When it comes to smart speakers, we’ve been spoiled by just how inexpensive they are. Amazon managed to slash £60 off the price of its second-generation Echo, and Google Home goes for a not-unreasonable £130. Yes, Apple pushed things higher with the £350 Apple HomePod, but if you think that’s pricey, then prepare your wallet for some bad news before reading on.
Back at CES, the audiophiles at Bang & Olufsen revealed they would be releasing a pair of Google Assistant-powered smart speakers later in the year, and now we have some more details of what they’ll look like and when they’re out.
Related: Amazon Echo vs Google Home
But before all that: the price. The BeoSound 1 – a portable speaker that can run off a battery – comes in at $1750 (~£1360). The BeoSound 2 which requires a constant connection to the mains in order to “produce its vigorous output of excellent sound” costs $2250 (~£1750).
In other words, one BeoSound 2 speaker costs around the same as five Apple HomePods. Or 19 Amazon Echos.
Of course, Bang & Olufsen would no doubt argue that the speaker is worth the extra because it provides hitherto unheard of smart speaker sound quality. We can’t really comment on that until we put them through an ear test of our own, though the non-smart version of the BeoSound 1 sounded decent enough when we reviewed it back in 2017.
This time, of course, the speakers will pack Google Assistant, which means you can use Spotify, Google Play Music, as well as Chromecast and AirPlay 2 to get the best out of your new pride and joy.
B&O says the speakers will contain five microphones with echo-cancelling technology. The idea here is that Google Assistant will always be able to hear you, even if it’s blasting out music at top volume. We’d have to try it in person to see how well it works in practice, but it would certainly get around one of the annoyances of our current crop of smart speakers.
The BeoSound 1 will arrive in “key markets” in September, with the larger BeoSound 2 due to arrive the following month.
Would you spend this much on a smart speaker? Let us know what you think on Twitter @TrustedReviews.