Bang & Olufsen has a reputation for making pretty and pricey speakers, so when we saw they were releasing a new generation of portable Bluetooth speakers just in time for summer, naturally we were curious.
In this review, I’ll go hands-on with the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) to see how it sounds, what it’s best for, and if I can recommend it to you. And because it’s supposed to be waterproof, I even threw it in a pool for you.
- Beautiful design
- Great sound quality
- Good battery life
- Built-in speakerphone
- Support for Google & Alexa
- Needs to dry thoroughly if it gets wet
- Bass is only average
The Beosound A1 2nd Gen is a puck-shaped, battery-powered portable Bluetooth speaker, designed for 360-degree sound. It’s waterproof and dustproof, rated IP67 meaning it will hold up to the elements and can even take being dunked in a meter of water for up to half an hour. This speaker is made to fill rooms from about 50-300 square feet.
In terms of audio power, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen has:
- A 3.5″ Woofer
- A 3/5″ Tweeter
- Two 30W Class D Woofers and Tweeters.
Bang & Olufsen A1 gives you about 18 hours on a charge, and I can confirm that duration; I was easily able to listen for a few hours here and there, and only needed to recharge once in my testing period. Recharging was about average: I was back up to full power in two hours.
The metal build, silicone edging, and leather carrying strap are all well crafted. While I certainly wouldn’t want to drop this speaker, as I do fear it would end up with a wicked dent, it feels hefty and durable. While it may end up uglier after a backyard mishap, I think the music would probably live on.
Getting the Bang & Olufsen A1 2nd Gen set up and connected was fast and easy. So if you’re struggled with connecting your devices to a Bluetooth speaker in the past, that won’t be an issue here.
Hit the Bluetooth button and look for the blue light, then navigate to your phone’s Bluetooth menu and tap to hook up. You can also use the Bang & Olufsen app where you can see detailed battery life, get remote controls, change audio presets or create a stereo pair.
The sound quality is quite enjoyable; it’s powerful for its size and is quite well balanced and the bass is pretty good too; not as strong or clubby as some other speakers, but it’s something most of us would be happy with. Out in the yard, I found that this speaker was really good at filling the entire space with sound.
I tried listening to a variety of music both indoors and out in the yard. I was pretty happy with both experiences. The thinner bass is definitely noticeable on rap or hip-hop-type tracks, but I think the average person who just wants a handy travel speaker would probably not miss it terribly.
With a built-in microphone, you can manage speakerphone calls from this speaker too. Call quality is pretty good too, and this speaker allows you to move around hands-free on those endless conference calls.
Because this portable speaker is IP67 water and dust rated, I was able to use the A1 2nd Gen by the pool without any worry of mishaps. At least, in theory.
Of course, to test that theory, I dropped it in the pool to see what would happen. This speaker doesn’t float, so beware if you are near deep water. We know you might normally be nervous to throw your new $300 Bluetooth smart speaker into a pool, but that’s what SPY.com is for. On the whole, we were impressed with this speakers water resistance.
I did notice, however, the speaker came out of the water sounding a bit buzzy, like the water was blocking everything. I tried drying the speaker myself quickly, but when playing music it just continued to sound muffled and hollow. I decided to leave the speaker for a while to dry naturally and see if things improved. In the end, the A1 took an hour to return to normal sound outputs, after it had dried off thoroughly.
In that sense, I would definitely say that it passes the pool test, although you should avoid submerging it in water completely.
Bang & Olufsen A1 2nd Gen is a really nice speaker that checks a lot of the portable wireless speaker boxes. It looks cool and I’m really enjoying the new green hue. The A1 sounds great, it’s very portable, it’s waterproof, rugged, and can be linked up to Google or Alexa, if you want. The battery life on it will also mean you can take it away for a weekend and leave the charger at home.
The downsides? The bass is a tad thinner but it’s not enough of an issue to keep me from recommending it. There is also the issue of the speaker needing to dry out after total immersion.
So, Should You Buy It?
In short, yes. I can absolutely recommend the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen to you if you’re looking for a new portable Bluetooth speaker.
What are the Alternatives?
Bang & Olufsen Explore
Bang & Olufsen Explore is the cousin to the A1. Also waterproof and dustproof, at IP67 this one is meant to be more rugged, for taking along on outdoor adventures. It’s the size and shape of a soda can, so it’s hyper-portable
If you’re jonesing for more bass, consider Sony’s EXTRA BASS power in the XB43. It’s also IP67 waterproof and dustproof but this one has 24 hours of battery life.
Tribit StormBox Pro
This inexpensive speaker has surprising volume and sound quality. The Tribit StormBox has full, 360° sound, and it’s IP67 water and dust rated, for poolside or lakeside.
JBL Flip 6
This new version of the popular JBL Flip line gets great reviews all the way around. Plus it’s ultra-affordable.