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Beoplay A1 Review: This Bluetooth Speaker Sounds Even Better Than It Looks

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Last month, B&O PLAY announced the Beoplay A1, the latest portable Bluetooth speaker in its family of luxury home audio products. B&O PLAY is a brand subsidiary of Danish high-end audio and video manufacturer Bang & Olufsen, known for its principled attention to design (which some say inspired Apple).

We decided to take a look at the A1 ultraportable speaker to see if the device justifies its $249 price tag, which places it at the premium end of the Bluetooth speaker market.


Design

Taking the A1 out of the box, the first thing that strikes you is the compactness of the unit relative to its weight. At about 1.3 pounds (600 grams), it's not the lightest ultraportable speaker by any means, but its beautifully minimalist 'hockey puck' design feels disarmingly slight, partly thanks to designer Cecilie Manz's decision to embed the power, volume, play/pause, and pairing controls around the rim, with the attached leather strap adding a touch of surfer appeal.

The polymer base has a suede-like finish that ensures the 2-inch (51 mm) tall A1 sits happily on most surfaces, and its 5-inch (133 mm) diameter means it's possible to grasp the grilled dome from above and pick up with one hand. The unit sits snugly in the larger pockets of a raincoat, but trying to fit it in a light jacket pocket may present more of a challenge.


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Article Link: Beoplay A1 Review: This Bluetooth Speaker Sounds Even Better Than It Looks
 

blasto2236

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
794
390
I really like the looks of this, and at $250 it's not really any more expensive than say, a Beats Pill. I'd love to hear the sound on one for myself before dropping that kind of $$$ though. Hopefully these will start showing up in Best Buy or something where I can try before I buy.
 
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Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502
Jan 28, 2011
487
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I really like the looks of this, and at $250 it's not really any more expensive than say, a Beats Pill. I'd love to hear the sound on one for myself before dropping that kind of $$$ though. Hopefully these will start showing up in Best Buy or something where I can try before I buy.
If it's close to what other small B&O speakers are like, I'm sure it will be fantastic. I've got the B&O H6 headset, and it's genuinely the best I've owned - I prefer them over my 5.1 speaker system for music. :)
 
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munishp

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2015
58
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$249 for mono sound? Pass.

For an audiophile it might be an issue, but then again you would prob not use Bluetooth to stream music. Personally, having had the little speaker for over a month, I was really impressed with the sound you can pick up through this thing. The app is good and really does make a difference in the output. Only downfalls would be the fact there is no pouch for it and battery life is not as long as I would like. Everything else is brilliant.
 
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Aston441

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Sep 16, 2014
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Can you please do a real objective test of the microphone with frequency response curves if possible? I spent $200 on the Bose and the mic is a piece of junk.

Hopefully Amazon will add speakerphone capability to the Echo soon and then I can just use that. The Echo has an AMAZING mic.
 
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munishp

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2015
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Can you please do a real objective test of the microphone with frequency response curves if possible? I spent $200 on the Bose and the mic is a piece of junk.

Hopefully Amazon will add speakerphone capability to the Echo soon and then I can just use that. The Echo has an AMAZING mic.
The mic is not the best but I did not purchase it for that. It does the job when required but it thou are reliant on conference calls etc go for Bose. Echo is not available for us in the UK at the moment. If you want great sound, adaptable app that tunes your music and beautiful design and portability, then go for the A1
 
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ke-iron

macrumors 65816
Aug 14, 2014
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This company do make fantastic products, Apple would have benifited from purchasing this company. A lot of their products are also home automation capable. All Apple would have to do is integrate their HomeKit into it. But the biggest challenge would be to bring the prices down a bit, because some of their higher end tv's and speakers are really expensive and that's where the problem is.
 
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ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
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Nice design but overall it sounds as if a Bose Soundlink, to name a popular Bluetooth product, runs rings around it.
 
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djcerla

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2015
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Yeah, off topic and personal attack, nice addition to the conversation.

That was no personal attack whatsoever; I'm only thankful your line of thinking isn't that of Apple's board.

And no problems in elaborating.

Beats wasn't bought for its hardware division; that was just a very nice bonus that will soon pay back the whole investment.However, Beats brought in an already functioning streaming service, and most of all, contacts in the industry and human skills. For one, even Bozoma Saint-John, the lady who killed it in her keynote segment, was hired by Iovine before the acquisition. Beats 1 sums up the expertise Apple bought with Beats. You can't find anything remotely similar on Earth; it's the new reference for radio shows, so it gets all the previews.

Bang&Olufsen had been good for what? For a Mac 40th Anniversary Edition? ;)

 
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ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
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That was no personal attack whatsoever; I'm only thankful your line of thinking isn't that of Apple's board.

And no problems in elaborating.

Beats wasn't bought for its hardware division; that was just a very nice bonus that will soon pay back the whole investment.However, Beats brought in an already functioning streaming service, and most of all, contacts in the industry and human skills. For one, even Bozoma Saint-John, the lady who killed it in her keynote segment, was hired by Iovine before the acquisition. Beats 1 sums up the expertise Apple bought with Beats. You can't find anything remotely similar on Earth; it's the new reference for radio shows, so it gets all the previews.

Bang&Olufsen had been good for what? For a Mac 40th Anniversary Edition? ;)

Thanks. I am simply saying that any comments that are supposed to make somebody else look silly or have nothing to do in the discussion are left out. Wether or not somebody would belong on Apple's board is off topic and to imply a person would be a bad influence on that company is guessing, at best.
Also, Beats are not topic of this discussion, neither is the purchase of that company. We have learned that you like streaming radio though, thanks for that.
Now back to this speaker please.
 
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teslo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2014
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Nice design but overall it sounds as if a Bose Soundlink, to name a popular Bluetooth product, runs rings around it.

this is the comparison i'm looking for. anyone have an opinion? i think you can get the sound link minis for $170 now, and i still can't see needing much improvement on what it offers as far as volume and sound quality for the price.
 
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ericwn

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Apr 24, 2016
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My wife uses the first generation Soundlink, at least I think it's the first, and is very happy with it. Comes with a nice charging dock and runs for hours on its build in battery. Bose sells silicon cases in different colours if you want to prevent scratches. Also, I found this hint somewhere on Amazon, there is a small camera bag from Lowe that fits the Soundlink exactly, if you want to travel with it. Cost me 13$ somewhere in a camera store. :)
 
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M. Gustave

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Jun 6, 2015
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this is the comparison i'm looking for. anyone have an opinion? i think you can get the sound link minis for $170 now, and i still can't see needing much improvement on what it offers as far as volume and sound quality for the price.

Bose Soundlink mini is excellent, and so is the Sony SRS-X3 (may be discontinued?). The Sony could easily be my only "stereo" in a smaller apartment. It has decent stereo separation, and shockingly full sound.
 
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MH01

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