Beoplay A1: as much style and power you can put into a device of its size

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One of the best looking portable speakers I’ve seen, the Beoplay A1 packs a huge punch for such a small, lightweight body. While great on the ears and eyes, there seems to be some elements Bang and Olufsen didn’t include in favour of design.

At just 600g and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the Beoplay A1 has two 30W class D amps, a 280W peak power, one 3/4” tweeter and 3.5” full driver units inside and its frequency ranges from 60 to 24.000 Hz. It certainly lives up to its price tag in terms of sound quality.

As for its looks, I would definitely approach it at a bar, but it seems to replace functionality with stlye in some areas. The aluminium top looks clean and feels great while the rubber base stops it from slipping and sliding around.

That’s all fine and dandy; however the six buttons on the side of the device are very small and hard to make out. On top of that, they’re more squishy than clicky, you question if you’ve actually pressed the button when changing the volume for example.

It’d be improved if there was a small indent or distinctive feature on one of the buttons that lets me know where the ‘volume up’ button is for example. My usual speaker has an indent on the ‘volume up’ button and uses a different texture for the ‘on/ off’ which lets me control it without looking much.

I had to keep checking the speaker to make sure I was hitting the right control – pretty much one of the biggest first world problems you can have.

Bluetooth connectivity is great. Bang and Olufsen doesn’t specify the maximum distance but I hadn’t come across any loss in connection or music breaking up when I walked into another room.

In terms of battery life, it’s not as if I’m able to play it at max volume for as a long as possible in the name of a ManSpace review (I have these things called neighbours who have to sleep, lame right?) so I’ll have to go off trusty Google. Out of reviews I’ve seen, each one debunks the ‘24 hour battery life’ claim, some saying that at max volume it only lasts around three hours and medium levels for around 18 hours.

All in all, I’d recommend the Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A1 if you’re into attractive speakers that sound as good as they look. If you’re more interested in functionality and believe you can match the sound quality in as small a device, be my guest.

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