With its tanned leather strap and 10″ x 5.6″ muted green, grey, and black polycarbonate-ABS polymer grilles on each side, the svelte B&O BeoPlay A2 could be mistaken for a compact dopp kit or a clutch purse at quick glance. The 2.5 pound design is intentionally similar to those two carry-alls, with portability a key feature for Bang and Olufsen’s wireless Bluetooth speaker compared to competing box or rectilinear shaped audio devices. This device not only wants to be carried around, it demands to be seen.
Available in three colors, the Green and Grey models are remarkably beautiful objects designed by Bang & Olufsen’s Cecilie Manz (the same designer behind another unique portable, the picnic basket-shaped Beolit 12), with a profile harkening back to the smaller 1963 Telefunken transistor radio designed by Richard Sapper.
A third all-black option is the least interesting of the three colorways, the beautiful contrast detailing of the other two color designs’ polycarbonate-ABS polymer grille and waistband of tinted aluminum neutralized, somehow looking a little more plastic and less premium.
Regardless of color, the insides of all three models are the same: a 3″ full-range driver and a ¾” tweeter are driven by three Class D amplifiers for up to 180-watt power, somehow engineered to eke out an impressive 24-hour Li-ion battery life between USB charging. Connectivity via Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX (an upgraded audio codec compression algorithm compared to vanilla Bluetooth wireless) provides the wireless option, while an audio line-in and USB charging port eliminates concerns of running out of battery power or wireless interference during playback. B&O engineers also integrated what they call true360, an omnidirectional sound field technology which provides a consistent audio experience in all directions.
Like most everything Bang & Olufsen, even their youth oriented B&O Play portable audio speaker screams premium, reflected by the BeoPlay A2’s $399 price tag. The Grey and Black B&O BeoPlay A2 are already available online, with the Green model listed for pre-order.