B&O BeoSound A1 (Gen 2)

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) challenges the prevailing trend of rapidly iterated tech products by taking their time and only releasing a successor to the original A1 after 4 whole years. This deliberate approach is a breath of fresh air. Bang & Olufsen, known for its distinctive and unconventional offerings, has earned a reputation for delivering premium and innovative products. Does the Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) live up to this reputation? In this review, we find out!

Build Quality / Design

The Beosound A1 design is portable, but also beautiful in it’s simple pebble-like form. Its pearl-blasted aluminum chassis is available in a range of colorways, and exudes sophistication and craftsmanship. The included USB-C charging cable complements the design with tactile rubber, further cementing the high-end feel. The control arrangement has been thoughtfully improved, featuring larger buttons clearly labeled for ease of use. Placed closer to the leather strap, the buttons offer a more intuitive control experience. On the leather strap there is an updated tubular metal slider which fixes some issues users reported with the old design.

The Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) impresses not only with its design but also with its build quality. Achieving an IP67 rating, the speaker is now water- and dust-proof, making it a truly usable option for various environments including outdoor activities. The rating ensures it can withstand submersion in water up to one meter deep for 30 minutes which is far more that a speaker can ever be realistically expected to endure. The profile is compact and lightweight enough to easily be slid into a backpack, but it would turn into a bit of a wrecking ball if hung on the outside while walking due to the heavy metal construction… Overall, the Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) successfully balances design aesthetics with practical features, making it a well-rounded package for those wanting something feeling a bit more high-end than a typical BT speaker. 

Sound Quality

The Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) offers an impressive sound performance for its size. The speaker’s midrange is clear and precise, providing clear detailed sound that B&O is known for. Bass is tight, controlled, but reaches SHOCKINGLY deep for the size of speaker, easily keeping up with larger form-factor competitors. That being said, the A1 prioritizes accuracy over sheer bass volume, so true bass-heads may want to look elsewhere. But those prioritizing accuracy of reproduction will be pleasantly surprised with the rich, detailed low-end information this speaker provides.

What sets the Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) apart is its ability to maintain Bang & Olufsen’s trademark sound profile despite its compact size. Many smaller Bluetooth speakers compromise on audio quality, either overemphasizing the midrange or introducing harsh treble in an attempt to compensate for their limitations. The A1 remained balanced and clean throughout all volume settings.

In terms of overall output, the A1 did lag behind some other competitors in the same price range such as those from UE and JBL. However, if you’re looking for sound quality, I think that the A1 takes the cake. It may not be the best choice in scenarios where volume and primarily outdoor use are paramount, but for controlled environments or intimate settings, it’s the option I would choose.

Final Word

The Beosound A1 proves good things are worth the wait. Its elegant and sophisticated design, thoughtfully improved control arrangement, and water-and dust-proof construction add practicality to this already compelling package.

When it comes to sound quality, the Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) impressed with its precise and balanced audio reproduction, faithfully capturing vocals, instruments, and intricate details across various genres. Bang & Olufsen’s ability to maintain its signature sound profile in a compact form factor sets this speaker apart from others in its category.

Ultimately, the Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) stands out as a compelling choice for those seeking a premium and great sounding portable speaker in this price range and is absolutely worth a listen. 

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