B&O has unveiled its latest multiroom speaker, the Beosound 1, at IFA 2016 and we've been hands-on
At first glance, you could almost mistake Bang & Olufsen’s new Beosound 1 for an abstract sculpture – or a slightly strange Thermos flask, depending on your point of view. But inside this tiny aluminium cone lies a surprisingly powerful 360-degree, portable multiroom speaker.
It’s a gorgeous bit of design, measuring 327mm high and 161.8mm in diameter, and its controls are all hidden away on the top touch-sensitive panel. Simply tap it to power on, and then swipe left or right to change track. What’s more, thanks to its built-in proximity sensor, it always knows where you are in relation to the speaker, allowing you to swipe from any angle and still change track correctly. To adjust the volume, just turn the sturdy mechanical wheel at the very top.
Of course, since the Beosound 1 slots into B&O’s multiroom line-up, you can also control it via your smartphone with the BeoMusic app. From here, you can also access additional streaming services such as Deezer, Spotify Connect, TuneIn Radio and QQMusic, and it also supports AirPlay, Google Cast, DLNA and Bluetooth 4.1, so there are plenty of options when you come to playing music.
The Beosound 1’s battery life looks impressive, too, with B&O claiming up to 16 hours at a moderate listening volume. This will drop to around four hours at high volume, but that should still last you well into the evening if you’re throwing a party.
Inside, you’ll find a 1.5in full-range driver in the top portion of the speaker, and a 4in bass driver at the bottom. Combined, the BeoSound 1 has a frequency response of 35–24,300 Hz, and the results were very impressive during my hands-on time with it. No matter where I positioned myself in the room, the music kept coming from all angles, delivering clear, precise audio with a palpable bass throughout the demo apartment.
I particularly like the small groove separating the two drivers, as from a distance, it looks like the top section is floating in mid-air above the main unit. Look closely, though, and you’ll see a small connecting strip holding each part together. However, it’s extremely subtle and is barely noticeable from across the room. The groove also makes it easy to transport around your home: simply slot your hand underneath the top section and lift it with three fingers. At 3.5kg, it’s not exactly featherweight, but it’s still light enough to confidently hoist from one room to another.
However, if you’re expecting a small price to go with its equally petite dimensions, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Available now for £995, this tiny speaker will make a surprisingly large dent in your wallet. Of course, we’ll put it through its paces in the coming weeks once review samples are available, so check back soon to see whether it’s worth the investment.