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B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker revealed with massive 24 hour battery life

Tom Morgan
23 Oct 2014
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Extra long battery life and signature sound quality should give the A2 a boost over the competition, according to B&O

Bang & Olufsen has this morning extended its more consumer-friendly B&O Play range with the A2, a portable Bluetooth speaker designed to pack a punch despite its compact size. Launched the same week as rival Bowers and Wilkins' T7 speaker, the A2 is certainly going up against stiff competition, but the most affordable B&O speaker to date also looks like a serious improvement over other Bluetooth portables. We got the change to put one through its paces ahead of launch, in order to bring you some first impressions.

Designed by Cecilie Manz, the industrial designer behind the Beolit 12 Airplay speaker, the B&O Play A2 is larger than the average compact speaker but still small enough to carry around. It's more than a little reminiscent of a clutch bag or purse, with a leather carry handle on one side which can be exchanged for a shoulder strap, and at 1.1kg it's not particularly heavy either. Built from polycarbonate plastic, with an aluminium strip circling the entire unit, it looks slick yet minimal in either black, green or grey. Physical power and volume keys on the top are machined out of metal to match the aluminium trim, which comes in complimentary colours to match the speaker itself.

As well as less-lossy aptX Bluetooth 4.0 wireless, with the ability to pair two devices simultaneously for party mixes, there's a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input at the side and a USB port for powering your smartphone when you're streaming. Once connected, it should ensure ensure your phone doesn't run out of charge before the speaker does. B&O says it should last an incredible 24 hours on a single charge when playing wirelessly, and can recharge a smartphone to full while still having enough juice in reserve to keep playing music.

Inside, the extra space is put to good use with two 3in bass radiator drivers and two 3/4in tweeter drivers, backed up by three Class D amplifiers. The drivers point outwards on both sides, which Bang and Olufsen says creates a true 360-degree sphere of sound. While we could hear a slight difference with the speaker firing away from us at juts a few feet away, it was suitable immersive and certainly beats single direction Bluetooth speakers we've seen in the past when it comes to filling a room with music.

In terms of sound quality, the B&O Play A2 certainly punches above its weight. We got to try a selection of our own tracks, and whether we chose rock, heavy electronica or delicate acoustic songs, it produced startlingly clear and precise audio. The mid-range in particular sounded crisp and clean, but the high-end was able to produce the details we expect to hear from cymbals and snares and the bass was surprisingly powerful for a compact speaker. We certainly weren't left wanting for volume, as we easily filled our meeting room with sound at a little over two thirds volume - which suggests the A2 could be ideal for garden parties or larger locations as well as indoor listening.

As you might expect for a B&O product, the A2 carries a premium price; it should be going on sale from today onwards for £299. That's significantly more than most Bluetooth speakers, but we don't feel as though customers will be paying for brand name alone - it has serious sound credentials to back it up.

The A2 will be available directly from Bang & Olufsen as well as from retail partners both online and on the high street. We're hoping to give one a full review soon.

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