We're big fans of B&O Play here at T3, the company makes really attractive, and crucially, great sounding speakers (at a slightly more affortable price than the parent company Bang & Olufsen).
Meet the new Beoplay A1, the Danish brand's smallest Bluetooth speaker to date. We've had our hands on the A1 for little under a week now, here are all the details.
The first thing that strikes you about the A1 is its design. It was styled by award-winning Danish designer Cecilie Manz as a portable device for life on the go.
The domed aluminium speaker looks great when placed on a flat surface, it's a very robust casing that feels like it could take a knock (although, we haven't risked testing that yet).
It's 13.3cm in diameter (about the size of a large burger at McDonalds) and 4.8cm deep (equivalent to 6.76 iPhones). The size isn't a problem for portability, but the weight, at 600 grams, could be a drag if you want to travel light.
Of course, that weight does add to the sound profile, because in our experience, you need a speaker to be heavy to sound good, especially at the bass-y end.
The A1 uses fully active, two-way design using an aluminium cone mid-woofer, a silk dome 3/4” tweeter and advanced DSP filtering. There's also a new aluminium Cone Mid-Woofer using a neodymium magnetic system and high peak power amps.
For such a small Bluetooth speaker (peak power output of 140W, 30W continuous) the A1 really packs a punch, delivering deep bass and clear mids and highs. We love listening to it, and thanks to the portability, we find use taking it everywhere stuffed in out rucksacks.
There are a few other key features B&O Play is keen to shout about.
24 hours of playtime
The Beoplay A1 has a built-in 2200mAh Li-Ion battery which is rechargeable via USB-C. It also packs Adaptive Power Management, making it possible to feed the exact amount of power needed by the amplifiers (only when they need it). That means the battery lasts an impressive 24 hours of play time, we've only had to charge it once this past week.
Microphone for calls
The Bluetooth speaker has a built-in microphone, so you take and make calls on the A1. It's not just any microphone though, it has a patent-pending rimmed design on the speaker's bottom edge to provide uniform 360-degree speech sensitivity. We made a call using it, and no one complained the other end, but it would be interesting to test this further in the future.
Don't like how the speaker sounds with the music you're playing? You can open up the BeoPlay app to tune the EQ. All you need to do is move the dot around the screen between four sections, warm, excited, relaxed and bright. It's a nice intuitive way to do things.
You can also pair two Beoplay A1's together for true stereo sound.
And finally we get onto the price, Bang & Olufsen are renowned for making ridiculously expensive speakers, so how does the mini Beoplay stack up?
It comes in at a very acceptable £199. The A1 will be available in moss green (which we love) and natural (silver) from April 21.
I haven't had a chance to take it for a little photoshoot yet, but you can see all the key features in this smartphone snap, including the useful carry handle:
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Here a little video from B&O Play about the design process: