The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 is a wireless bluetooth speaker. Great. You can buy most of those from weird Chinese shops down hidden alleyways. You can’t buy one like this though. Straight out of the box there is no denying that the thoughtful and impeccable nordic design from Bang & Olufsen has been etched into the Beoplay A1.
The speaker is elegant but understated. It is available in a white, beige, pale pink and the bottle green version I reviewed. It really is a beautifully crafted gadget that would sit on a table top looking more like a piece of decor as opposed to a speaker. The base is a solid rubber which stops it sliding around or scratching glass surfaces while the top part of the speaker has a remarkable matte brushed aluminium finish.
This speaker isn’t one to move around. Despite the leather band it isn’t the lightest and is really designed as a signature piece to sit atop a mantel rather than be carried around. The round shape ensures a 360 degree sound distribution.
You cannot fault the sound quality
Bang & Olufsen are specialists in the audio field and the same craftsmanship that goes into their higher end speakers has been tranfered to their entry level Play range – which is where this bluetooth speaker falls. The sound from this baby is something incredible. It is extremely crisp and clean. Even at max volume it is a thing of beauty. Usually the cheap bluetooth speakers have a weird crackle to them but this is no where to be found on the Beoplay A1. It really is impressive and, if your purchase was based on sound quality alone you’d be snapping this up.
There are a few shortcomings of that come with this speaker. Despite the marketing material claiming the speaker lasts for 24 hours I found it drop battery life quickly at higher volumes. You’ll know when you’re close to running out of juice as the volume decreases on its own accord. It also heats up a bit with extended play time. The side of the speaker has a host of tiny buttons and, during first use, you’re going to be lifting the speaker up a lot to figure out what button to press. The buttons also have a squishy feel to them as opposed to a solid click. I might be nitpicking but this did bug me somewhat.
Out the box you’ll get the speaker, a USB to USB Type C Cable for charging as well as a warranty on the speaker. It also has a microphone jack included on the speaker.
It is a gloriously beautiful gadget
Really. Like a piece of art. But is that enough? I’m not so sure. It looks the part and the sound is mind blowing. This is a speaker for someone who loves the finer things in life, who wants their home to be an epic grand design as opposed to an electronic haven. There is a very specific person who purchases a Bang & Olufsen product. I think the Beoplay A1 is the product you purchase just before you can start affording the big stuff from them. So while the price tag on this speaker of R5000 might make you take a step back, the truth is – the true design connoisseur is likely going to happily spend that. The sound quality alone means it is worth it.
Disclosure: I was sent a Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 to review. I don’t get to keep it.