Danish brand Bang & Olufsen has announced the Beosound A1 Bluetooth speaker, the first Bluetooth-only speaker to feature Alexa voice assistance.
Despite the slight change in name, the BeoSound A1 (£200) is the sequel to the Beoplay A1 speaker, and features a number of design and performance improvements over the original.
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It is a world first in that it is the first Bluetooth-only voice assistant speaker. Usually, Alexa speakers connect to Wi-Fi (and therefore the internet) to deliver responses to a user’s queries. The Beosound side-steps this by delivering Alexa through the Bluetooth connection to your phone. Clever.
The elegant design of the original has been refined, with the new A1 7% lighter and the speaker’s leather strap tweaked to ensure more options for hanging the speaker. The buttons have been redesigned with bigger, clearer icons; as well as being repositioned closer to the leather strap for easier access. The LED indicator has been moved to the top of the speaker so it can be better seen from all angles.
The insides have been re-done too, with the 3.5-inch mid-woofer and 3/4-inch tweeter redesigned for clearer, 360-degree sound. The relatively new aptX Adaptive codec is supported for, what we hope, is a consistently strong wireless performance. The A1 also supports Bluetooth 5.1.
Battery life has been boosted to a massive 18 hours at typical listening volumes compared to the original’s now meagre looking 4 hours. Playback at lower volumes will bring out around 48 hours of listening time.
Fancy having a bath along with the speaker? Well you can with the speaker’s IP67 certification that means it can withstand exposure to water at 1m deep for 30 mins. If you’re taking it to beach (which seems more likely), the Beosound can withstand sand and dirt without getting into trouble.
Also tucked inside the speaker is a 3-microphone array for improved call quality when the speaker is used as a speakerphone. Microsoft Swift Pair and Google Fast Pair support mean the speaker can be set up quickly for voice calls.
The B&O Beosound A1 comes in two finishes (Black Anthracite and Grey Mist), and is available to purchase for £200/€250 from select retailers and B&O stores now.