Credit B&O Play for creating a Bluetooth speaker that doesn't look like anything out there already. The new dome-shaped Beoplay A1 is not only the smallest wireless speaker from the Danish company, but also the most affordable at $249, £199 in the UK and AU$379 in Australia.
Designed by well-known Danish furniture designer Cecile Manz, the aluminum-clad A1's clearly meant to take on Bose's popular SoundLink Mini II wireless speaker, and it's one of the best sounding mini-Bluetooth speakers I've heard, though it better be considering its elevated price point.
While it looks sleek and has no protruding buttons B&O Play says it's "robust enough to handle the bumps and scrapes of everyday use." It comes with a leather carrying strap, though no protective carrying pouch, which is too bad.
The speaker has two drivers -- a 3.5-inch mid cone woofer and a 3/4-inch tweeter. It manages to play very loud for its size, delivers a surprising amount of bass, and is very strong in the mid range where vocals live. That said, like all these small speakers, it does have its limitations, and has a harder time resolving more complicated tracks (a lot of instruments playing at the same time) at higher volumes. That said, it will fill a small room with sound and would work well in a kitchen, bathroom, home office or dorm room.
As its shape implies, it also doubles as a speakerphone and it's a good one. The other plus is the strong battery life -- it's rated at 24 hours thanks to a 2,200mAh internal rechargeable battery and an efficient adaptive power management system. It's worth noting that it charges with a USB-C cable, not a standard Micro-USB cable.
Yes, you can certainly get mini-Bluetooth speakers that cost a lot less and perform pretty well for their size. But if you don't mind the high price, this is very nice speaker that offers impressive sound for it size.
Here are the A1's key specs:
- Measures 5.2 inches by 1.9 inches (133mm by 48mm) and weighs 1.3 pounds or 600 grams
- DSP algorithm with advanced high-slope filtering creates a spacious 360-degree soundscape
- Up to 24 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels
- Charges with included USB-C cable
- Speakerphone capabilities
- Available in moss green and natural for a suggested retail price at $249, £199, AU$379. Both colors are available in B&O stores, on the B&O website and at select third-party retailers.