Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 review • £230 (as tested)
- FOR – Powerful sound • Supremely portable • Splash resistant • Elegant design
- AGAINST – Audio can occasionally sound slightly muffled at high volumes • Expensive
Just like all Bang & Olufsen (B&O) products, the Beoplay A1 lives in an elegant fantasy-land where everything oozes its fair share of class.
It is made of top-tier materials and crafted with meticulous precision which makes this one of the more premium Bluetooth speakers on the market.
And of course, the A1 was brought to life with the help of an award winning designer. This time the audio powerhouse is crediting Cecilie Manz for her efforts in putting together the Bluetooth speaker’s elegant curves, functional aluminium grill and more.
Pictures don’t really do the A1 justice – we were expecting to unbox a speaker similar in size to the doughnut-shaped Google Home Mini. But in truth, the device is slightly larger and significantly heftier than Google’s connected home offering.
The Beoplay A1 feels rugged and built to last, mostly for its aluminium casing that covers over half the speaker. The rest of the hardware is made from polymer (plastic).
There’s nothing about the Beoplay A1 that draws attention (unless you pick it up in B&O’s flashy Peony pink colour of course) – you won’t find any searing flashes of papaya orange à la McLaren here. In fact, we’d go so far as to say the device does a superb job of blending into the background of your home, as long as you go for a colour that matches your furniture of course. B&O recently refreshed the A1 with a couple new colours for winter aptly titled Chestnut and Tan, too. So there’s now even more finishes to choose from.
On the top of the Beoplay A1 you’ll find its speaker vents. Interestingly, these aren’t only used to blast powerful sound out the top of the device, but they also pair with its polymer base to help seal it from dust and water, too.
On its plastic bottom you’ll find physical volume controls, and buttons to turn the device on, off or summon Apple’s Siri or the Google Assistant.
To top things off, B&O has also thrown in a handy leather strap so you can hang the Beoplay A1 around your home.
From the outside, the Beoplay A1 looks like a lightweight boxer with expertly groomed hair and a classy pair of shorts. But internally, the speaker packs a punch that can only be compared to the right hook of Deontay Wilder.
B&O’s speaker gets incredibly loud and thumps out a ton of bass for its size. The device can easily fill an entire room with sound and then some.
But does the Beoplay A1 sound any good? In a word, yes. Fantastic actually. The hardware comes fitted with a tweeter and full speaker that combine to deliver rich, powerful sound.
The A1 is certainly a treat for bass – it never goes overboard to the point where it overpowers the rest of the audio, but it does pack a noticeable punch.
Mids and highs are also incredibly sharp on B&O’s speaker. The Danish firm also claims the speaker delivers what it’s calling Ture360 sound – essentially, that means the speaker will adjust its audio output depending on where it’s placed to ensure it can fill a room with sound. We placed the A1 in a few locations around our home and found it to be intelligent enough to alter its audio accordingly.
The only real criticism we have is that, when playing some songs, we did notice the device sounded slightly muffled at high volumes. While this didn’t completely detract from our listening experience, it’s certainly worth noting for anyone that’s going to use the A1 for wild house parties every Friday and Saturday night.
Of course, the Beoplay A1 supports stereo pairing and also comes with a 3.5 millimetre jack so you can hook it up to an existing audio setup.
B&O claims the Beoplay A1 is capable of delivering up to 24 hours of battery on a single charge. While we haven’t been able to reach that lofty figure at Express.co.uk, we’ve certainly hit the high teens which is still commendable for a speaker this size.
Plus, the A1 also comes fitted with a USB-C port and supports fast charging, so even when you do need to find a socket for it, you won’t be plugged in for long.
The biggest issue we had with regard to battery was certainly a software glitch that repeatedly told us the speaker’s cell sat at 60 percent, even after we’d charged it fully. This didn’t impact the longevity of the device, but it meant we were sometimes never sure of its exact percentage.
Everything the Beoplay A1 does right – its elegant design, powerful sound and great battery life – comes with a lofty price tag. The speaker costs £230 which is certainly expensive when compared to others of its kind.
Of course, you can pick up a wealth of Bluetooth speakers that are almost as powerful for a fraction of the price, but they’re not as premium and, most importantly, don’t carry B&O’s illustrious branding.
Buying a B&O product is as much about image as it is about performance, so you’ll have to decide how much that logo means to you before you cough up the money for it.
B&O’s Beoplay A1 punches well above its weight – the device offers supremely powerful audio, a classy design and great battery life. But of course, this comes at a price that’ll make your wallet shriek.
We can’t possibly recommend this product to everyone – there are tons of speakers out there that offer better value – but this is undeniably a luxury purchase for anyone that wants a little bit of B&O’s elegant fantasy-land in their home.
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