in diameter (1.2 lb at 1.8 in by 5.2 in), this speaker resembles a sanded stone not much larger than a stack of 40 audio CDs.

Those familiar with the Beoplay A2 speaker may notice a bit of sophisticated parallel to the A1 – both were styled by Danish designer, Cecilie Manz. The Beoplay A1 combines smooth aluminum and polymer materials along with a soft leather leash. Users can set the speaker lying flat, hanging from a wall hook, or attached to a backpack for playing music while walking. There are no protruding buttons, as the controls are seamlessly embedded into the base. A built-in microphone allows users to enjoy hands-free voice calls.

Underneath the attractive exterior lies modern hardware meant for performance. A pair of 30 W Class D power amplifiers support a single tweeter and an aluminum-core sub-woofer, which Bang & Olufsen claims to be capable of delivering full range audio down to a frequency level of 60 Hz. Since these drivers fire up through the aluminum grille, users can enjoy 360 degrees of even dispersion all around the speaker. Devices can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or plug in to the 3.5 mm auxiliary port.

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Why the Beoplay A1 Might Be For You

The Beoplay A1 speaker, held by a hand
The Beoplay A1 features controls seamlessly embedded into the speaker base. Bang & Olufsen

What may be incredible about the Beoplay A1 is the uptime respective to its diminutive size. The internal 2200 mAh Li-Ion battery is designed for up to 24 hours of music playback at moderate listening levels. Many portable speakers last for about 12 before starting to tap out. The Beoplay A1 speaker is also one of the first to take advantage of the new USB-C connection type. Not only does USB-C offer faster and smarter charging versus Micro USB, but it's readily compatible with the latest laptops and MacBooks. A USB-C to USB-A cable adapter comes included in the box for those still using standard USB ports.

Similar to other portable Bluetooth speakers, such as the UE Boom 2, Riva Turbo X, or Libratone Zipp Mini, the Beoplay A1 features mobile app compatibility to enhance and personalize audio experiences. The free Beoplay app, available now for iOS and soon for Android, allows wireless pairing of two A1 speakers in stereo. The app employs advanced digital sound algorithms, which are designed to let users adjust musical tonality and staging with the touch of a finger. Compatible products are also updated through the mobile app.

Although the aluminum exterior provides durable protection, the Beoplay A1 falls shy of rugged consideration – at least when compared to the slew of water- and dust-proof speakers available. While the A1 won't be able to accompany you in a shower, it's certainly up for tagging along almost anywhere else. Not only does Bang & Olufsen tout the Beoplay A1's splash- and dust-resistance, but potential surface imperfections are downplayed. The company states that "every scratch tells a story" through the accumulation of bumps and scrapes from fun and travel. No need to baby this one.

The B&O Play Beoplay A1 Bluetooth speaker is available to order now, in choice of natural or moss green colorways. While the retail price may seem steep to some, the Beoplay A1 enters as the company's most affordable luxury item to date.

Product page: B&O Play Beoplay A1