Pocket Lint

Best Bang & Olufsen speaker 2019: Which B&O speaker is right for you?

By December 3, 2019 No Comments

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 A1


The BeoPlay A1 has been pretty much unchanged since its release a few years ago. That’s for the best – it’s a superb little speaker. It’s a disc-shaped speaker that, like most of B&O’s other products, makes use of a lot of aluminium. The entire front grille is made of the metal, while the base is made from a double-moulded polymer that adds a layer of durability.

Underneath the grille is a 9cm woofer and a 20mm tweeter, each of which receives 30W of Class D amplification. That’s a lot for a speaker of this size and goes some way to explaining how it’s able to pump out some serious volume. 

The 2,200mAh rechargeable battery lasts up to 24 hours and is topped up quickly thanks to USB Type-C port. You can also wirelessly connect two together to create a stereo pair. The best thing about the BeoPlay A1 is just how good it sounds considering its size. Its sound is well-balanced and can easily compete with some speakers that are much larger.

If you’re looking for a great-looking, portable Bluetooth speaker that’s robust and delivers a sound that belies its size, the BeoPlay A1 is for you.

Read the full B&O Play BeoPlay A1 review

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-degrees 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. 

Read the full B&O BeoPlay P6 review

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 A2


The BeoPlay A2 was the first Bluetooth speaker to be released under the B&O Play name and still does the business today. There’s a 3-inch full-range driver and a 3/4-inch tweeter on each side of the speaker, designed to give it 360-degree sound. The connection is via Bluetooth, and the higher-quality aptX variety is supported for compatible devices.

It can connect to more than one Bluetooth device at a time, so one phone could be streaming music to it, but if you get a phone call on a second phone, that audio will takeover. Like the BeoPlay A1, the BeoPlay A2 promises a battery life of up to 24 hours and also like its smaller sibling, you can pair multiple A2s together (up to eight), to really improve the sound. It’s able to withstand the odd splash of water, but don’t take it into a swimming pool. 

B&O Play BeoPlay A2 Active


The BeoPlay A2 Active is identical to the BeoPlay A2 behind the grille, but it has undergone a few cosmetic changes including new colour finishes and a dust-proof coating. B&O Play has ditched the leather carry strap too, replacing it with a NATO-inspired fabric strap instead. 

B&O Play has also replaced the DC power unit from the original A2 with a USB Type-C port to enable much faster charging. The battery still promises 24 hours of life. The BeoPlay A2 Active can be used with the Beoplay companion app for Android and iOS, which can be used to adjust the sound settings to your personal preference.

There’s isn’t much discernible difference between the A2 and the A2 Active, but considering the latter is the same price as the former, the Active would be the model we recommend.

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 Play BeoLit 15


The B&O Play BeoLit 15 has been discontinued now, but you can still pick one up from Amazon. It’s a square-shaped speaker that’s been designed for portable use. It often receives comparisons to a picnic hamper, which is fitting since it’s more than happy to go outdoors.

It will make any picnic sing too, thanks to a 5.5-inch full-range driver, two 4-inch passive bass radiators and three 1.5-inch tweeters. Total peak output power is rated at 240-watts, so it’s pretty powerful and it will keep on playing for up to 24 hours before the built-in battery needs a recharge. The BeoLit 15 can also be used with the Beoplay app to customise the sound to your personal tastes.

One of the biggest drawbacks to the BeoLit 15 though, is the lack of weather-proofing, which is strange considering its penchant for wanting to go outside. Nevertheless, it’s still a terrific speaker that’s capable of delivering some superb sound.

Read the full Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 review

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.

Read the full B&O Play BeoLit 17 review

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. 

B&O Play BeoPlay A6


The BeoPlay A6 is a mains-powered speaker so needs to be left in at home, but that’s no bad thing because it’s capable of delivering serious room-filling sound. It has a rather funky, unusual design, and considering its slim dimensions, B&O Play has managed to pack in two 60-watt 5.5-inch woofers, two 30-watt 0.75-inch tweeters and a 60-watt 1.5-inch full-range driver. 

The A6 can be used as part of a multi-room music system with other B&O Play and Bang & Olufsen speakers via the BeoLink platform, and music can be started instantly with the touch of a button on top. The speaker can be wall-mounted and a wide range of Kvadrat woollen covers are available to change its look.

The BeoPlay A6 is a very versatile speaker that works with a large number of streaming services, and DLNA integration means you can wirelessly stream any music files you have stored on a server or your computer. If you really enjoy your music and have it stored in a number of different libraries, the BeoPlay A6 would be an ideal speaker for your home – that said, it’s getting a little hard to find nowadays. 

Source / Pocket-lint

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