Review Price £699.00
B&O Play Beolit 12 - Sound and Verdict
Around the back of the Beolit 12, there's a flap that opens-up to reveal the power socket, Ethernet port and an empty expanse. At first we assumed this is where the battery would go, but Bang & Olufsen corrected us - the battery is built-in and non-removable.
This recess is to store the power cable and any iOS connection cables you may want to stash. We're not entirely sure whether there's enough room in there to fit the chunky UK plug though - and neither was the B&O representative. A potential iceberg on the horizon here, folks.
Behind the aluminium grille, the B&O Play Beolit 12 packs three drivers, two 2in tweeters and a 4in mid-range driver/sub. The amp powering the show is a 120W class D model, more powerful than the 90W Arcam rCube.
The sound is more powerful too. While the Beolit 12 boasts a sweet and smooth top-end, there's a decent amount of bass welly given the fairly small size of its drivers. This is certainly one of the best portable iPhone speakers of this size we've heard - but then again it's also the most expensive. By quite a long way. And at this size, it's no suprise its sound of of sub-audiophile quality, with a fairly "scooped" sound, seemingly lacking mid-range presence in our demo.
We'll be back with more sound impressions of the Beolit 12 in our full review, but it's a given that any buyers will have to swallow the truth that the price-to-sound equation here will never quite add up. After all, this speaker costs twice the price of the Bose SoundDock, and Bose is not renowned for its bargain-tastic prices.
From our brief time with the Beolit 12, we preferred its slightly brighter sound signature to Bose's warm thuddy style, but there are a lot more top contenders in the portable speaker game than just these two. We'll be back with more on the B&O Play Beolit 12 in our full review.
A classy design packed with thoughtful touches, the B&O Play Beolit 12 will kindle gadget lust in a way very few portable speakers manage. But at what price? Selling for £699, it costs more than the top-end Bose SoundDock 10, and twice the price of the Arcam rCube. As lovely as it may be, the B&O Play range isn't going to open up the Bang & Olufsen to the masses with the Beolit 12.