Bang & Olufsen has been producing audio and home entertainment products since 1925, some of which have achieved cult status. B&O sets the highest standards of craftsmanship and design, paired with outstanding sound characteristics.
In this test report we would like to take a closer look at the B&O BEOSOUND A1, the second generation. This is a mobile Bluetooth speaker in an elegant design with voice control and hands-free facility. The BEOSOUND A1 can be ordered directly from the B&O online shop for EUR 299. An old proverb says “Those who are spoiled for choice have a choice” and so the buyer has to choose from a selection of eight different color variants. The colors Black Anthracite, Gold Tone, Gray Mist, Green, Anthracite Oxygen, Pink, Jade Gray and Lunar Red are available. We opted for the Black Anthracite variant because it is currently available online from around EUR 195.
The second generation of the BEOSOUND A1 is very flexible. With its compact dimensions of 133 mm in diameter and a height of just 46 mm, the speaker fits in any pool bag or handbag. The speaker even fits in a normal jacket pocket. To transport the speaker from A to B, the mobile speaker has a carrying strap made of water-resistant, high-quality leather. The loop makes a very good and noble impression on us. This is combined with a plastic ring with the Bang & Olufsen logo.
To demonstrate B&O’s audio expertise, the BEOSOUND A1 has a 3.5″ tweeter and a 3×5″ woofer. The two drivers are supplied by class D amplifiers with 2 x 30 watts of power. For comparison, some mid-range soundbars have an output of 100 watts. As a result, the B&O loudspeaker should offer very good surround sound, combined with sufficient volume, powerful bass and great dynamics, according to the manufacturer. Whether this is actually the case, we will come to that later in our sound test series.
Three microphones are positioned on the top and should ensure very good voice quality for phone calls, more on that later.
An integrated high-performance battery with a capacity of 3,000 mAh enables playback times of up to 18 hours, which are very good values for such a compact speaker. Should the B&O speaker run out of juice, the speaker can be charged and operated using the USB-C cable included in the scope of delivery. Here, too, the manufacturer is generous and includes a 1.30 m long cable. As usual, there is unfortunately no power adapter included in the scope of delivery. The manufacturer states that a complete charging process takes 2.75 hours. We think it’s a shame that the BEOSOUND A1 doesn’t have a power bank function. For example, the smart device cannot be charged on the speaker.
The Copenhagen designer Cecilie Mann is responsible for the design of the B&O BEOSOUND A1. On the top, the BEOSOUND A1 presents us with solid and bead-blasted aluminum, which makes it very robust. In order to effectively protect the speaker from environmental influences or splash water from the pool, it has an IP67 certification. Even a 30-minute submersion in one meter of water cannot harm the B&O speaker. On the underside there is non-slip black plastic, which gives a solid footing.
As we have already mentioned, the Bluetooth speaker from B&O has a 3.5-inch tweeter and the low-frequency signals are processed by the 3×5-inch woofer. With a full 2×30 watts, these are supplied by Class D power amplifiers. The sound characteristics can be adjusted and changed in the B&O app, which is available free of charge. Some explanations follow in the further course of the test.
Bluetooth 5.1 technology ensures a very stable and energy-efficient connection to the smart device. Microsoft Swift Pair and Google Fast Pair are also supported, for a particularly fast connection of suitable devices. A multipoint connection is possible with a maximum of two devices.
Let’s now turn to the operation of the B&O BEOSOUND A1. We encounter numerous functional elements to the left and right of the leather loop. In the left part there are buttons for volume control and a button for pausing or starting playback. However, the latter has additional functions. Pressing it twice during playback plays the next track and pressing it three times plays the previous track. We actually assumed touch sensors here, but that’s not the case. It takes a bit of tact and practice to operate the Bluetooth speaker intuitively.
On the right side of the leather strap we locate an on/off button and a button for Bluetooth pairing. The button for the voice assistant completes the controls. If you want to use the Amazon Alexa voice control, you can activate or activate this function in the associated Alexa app.
Initial setup and app connectivity
Now we come to the initial setup of the Bang & Olufsen BEOSOUND A1. For convenient use with the smart device and to be able to use the full range of performance of the speaker, you should download the B&O app from the respective stores. We have again created numerous screenshots of the app:
After downloading and opening the app, you can register or create an account. In order to be able to use the app, an account must be created. This can be done with an Apple ID, a Google ID or a Facebook account. Of course we have to switch on the speaker for the setup.
Since the B&O app can be used for a large number of Bang & Olufsen devices, a network share must be enabled to search for suitable devices.
After we have done this and activated the Bluetooth function on our smart device, the BEOSOUND A1 is recognized immediately and the initial setup can take place.
In the next step, the software status of our test device is checked. Since a software update is available, it can be done now or later.
The name of the device can also be adapted to your own needs. This is relevant for the later display in the Bluetooth menu of the smart device.
Now we have successfully completed the initial setup of the second generation BEOSOUND A1. If you want to use the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, you can now set it up in the Amazon Alexa app.
In this step we can specify whether the app can send us push messages to be informed about software updates and much more
This overview shows the battery status of the speaker, which is only visible in the app. The battery status is not displayed on the device itself. There are also different EQ sound curves in the app: “Optimal”, “Ambient”, “Party”, “Speech” and “Favorite”. In Ambient mode, the user can intervene in the sound characteristics. In addition to the “Favorite” EQ Settings is the BEOSONIC submenu, where you can create and save an individual sound curve.
If the sound of a single BEOSOUND A1 is not enough for you, you can connect two speakers together.
The app has a fresh, attractive design and the initial setup took just a few moments. Within the main view, the battery status of the speaker is displayed to the user, and numerous pre-set EQ curves can also be called up. You can also create and save an individual sound curve. We are a little surprised about the fact that an account has to be created. If this does not happen, the app cannot be used and the full range of services of the BEOSOUND A1 cannot be used.
In this section of our test report, we would now like to go into the tonal properties of the B&O BEOSOUND A1. Since the data sheet reads very promising, we are curious what the compact speaker can offer us in terms of sound expertise. We start our sound examples with the integrated hands-free system. We understand the call with a crystal-clear quality that we have not been able to perceive with a Bluetooth loudspeaker in this price range. The voice color is not distorted and we cannot hear any annoying noise. We are also understood very well by the person called, but with clear reverberation. This leads to a point deduction.
Now we start with our music sound samples and we select the EQ sound curve “Optimal” in the B&O app. For the first title we chose “Creepin” by Metro Boomin, The Weeknd & 21 Savage. We really like using this title as it offers a wide range of RnB and pop vibes. The title starts with a choral song, which the BEOSOUND A1 can present naturally and with astonishing detail. As the vocals begin in the title, the B&O speaker presents a very airy and sensitive voice without appearing aggressive. The synthesizer effects appear clear and harmonious and are not lost in the overall playback. The rap passages of 21 Savage are also presented believably. The compact speaker also masters the extended bass passages excellently. The powerful Class D power amplifiers enable a surprisingly complete, cultivated reproduction.
It continues with Audioslave and “Show Me How to Live”. The track starts with a guitar riff and drums. The compact speaker realistically reproduces both of these and, in view of its small size, offers a rich bass reproduction. The voice of Chris Cornell, who unfortunately has already died, sounds vivid, the speaker gets along well with the different voice facets. Sometimes Chris’ voice seems very deep and then it turns into a kind of screaming song. Also worth mentioning is the very good spatial sound and the independence of the acoustic characteristics from the current position of the listener in the room.
As the next sound sample we chose “Back To You” by Lost Frequencies, Elley Duhé and X Ambassadors. The light vocals and the piano used at the beginning of the title come alive and are delivered to our listening environment with the necessary portion of feeling. The B&O loudspeaker can skillfully implement Elley’s voice, which is very high. When Sam Harris then joins in the vocal part, the speaker surprises us with a cleanly balanced vocal presence and a great three-dimensionality. We are “surprised” because we didn’t expect such a complete presentation. Overall, both voice characters are well detailed and presented with impeccable recognition value. However, the low-frequency range is not neglected by the BEOSOUND A1 either. Of course, you shouldn’t expect a bass monster here, which isn’t possible due to the size, but the compact speaker still presents us with a thoroughly powerful and precise, dry bass. In our opinion, the great strengths of the B&O speaker are not in full load operation, but rather in the medium volume segment.
We would like to conclude our sound test series with an acoustic and live version of “Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson. The title begins with a piano, which the BEOSOUND A1 can implement in a variety of ways, especially when you consider that it is a compact Bluetooth speaker. Even when Kelly starts with her unmistakable voice, we are captivated by the complex and soulful performance. The voice is successfully implemented in its broad spectrum by the loudspeaker, without neglecting the accompanying piano. Despite all the enthusiasm, the small B&O speaker naturally does not replace a high-quality hi-fi system, even in smaller rooms. But it is impressive how sophisticated a mobile, flexible small active speaker can be in terms of sound.
The second generation of the Bang & Olufsen BEOSOUND A1 is a mobile Bluetooth speaker with an elegant design, which has modern features thanks to voice control, hands-free equipment and 360° sound characteristics. It can be ordered directly from the B&O online shop for EUR 299. A total of eight different color variants are available. There are the color variants Black Anthracite, Gold Tone, Gray Mist, Green, Anthracite Oxygen, Pink, Jade Gray and Lunar Red.
With its compact dimensions of 133 mm in diameter and a height of just 46 mm, the BEOSOUND A1 is the perfect companion for holidays or the swimming pool. The integrated battery with a capacity of 3,000 mAh enables playback times of up to 18 hours, which are very good values for a mobile speaker. The manufacturer states that a complete charging process takes 2.75 hours. We think it’s a shame that the BEOSOUND A1 doesn’t have a power bank function. For example, the smart device cannot be charged on the speaker.
The BEOSOUND A1 has a 3.5″ tweeter and a 3×5″ woofer. Powerful Class D amplifiers with 2 x 30 watts of power supply the two loudspeaker chassis. In our sound test series, the Bluetooth speaker was able to convince with a very spatial and multi-faceted reproduction. The speaker presented us with a powerful and homogeneous sound, especially at medium volume levels. At higher levels, however, there is a lack of housing volume.
When it came to processing, the B&O speaker was able to completely convince us. There is solid and bead-blasted aluminum on the top, which makes the speaker very robust. In order to effectively protect the speaker from environmental influences or splash water from the pool, it has an IP67 certification. Even a 30-minute submersion in about one meter deep water cannot harm the B&O speaker. On the underside there is non-slip black plastic, which gives the speaker the necessary stability even on the desk.
Three microphones are positioned on the upper side, which provided a very good reproduction quality of the caller during telephone calls, but our voice was heard with a clear reverberation.
Very well made, elegant and compact Bluetooth speaker with excellent sound properties.
- +Great sound quality
- +Lightweight design
- –Flawed Alexa support
- –Not good enough for outdoor use
- –Buttons are tricky to find