One look at Bang & Olufsen’s recently unveiled BeoSound Shape modular wall audio system, and it was hard not to imagine the beehive configuration as a chorus of portable speakers. Alas, the hexagonal array weren’t removable to move and use as individual portable speakers as one might hope (we tried!). Instead, you’ll have to look to their more youthful imprint, B&O Play, for their latest portable option: the Beoplay P2.
Backpack/purse sized portability: check. Splash and dust resistant case: check. Crisp audio output: check. Bluetooth connectivity: check. 10 hour playback: check. Distinct modern Danish industrial design: check. Button and switch controls: ….ahem.
The absence of controls is completely intentional, and B&O Play’s reductive design is the Beoplay P2’s most distinct feature: there’s no physical controls blemishing the profile of this perforated palm-sized pebble (say that 3x fast) besides a subtle power button on the back, lanyard loop, and perpetually agape USB-C port. Everything else one might expect adorning a portable speaker has been reassigned to shake and tap gesture control (customizable using the Beoplay App), in essence making the entire speaker one giant touch device despite the absence of a screen.
A quick shake or an double tap will activate Beoplay P2’s smart features. Play, pause or skip tracks, launch your favorite personal assistant or get Beoplay App to wake you up with the same music you were listening to yesterday evening.
B&O Play’s novel portable speaker is available now in Sand Stone, Black, and Royal Blue and priced at $169, inviting anyone who has ever wanted a piece of the storied Danish electronics-design brand a wallet-friendly entry point.