Bang & Olufsen (B&O) has made its fair share of wireless portable speakers, but its newest model, the $1,499 Beosound Level, has been built with much more than portability in mind. The Danish audio company has designed the Level with a slew of upgrade-friendly features that it claims will keep the speaker future-proofed for years to come, which is a comforting thought when you’re spending this much money.
You can replace the front grille and the internal battery yourself, but B&O has also made it possible for service technicians to swap out the streaming module and the wireless module, should future advances in either of these areas make them obsolete.
The Beosound Level is classic B&O: Minimalist in all the right ways, but with a high-tech pedigree. At just 2.2-inches in depth, its all-aluminum chassis is incredibly thin. And despite the inclusion of a built-in carry handle, the Level can hang on a wall, like a piece of art — though at 7.2 pounds, you should make sure your mounting solution is able to handle the weight. It’s also decidedly rugged, with an IP54 rating for dust and water-resistance.
When on a wall, being plugged into power is optional, thanks to the built-in rechargeable battery, which has a claimed 16-hour lifespan. But if you want to keep it wall-mounted for longer periods of time, B&O sells an optional $120 wall mount bracket that lets you keep the Level charged.
Speaking of charging, B&O has seemingly taken a page from Apple’s design playbook. The Level’s charger is a round, magnetically-latched device that looks a lot like Apple’s new MagSafe charger it introduced with the iPhone 12. You can also charge the Beosound Level via USB-C.
Connectivity options are seemingly endless. Wireless options include support for AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect. But unlike many portable speakers, the Level includes several physical inputs too, like Ethernet and a combination optical/3.5mm analog port.
Multiroom capabilities are managed through either Apple’s Home app, or Google’s Home app, depending on whether you choose AirPlay 2 or Chromecast to connect. This follows the same options B&O made available in its Beosound Stage soundbar.
Behind the grille, which is available in fabric or a slatted natural wood, the Level sports two four-inch woofers, a two-inch midrange driver, and two 0.8-inch tweeters, each of which is driven by its own Class D amp, for a total of 105 watts of power.
Proximity sensor light up the touch controls when you come near, and additional sensors let the Level adjust its sound parameters automatically whenever you move the speaker or change it from free-standing to wall-mounted, or even placed on its back, with the grille facing up.
Finally, to round out the Level’s impressive tech credentials, it can double as a Google Assistant smart speaker — you can buy it with or without this feature.
Whether you opt for the $1,499 model with black fabric and a natural aluminum chassis or the $1,799 model that comes with a wood grille and gold-tone aluminum, that’s a lot to spend on a portable speaker. But if you value Danish design and B&O’s commitment to future upgrades, it might be the last portable speaker you ever buy.
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