It feels like the Bluetooth speaker market has bottomed out. We’re missing new and exciting designs, as each release feels like a knockoff of the one before it. Finding a way to reinvent this wheel is proving to be difficult for audio manufacturers. Simply put, Bluetooth is everywhere we look.
Today, Bang & Olufsen released its smallest speaker yet in an effort to shake up the competition. The BeoPlay A1 has the familiar styling of its larger siblings but comes in at a smaller size that is comparable to the popular UE ROLL. However, it sets itself apart in one key area: 24-hour battery life. More below.
The BeoPlay A1 is a classic Bang & Olufsen release. It has the classic aluminum speaker grille and matte rubber base brought together by a thin leather strap. Bang & Olufsen has also made a few interesting decisions with this new release, starting with the inclusion of USB-C as a source for transferring power. We have seen an increase in USB-C products recently, with smartphones and laptops dominating in this area.
A tiny USB-C port is stashed next to a battery indicator light that provides alerts on power levels. It takes roughly three hours to fully charge the A1. As we noted above, 24 hours of playback is impressive for a portable speaker of this size. Most of the Bluetooth devices that come across our desk are only capable of half that, if not less.
Along the side you’ll also find controls for the speaker, like Bluetooth pairing, playback and speakerphone functionality. The A1 also sports a new B&O feature called ‘Connect’ that remembers your last device/song played. This allows you to pick up right where you left off.
Inside there is a driver and amp capable of delivering up to 280 watts of power with an audible range of 60 – 24,000Hz. That’s an impressive return given the speaker only weighs 600 grams. There are two Class D amplifiers for the woofer and tweeter alongside a passive bass radiator. Much like the UE ROLL referenced above, the 360-degree design is meant to provide a louder soundstage than traditional speakers that only face one direction.
Additional features include the ability to pair two A1’s together for a stereo setup. The BeoPlay App for iOS and Android adds more functionality to the speaker with custom EQ setups and firmware updates.
Bang & Olufsen’s new A1 Portable Bluetooth speaker ships in Natural Silver or Moss Green. It is available today at Amazon for $249 and includes a two-year warranty.
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Source: Bang & Olufsen
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