B&O’s 360-degree Beoplay A1 is its smallest Bluetooth speaker yet

Bluetooth speakers have advanced to the point that most new releases we see might be impressive, but still are generally incremental improvements on things we’ve seen before. Every once in a while a new model comes along that takes a few risks, and when that happens, we take notice.

Today the Bang & Olufsen brand B&O Play announced the Beoplay A1, the company’s smallest Bluetooth speaker to date. We’ve previously had the chance to take a look at the Beoplay A2, and walked away suitably impressed, but that speaker still looked fairly standard. The Beoplay A1, on the other hand, goes in an entirely different direction.

The company certainly didn’t opt to play it conservative when it comes to the Beoplay A1’s build. The speaker is short, round, and aluminum, measuring just 5.2 inches wide by 1.9 inches tall, weighing in at slightly over a pound. The shape allows for 360-degree sound, which we’ve seen in other speakers, but taking the pancake approach instead of the water bottle style we’ve seen before should keep it from being knocked over so easily.

“We wanted to make a portable speaker that people would not leave at home. The size and shape of the speaker invites you to pick it up and bring it with you as the most natural thing,” designer Cecilie Manz says. “The combination of premium materials, cool aluminum, soft polymer and the warm touch of leather makes it almost desirable to hold. I like the fact that the rounded, circular shape very clearly indicates the sharing of sound while lying on the table.”

Despite the small size and light weight, B&O Play claims that the Beoplay A1 offers low bass tones down to 40Hz. Lows and mids are delivered by an aluminum cone mid-woofer, the highs are taken care of by a .75-inch silk-dome tweeter, and the speaker’s amp provides a claimed 30 watts of power. The A1 offers speakerphone functionality, and this also takes advantage of the form factor, offering 360-degree sensitivity for picking up the user’s speech.

The A1 is powered by a 2,200 mAh battery, which the company claims offers up to 24 hours of playback time, which may seem optimistic for battery of that capacity, even with a low-draw digital amplifier at work. However, B&O Play says the extended life is due to the Adaptive Power Management featured incorporated into the speaker, which feeds the amplifier only as much as it needs at any given time. The A2 offered the same battery life, so we’re inclined to think the A1 will live up to its claims.

The Beoplay A1 is available in moss green and natural silver finishes, and will retail for $250. The speaker is available starting today in select third-party retailers, B&O stores, and the company’s website.

Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is ready to strike with over 700 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.

The Mi Mix 3 is coming to the U.K. on January 16 for a bargain price

Xiaomi announced the Mi Mix 3, a smartphone with a massive screen, a cool slide-up camera module, up to 10GB of RAM, and in the future, a 5G connection. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

How much are the initials ‘LV’ worth? $700 if you put them on your earphones

If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that make as much of a statement about the state of your finances as they do about your high-tech street cred, Louis Vuitton's Horizon earbuds fit the $995 bill.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.

Need a smart speaker? Amazon knocks $50 off Sonos Beam soundbar with Alexa

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent smart sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Home Theater

Walmart abandons its plans for a streaming Netflix killer

Rumored plans for a Walmart owned, Vudu-labeled Netflix streaming killer have been shelved according to a new report from CNBC. The billions it would have needed to invest in order to compete apparently gave the mega retailer cold feet.