(Pocket-lint) - Bang & Olufsen makes some of the best looking and best-sounding speakers on the market, Bluetooth and otherwise. There are a couple of ranges within B&O Play's lineup: BeoPlay and BeoLit, with the BeoLit name dating all the way back to 1939. Quite the heritage.
We've broken down each of the B&O Play speakers currently available to tell you all about each in turn, so that you can best decide which one you think fits your lifestyle, home or plans. Read on to find out more about the full range.
B&O Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)
With a slightly awkward renaming of the excellent BeoPlay A1, the Beosound is B&O's latest portable Bluetooth speaker, and it's a real doozy. Bringing down the starting price of the speaker while cleverly and subtly updating its design, it offers a compelling package.
The one drawback to the speaker is that it really mainlines on the Bluetooth side of things - there's no Wi-Fi here, or AirPlay, so you're dependent on that Bluetooth for everything. That's no different to the original, though, and you get the extremely useful additions of both Alexa support and waterproofing, the latter the real key to its upgraded success in our eyes. There's also a bigger battery, giving 18 hours of use per charge.
With its sleek metal body and leather strap, the Beosound A1 2nd Gen is about as good-looking as a portable speaker can get, too, with superb build-quality matching its impressive oomph and balanced sound. It's a high-quality speaker for those looking for something a little more distinctive.
B&O Play BeoPlay A1
B&O Play, Bang & Olufsen's lifestyle subsidiary, makes some of the best looking and best sounding speakers on the market, Bluetooth and otherwise. There are a couple of ranges within B&O Play's lineup: BeoPlay and BeoLit, with the BeoLit name dating back to 1939, which is quite the heritage.
We've broken down each of the B&O Play speakers currently available to tell you all about each in turn, so that you can best decide which one you thinks fits your lifestyle, home or plans. Read on to find out more about the full range.
B&O Play BeoPlay P2
One of the newer speakers in the BeoPlay 2 range, the P2 effectively replaces the older A2 speaker, which you'll read more about below. It's the result of some good iteration, shrinking the form-factor of the speakers without compromising on sound quality, and smoothing away some of the rough edges.
That iconic all-metal grille is still very much present and correct, along with a built-in loop for carrying, but the P2 could genuinely fit in a roomy pocket or handbag, rather than being slightly too big to carry around super easily, and as such is a real star for usability. It has a 10-hour battery to keep you going all day, and you can also use Siri from your iPhone straight through the speaker when you need to.
B&O Play BeoPlay P6
Another one of B&O's newer speakers is the BeoPlay P6. This uniquely designed speaker has a fairly science fiction-style look to it, and again prominently displays the metal grille that marks out a B&O portable. With an all-over design, the sound coverage is 360-degree, and helps the P6 to be a genuine room-filler from a volume and quality standpoint.
A raft of buttons on the speaker's top let you control it as needed, although the companion app also lets you handle all of that from your smartphone if preferred. The P6 also has a battery that should last you for 16 full hours of playback, which is a really impressive life, and made even better by the fact that it'll fully charge in just 3 hours.
An on-board microphone also makes the P6 useful for taking calls or ordering about Siri or the Google Assistant to take care of tasks. Sound-wise, a 4-inch woofer and two 1.5-inch full-range drivers take care of pinpoint reproduction.
B&O Play BeoPlay M3
The BeoPlay range may have a range of portable speakers, and also a fair amount of unconventional design, the M3 is B&O Play's potential answer to the traditional bookshelf speaker, and, as such, is a little more standard itself.
This is a gorgeous stationary speaker, mains-powered, with a small form-factor that doesn't stop it putting out quality sound. It's bigger sibling the M5 can be found further down this guide, but this smaller version is a powerful option. B&O says it's designed to fill a "medium-sized" room, and the design means that it should melt into the background visually.
With a 3.75-inch woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter, the balance is great, and really comes into its own if you pair it with one or more other speakers (whether M3s or another type). The M3 is a great choice if you're looking for a subtle, but exquisitely designed multi-room speaker that could work in a variety of home settings.
B&O Play BeoPlay A9
The B&O Play BeoPlay A9 is very much an iconic B&O product, and is now in its fourth generation of internal specs. It looks just as much like a piece of furniture than it does a speaker. In fact, at first glance, you might not know it's a speaker at all. Behind its round exterior you'll find an 8-inch bass woofer, two 3-inch midrange drivers, two 1.5-inch full-range drivers, and two 0.75-inch, 80-watt tweeters.
The BeoPlay A9 has some cool tricks up its sleeve too. To turn the volume up or down you simply swipe your hand across the top of the speaker, or you can rest your hand on top for a few seconds to mute what's playing. A tap of the right hand side will skip the track forward, while a tap on the left will skip it back. Finally, a short tap on the centre of the speaker will resume the last music source played.
With some modern upgrades, the A9 also now works with Google Assistant to provide smart assistant benefits, as well as packing AirPlay 2 for your connection needs. If you're looking for a statement speaker that produces some delicious Danish sound - and have the money to back it up - the BeoPlay A9 is the speaker for you.
B&O Beosound Balance
Right at the top end of B&O's scale (and that's a scale that goes to some pretty extreme places), the Beosound Balance is a simply gorgeous home speaker that won't necessarily work for many people's budgets, but will provide a premium experience for those who go for it.
We love the look of the speaker, its wooden base contrasting nicely with the fabric of the main unit above it, and that construction hides a full range of drivers that'll pump out stunning sound. It's got solid connections, especially since Spotify Connect is coming in an update, and if you're looking for a home speaker that really stands out, it could be a great choice.
B&O Play BeoLit 17
The BeoLit 17 is the 15's successor, and delivers an enhanced sound thanks to a redesign of the power supply. The BeoLit 15 relies on DC charging, whereas the BeoLit 17 uses USB Type-C instead. This frees up space inside the cabinet to create a larger sound and also means the speaker can be recharged much quicker.
Once again, the picnic hamper speaker is coated in aluminium, and there's a rubberised tray on top to put your smartphone without it scratching the surface.
You can use the Beoplay app to configure the one-touch command button on top to carry out one of four different functions: Alarm, Connect, ToneTouch or Remote. Two BeoLit 17 speakers can be connected together to create a stereo pair and the battery once again provides up to 24 hours of playback.
Unfortunately there's still no shield against the weather, but the BeoLit 17 is ideal for pumping out tunes at parties, and is more powerful than the A1 or A2.
B&O Play BeoPlay M5
The BeoPlay M5 is a cylindrical speaker that fires sound out through a full 360-degrees. Inside it has a 5-inch woofer, a 1.5-inch midrange driver and three 0.75-inch tweeters, with each driver being given its own Class D amplification.
It can either be used on its own, where it is more than capable of filling a room with sound, or be used as part of a multi-room music system with other B&O speakers. You can connect them together via Google Cast or BeoLink Multiroom and there's no limit to the number of speakers you can join together.
The top aluminium disc is used to control the source and volume levels and you can use the Beoplay app to calibrate the sound depending on where the speaker is positioned. This is a seriously nice-looking speaker, and it's noteworthy that B&O were on the "all-fabric" look years before it went mainstream through the likes of Amazon.