Portable audio is one of those areas just totally going off, and while Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand may well be getting attention, the Danish engineers at Bang & Olufsen have something of their own to show off.
One of the few companies out there making audio look sexier than a box with holes in it, Bang & Olufsen has this week shown off a portable speaker that you may actually want to keep with you, and just for a change it isn’t made by Ultimate Ears.
From the same company that brought us the lovely BeoPlay series of speakers, including the brilliant box of a thing that was the carry-me-to-a-picnic BeoLit A15 speaker and the flat clutch-like carry-me-most-places of a thing that was the BeoPlay A2 comes something that basically takes both of those models and drops the size and design to something anyone would be able to strap to their luggage.
This is the BeoPlay A1, a compact speaker that just yearns to be taken practically everywhere and delivers up to 24 hours of battery life to a two-way speaker relying on a small mid-woofer and a tweeter working together with some proprietary Digital Signal Processing.
Essentially, this is working with a 360 degree soundscape, which should mean the audio is balanced from every point, with bass, mids, and highs sent out evenly so that anyone close to the speaker should hear roughly the same style of sound.
Size-wise, B&O’s A1 speaker weighs 600 grams, so it’s not super small, but is small enough to take with you, and it looks relatively durable, too, with an aluminium dome protecting the outside and showcasing that simple dotted grill, with plastic along the bottom.
“We wanted to make a portable speaker that people would not leave at home,” said Cecille Manz, Designer of the BeoPlay A1 at Bang & Olufsen.
“The size and shape of the speaker invites you to pick it up and bring it with you as the most natural thing. The combination of premium materials, cool aluminium, soft polymer and the warm touch of leather make it desirable to hold,” said Manz. “I like the fact that the rounded, circular shape very clearly indicates the sharing of sound while lying on the table.”
Inside the A1 speaker box is a rechargeable 2200mAh battery bigger than some of the phones we’re seeing today, and B&O says this should deliver up to that full day of life thanks to adaptive power management controlling the amplifiers, which is a neat way of saying “not funnelling all the power to the amp until it’s needed and thereby maximising battery life”.
A speakerphone can be found inside this speaker, while a circular button on the speaker will reconnect it to the last phone and play thew last song you heard.
Called the “connect button”, B&O hopes to give this more functionality later in life.
“People today seek elegance, simplicity and flexibility in the way they live with music,” said Henrik Taudorf Sorensen, Corporate vice President at B&O Play.
“They want their speaker to deliver a rich and beautiful soundscape for the home as well as seamless portability for life on the go,” he said. “With the BeoPlay A1 we have pushed the boundaries of the ultra-portable speaker category and empowered people to take powerful sound and beautiful design anywhere they choose.”
Pricing for the B&O BeoPlay A1 is set to a recommended retail price of $379 locally with the speaker landing ion B&O stores across the country from May.