Portable wireless speakers have become the standard for many homes. After all, if you’re not ready to invest in a premium home theatre system, chances are a wireless system or speaker will fill the void until you are. That’s why companies from basic to elite are offering portable options. But more than just a compact size, you want a small speaker that will sound good, be able to fill a room, and give you true-to-life audio. Bang & Olufsen (or B&O for short) have entered this market with some portable wireless speakers that not only aim to look cool but sound great too. I recently received a test sample of the B&O Beoplay A2 speaker for testing and review in my home.
What is the Beoplay A2?
Weighing in at 1.1 kg or just over two pounds, the B&O Beoplay A2 is a small and compact speaker, though it still has enough heft to make the unit feel powerful, not cheap.
The speaker is about the size and thickness of a hardcover book, and indeed you could easily slide it out of the way and not have it noticed on your bookshelf if that’s what you want. A thin but sturdy leather carrying strap hangs from one end of the speaker, making it easily portable.
The speaker can be plugged in to AC power or disconnected to run wirelessly, providing up to 24 hours of battery life, according to Bang & Olufsen.
Setting up B&O Beoplay A2 wireless speaker
Readers may know that I’m a stickler for the setup. When a device requires too much fiddling and nitpicking it’s frustrating for the customer. When setup is easy and straightforward and happens quickly, it provides a great user experience right from the get-go.
With the Beoplay A2 speaker setup happened in seconds. And that’s no exaggeration.
Though the test sample I had to came with no instructions, I was able to figure out what needed to happen and make it work anyway.
In essence you simply push the Bluetooth pairing button (which is one of only a couple of buttons on the device) and that puts it into pairing mode. From there, access your smart phone’s Bluetooth menu where you should see this speaker appear. Once you connected via Bluetooth you can immediately use your phone or tablet’s native music app to begin playing tunes.
I could not be more impressed at how easy this speaker was to set up. This device is going to be absolutely perfect for technology neophytes or for busy professionals who can’t be bothered fussing with a complicated set up or extra apps that are sometimes required to play music on external speakers. (I’m not naming names.)
In fact, that’s a feature I really, really loved about this speaker. I really dislike needing extra apps that must then access my own music library (often copying it over into their platform) in order to play music. I love the freedom of being able to continue to use the music app I’m familiar with to connect to this speaker.
With that said, there is a free Beoplay app you can download and use if you want to or need to. I did download and attempt to use this app, but it was unable to find my speaker. Since I didn’t need it to enjoy my music, I didn’t bother fiddling with the app.
How does Beoplay A2 Bluetooth speaker sound?
With the speaker quickly set up I was able to appreciate the sound immediately. One of the selling features of this speaker is what Bang and Olufsen call 360° sound. In essence this means you can place the speaker in the middle of a room and get sound from all sides. This feature works because they are speakers embedded in both sides of the device; in both hardcovers of the book, if you will.
When placed in the middle of the room it’s definitely noticeable that there is sound everywhere. I walked around the device over and over and got a good strong sound with no dead spots. With some unidirectional speakers they must be placed carefully in the room to avoid dead spots. With the Beoplay A2 there is a much less noticeable gap in the sound profile in the room.
I tested a variety of music on this speaker, in several rooms, and at a variety of volume levels.
In my home office, the sound was rich and full and the bass was noticeable. At a background level of volume, the sound was great. IN my open kitchen-living room, the speaker was easily able to fill the space.
I seemed to detect a bit of distortion in the high end at higher volumes, but only with some songs. Daft Punk’s Get Lucky sounded smooth and poppy without any fuzz, while the treble on Olly Murs Troublemaker and Train’s Hey, Soul Sister sounded a touch harsh and moderately scratchy at times. Matthew Good’s Rico which has that scratchier, tinny-er, high-hat lean sounded just ok by comparison.
The bass on Warren G’s Regulate was thumping and the sound clear even at two-thirds volume, nearly unbearable in my small room. The track vibrated the desk and had me grooving while pecking out my review.
Overall, I was pleased with the sound. While a couple of tracks didn’t sound their best, overall the bass was strong and the sound was great.
- Audio specs:
- 180 W peak power provided by 2×30 W digital class D amplifiers
- 2×3” full-range drivers
- 2 x 3/4′ tweeters
- 2×3” passive bass radiators
- Cabinet principle: Balanced passive bass radiators
Multiple users & easy reconnection
The Beoplay A2 speaker can manage up to eight users, which again, is much more than standard for a speaker of this type. The speaker will remember the users and their devices, though depending who’s been playing music on it last, you may need to reconnect to the device by tapping the Bluetooth connection again on your smartphone.
Long lasting battery on Beoplay A2
I love that this speaker doesn’t need recharging as often as other speakers I’ve tested previously (and own). I was able to keep the speaker on my desk and didn’t need to find another plug in my outlet-challenged home office during my testing.
This speaker would be ideal for outdoor use since you can take it anywhere and still get a connection via Bluetooth, and not need to worry about extension cords or dying batteries. The speaker is splash and dust resistant, though B&O’s website doesn’t state an IP rating (What’s an IP rating? Click here to read more.)
Streaming quality via Bluetooth
The Bluetooth 4.0 signal is strong with the Beoplay A2. I carried my phone all over my bungalow’s main level, and into rooms both near to the speaker and on the other side of the house. My main level is about a thousand square feet and I didn’t have signal breakup once.
Moving into the basement, the signal remained strong. It wasn’t until I went to the opposite end of the house on the lower level that the signal even started to cut out. The performance was downright impressive.
Overall review of Bang & Olufsen B&O Beoplay A2
I really loved this speaker. From the super easy set up, to the slimline looks and the great sound there was really nothing I didn’t like.
The Bluetooth signal was outstanding and meant I could use the device all over my house, and the amazing 24 hour battery life means it doesn’t need charging nearly as often as most other portable wireless speakers.
While the B&O proprietary Beoplay app didn’t work for me, I didn’t care since I was able to use my Apple Music App to stream my sound.
In short, if you’re looking for a portable wireless speaker with great battery life, a strong Bluetooth signal, cool looks and great sound, get thee to a Best Buy store immediately, because you’ve found the total package in the Beoplay A2.
You’ll find many portable speakers to compare online at Bestbuy.ca