B&O BeoPlay A2 Review
The BeoPlay A2 from the exclusive designer house Bang & Olufsen combines an elegant, Danish design with a refined sound quality that surprised us.
It was a small sensation when Bang & Olufsen introduced the Beoplay A2 – a Bluetooth speaker that made the refined B&O sound portable. But, does the traditional Danish company have a chance in the already crowded Bluetooth speaker market?
- Balanced, clean sound with powerful bass.
- Battery life at moderate volume
- Optics and processing
- Power bank for smartphones
- Rather furnished
- Battery life at high volume
- Does not charge via USB
Design & processing of B&O BeoPlay A2
As soon as you unpack, you notice the high-quality standards that B&O also has for the cheaper devices. The loudspeaker lies on a satin bed; its charger and three adapters for the sockets of this world are stowed in separate boxes—no shrink-wrapped plastic, no annoying (and environmentally harmful) bags, just simple and clean.
Unfortunately, the scope of delivery is not particularly large. A 3.5mm cable is just as missing as a possible protective bag. In addition, the charger with the travel adapters is practical but doesn’t look nice. Unfortunately, the BeoPlay A2 cannot be charged via USB.
The Beoplay A2 is available in four colors in total, natural (grey), green, gray (with a golden middle part), and completely black, although I chose natural for our test device (but green looks at least as chic). There is currently also an exclusive combination of black and copper that I like very much.
The design is elegant and Nordic simple – just Bang & Olufsen. The speaker is flat and long to take it with you and stow it away on the go. This is exactly why a leather strap is attached, which offers a nice color contrast to the case. The quality is first class; the genuine leather is soft, flexible, and comes from Denmark (the rest of the speakers from China). If you don’t want to put the BeoPlay A2 in a bag for transport, you can order a longer leather shoulder strap.
The rest of the case is also well made. The speaker’s frame is made from a single piece of aluminum and provides the necessary stability for the inner workings. The two outer sides are matte plastic and are firmly in place. As a result, they can only be pushed through in three areas where the driver’s seat.
The filled dots in the perforated side parts are striking and visually function. This prevents more effect. The structure does not look so wild and calms the eyes. The lack of a large logo is also pleasing. This can only be seen on the bracelet in the form of a metal button and on the top in the form of a small print—pure understatement.
Operation & Connections
However, a little too much understatement was used with the operating units because there were only four. The upper aluminum frame integrates an on/off button, volume control, and a Bluetooth connection button. A small status LED indicates the Bluetooth status.
There are no play/pause or track skip buttons, which is a bit of a shame. The smartphone is therefore always necessary to control the music.
Incidentally, NFC is also not supported; the connection with up to two devices simultaneously is made via the Bluetooth menu of your smartphone. The A2 can remember a total of 8 different connections. But there is one smart feature; if you have two BeoPlay speakers, you can pair them and thus create stereo sound.
On the side opposite the loop, there are three connections for charging the speaker, a 3.5mm jack input, and a USB port for charging a smartphone. However, with a current of 0.5A, this is designed to be rather weak and should be enough for a top smartphone to ensure that the battery does not lose battery charge when searching for a title in Spotify. Unfortunately, a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus could only be charged by 3% in 10 minutes. As expected, fast charging is impossible, which is a shame.
Sound: Impressive lows
The sound coming from the small, flat speaker is impressive. I didn’t think the BeoPlay A2 was capable of the sound volume and the deep bass; after all, the speaker is just 4.4 cm narrow (!). But the engineers at B&O prove that you can also produce a broad sound that is balanced and room-filling with little volume.
The inner workings, powered by two 30W amplifiers with a peak power of 180W, naturally contribute to this. In addition, there is a 3″ broadband speaker, a 3/4″ tweeter, and a 3″ passive bass membrane on each side, resulting in a great 360° sound.
So, it doesn’t matter how you place the speaker; it sounds equally good and loud in all directions, which is very practical for parties or barbecues. For example, we had already praised this feature in the UE Boom 2.
The B&O BeoPlay A2 is by no means a neutral loudspeaker; you can hear its coloring. But this is so sophisticated that it sounds pleasant to the ear. Above all, the treble and the bass are somewhat emphasized, so we have a typical bathtub tuning that sounds a bit finer than the competition.
Nevertheless, the tuning is so good that you’ll find yourself listening to all your favorite songs again with BeoPlay A2 because the music sounds so good. It’s fun to immerse yourself in music.
Thanks to dedicated tweeters, the high frequencies can be heard clearly at all times and do not distort even at maximum volume. They’re emphasized a bit, which can sound a little too sharp on some tracks, but that is very rare. As mentioned, the mids are a bit more reserved and make room for the strong bass.
It’s amazing how much bass B&O gets out of the narrow housing, and the sound result is all the more surprising because you don’t expect these depths. Pieces with beautiful bass lines from the reggae or jazz genre are played wonderfully room-filling; if you place the speaker on the floor, the effect is even greater.
The bass range goes down to 55Hz, so electronic pieces with deep bass drops are a real pleasure; Examples include Downtown by Macklemore & Ryan Lews, or You know you like it by DJ Snake. But, again, there’s no artificial bass amplification; it just sounds nice and deep and stays natural.
The bass fades into the background from about 70 percent of the volume, as with many other loudspeakers. By the way, from then on, you can no longer talk in a 25 square meter room; the little one is so loud. On the other hand, you can throw a beach party with it, and it also cuts a fine figure at home. The UE Megaboom is slightly louder but sounds less balanced, broad, and deep.
Battery life: Good, but not 24 hours
B&O specifies a full 24 hours as the battery life – a remarkable value, which, however, could not be achieved in the test under normal conditions.
At maximum volume, the B&O BeoPlay A2 lasts just under an hour, after which the volume automatically reduces to 50%, and the speaker continues to play for another hour before it dies. Well, we didn’t expect 24 hours at full volume, but even at 40% volume, we were only able to achieve around 16 to 17 hours, which is still seven hours missing.
Please don’t get me wrong; 17 hours is a good value for music playback at room volume and is sufficient for my use so that the speaker only has to be charged every week and a half. But the promised value should also be maintained under normal conditions, and by that, I don’t mean the quietest setting possible.
It is also a pity that the LED, which represents the charge level indicator, only lights up red when the battery is almost empty. A more precise indication is missing.
The B&O BeoPlay A2 is the best Bluetooth speaker I’ve heard. The room-filling, wide sound tuning makes every song a listening pleasure; the deep bass surprises you again and again when you look at the narrow housing. The quality is very good, the design (as always subjective) is also pleasing.
However, points are deducted for the missing control buttons for the music, the weak USB charging connection, and the too minimalist charge status display. The battery life is good, but unfortunately not as outstanding as promised.