Best B&O speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best B&O speakers you can buy in 2020.
Bang & Olufsen may be almost a centenarian in the hi-fi industry (2020 marks its 95th birthday), but the celebrated Danish brand is showing no signs of slowing down, continuing to wow us year in and year out with its edgy designs and meticulous quality control. It's best known for its premium speakers, some of which will set you back the price of a small car.
Yet to win the lottery? Not prepared to sell a kidney? You'll be pleased to hear that B&O has poured its engineering excellence into the audio equivalent of a diffusion line. The B&O Play (formerly BeoPlay) speaker range – aimed at a younger, style-conscious audience – is more affordable and includes portable Bluetooth speakers that aren't afraid of the great outdoors, as you'll see below.
(There are B&O Play headphones too.)
That said, B&O has been known to choose style over substance on occasion, so it's important to pick wisely. To help you avoid a dud, we've curated this list of the best B&O speakers we've tested – from budget, picnic-friendly portables to pairs of truly epic, high-end floorstanding speakers.
Given that B&O is best known for its high-end audio products, you might suspect that a few corners have been cut to create this pocketable speaker. Thankfully, that's not the case – it's elegantly-crafted from aluminium and leather.
Sound quality is spot on: soulful and solid, with impressive midrange clarity that will flood the room. Battery life is no less impressive: 2.5 hours charging returns 24 hours of playback. There's no NFC support, but the A1 does rock aptX Bluetooth connectivity.
If size matters, this scaled-down speaker is the equivalent of drinking champagne on a beer budget.
Read the full review: B&O BeoPlay A1
They might cost a small fortune, but these swanky floorstanders are dripping with premium materials and cutting-edge technology. Each speaker has seven drivers, each with a dedicated 300W power amplifier, which adds up to effortless dynamic shifts, agile bass and a thrilling level of detail.
The control app, which is bespoke to the BeoLab 50s, helps you keep a firm grip on all that power (2100W per channel) as you blast out some Hans Zimmer. Could they sound a little more rhythmic? Yes, but If you're looking for a stellar system without too many extra boxes, B&O's deluxe floorstanders sound as good as they look.
Read the full review: B&O BeoLab 50
Planning an al-fresco knees-up? B&O's largest portable speaker has the oomph to keep your guests dancing late into the night. The scratch-proof aluminium grille is rugged enough, while the sound is surprisingly warm, mellow and detailed.
Weighing in at 3kg, the Beolit 15 is a bit of a beast – but that's soon forgiven when you discover that its powerful battery lasts 24 hours. To eek out even more life from the battery, the speaker automatically powers down when inactive for 15 minutes.
Elegant and effective, the Beolit 15 delivers good sound in a signature B&O design.
Read the full review: B&O Beolit 15
Once again, B&O's designers have come up with a striking, space-age design that reimagines the speaker as some sort of small sculpture. The tip of the cone, which appears to be floating, doubles as the volume dial with touch-sensitive controls.
The unusual shape offers excellent 360-degree sound dispersion and is laden with features. The latest version of the Beosound 1 supports hi-res streaming up to 24-bit/192kHz and has Google Assistant voice smarts built-in.
Musically, it's not as dynamic as some rivals (the Naim Mu-so 2, say) but if you want an all-in-one streaming hi-fi that makes a visual impact, the cone-shaped BeoSound 1 is on point.
Read the full review: B&O BeoSound 1