The B&O A1 Oozes quality and has the sound quality to back it up.
With the Bang & Olefsun Beoplay A1 Bluetooth speaker, B&O really raises the game in the portable Bluetooth speaker segment. At $250, it is their cheapest offering. However, it does not cut any corners in terms of the premium quality build or design, in fact, it reaches new heights.
The Beoplay A1 Bluetooth Speaker is a portable device that can fit in your palm. It consists of an aluminum dome on top of a polymer base. The speaker certainly looks and feels premium. There is also a very cool leather strap to carry the speaker around. These premium materials are rarely found on Bluetooth speakers and are a welcome addition. In fact, I can’t come up with any other speaker bigger or smaller that had this ultra high-quality look or feel.
The device uses a USB type-C connector for charging and also features a 3.5mm audio input slot. Buttons for volume, power, and Bluetooth are also present on the speaker. Aside from this, there is a circle symbol, which will automatically connect the speaker to the last paired device. This speaker also has a microphone which can be used for calls. The Beoplay A1 also offers a higher than average battery life of around 24 hours, while only requiring 2.5 hours of charging to reach maximum battery capacity.
The Beoplay A1 can be paired with a device using the Beoplay app, which is available in the App Store or Google Play Store. This allows additional functionality, such as the ability to use two Beoplay A1 speakers as a single wireless stereo or for pairing.
While $250 may seem high for a speaker, and it is, even a high-end Bluetooth one, to casual users, the sound quality is clearly far superior on the Beoplay A1. Once again I am really pleasantly surprised by B&O again as they deliver clearly superior sound and not just more of the same with fancier materials. (As they did on the Beoplay S3, which is by far the best non-portable at the price now – you can read our B&O Beoplay S3S Review here) Comparing it to smartphone speakers is really no contest and this is also better in some ways than similarly priced devices. For a speaker of this size, the bass is quite strong. Compared to some cheaper options like the UE Roll, it provides more solid sound that successfully transmits the reverb to the listener.
At highest volumes, the Beoplay A1 can struggle a bit, especially if it is being used outdoors. Some higher frequency sounds can also have a slight harshness to them when you’re cranked up. The volume isn’t spectacularly high but the beauty of this speaker is that you don’t need big volume to hear the richness of the music clearly. Again, this isn’t a party speaker, so if you just want max “Oontz Oontz” then look elsewhere. This would be a superb beach speaker that would be right at home in St.Tropez, the Caribbean or maybe the Hamptons where others don’t want to hear your loud music (not a Spring Break speaker by any means!)
Overall, the Beoplay A1 Bluetooth Speaker is a wonderfully designed speaker that lives up to the B&O reputation of quality. It looks wonderful and provides fantastic sound quality in a portable package. However, you may be able to find better bang for your buck options if you are willing to sacrifice on portability or even sound quality, but for those that want something small and of the highest quality, I don’t know of a better option. This one is a winner.