B&O Play  - B&O Play Beoplay A1

B&O Play

B&O Play Beoplay A1: a small speaker that's not cold in the eyes

Aprox. 207€ - see price -

See specifications

After the BeoPlay A2, B&O continues its momentum in the world of portable speakers with the A1, a model that puts a lot on its compactness, its look, its autonomy of 24 hours and its response in the bass.

Positive points

Deep and ample bass considering the size of the speaker.

Voice intelligibility.

Very careful manufacturing.


Easy to use.

Bad points

Distortion and heating which prevent the use of the beautiful power reserve of the speaker.

Latency perceptible in Bluetooth.

No navigation between the tracks on the enclosure.

Android application worse off than the iOS version.

Our review


BeoPlay A1 is in the form of a pebble: the first face consists of an extruded aluminum grid while the second is covered with a softly erased soft-touch plastic. There is little to say about manufacturing; this speaker is solid and benefits from a design and finishes of first order.

The A1 is not designed for extreme conditions, but it can still absorb some splashes and some falls. Even if it is not ultra-compact, it can be easily grasped with one hand, worn or hung thanks to its small leather strap.

Despite its size, this small speaker still has versatile connectors. It can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.2 (aptX compatible), wired via 3.5 mm mini-jack but also USB-C, the latter port not only used to recharge the speaker but also to connect it directly on a PC. It is directly recognized as an audio output; the microphone is recognized as an input device. It is also possible to connect two A1 speakers wirelessly and in stereo.

The integrated controls are quite complete. There is a button for turning on the speaker, a Bluetooth pairing button, a button for playback management, two buttons for volume and a button for call management and voice assistant. As often on the manufacturer's speakers, the sound and light aids are not legion, but they allow you to find your way when you handle the speaker. There are still two points that disappoint us: it is impossible to navigate between the tracks and a significant latency is noticeable when you activate the "pause / play" command, in particular to restart the music after a stop.

The Beoplay application (Android / iOS) comes to the rescue to add some nice functions. The stereo pairing is done through this application, but it also gives access to a simple and intuitive equalization system for neophytes as well as to EQ presets. Unfortunately, the speaker does not keep these settings in memory and therefore depends on the application to take advantage of this customization. In addition, the Android version is less stable, less reactive and the stereo pairing only works after multiple tests.

Regarding autonomy, the manufacturer promises 24 hours of use. In reality, it's a little more complicated. BeoPlay A1 tends to heat up quickly when the volume is increased, above around 60-70%. For safety, the speaker automatically drops to a much lower level, but if we insist a little to listen loudly, the listening time melts like snow in the sun. We then go from the announced 24 hours to only 6 hours. It is possible to go up at 6 pm with a moderate listening volume, already enough to add sound to a room without covering the discussions.

The on-board microphone does the job. It does not need to be extremely close to it to be understood by our interlocutor and it slightly reduces the surrounding noise.



BeoPlay A1 makes a risky bet by betting a lot on the feeling of impact, depth and immersion in the bass, despite its compactness. It also has a 9 cm woofer and a 20 mm tweeter powered by an amplification of 2 x 30 W RMS. The frequency response would be between 60 Hz and 24 kHz.

BeoPlay A1 is extremely powerful and offers particularly deep and diffuse bass given its size. The result still lacks control when you start listening at a comfortable level (above 60% of the maximum volume). The bass is too full and they take up a lot of space. The impact of each note in this register is very pronounced, leaving behind many masking effects and even pumping effects if you push the speaker to its limits. The very close transients (double bass drum and bearings on large percussions, for example) as well as the rich songs are right with the BeoPlay A1. If we stick to a close listening, this boost is pleasant by adding depth and immersion. It is still a shame not to be able to use the full potential of this speaker.

On the other side of the spectrum, we find treble particularly present and a significant exaggeration of attacks (kick, snare, strings ...). The voices are naturally forward and very intelligible, but the whistling sounds point their nose when one pushes the volume of listening frankly. The small load of distortion around 2/4 kHz excites the harmonics in the treble, which makes for example saturated electric guitars more confused and a little more aggressive at high volume. If by chance the loudspeaker is directed directly towards the listening point - instead of pointing upwards as expected -, the bass loses a little more in amplitude, but we take the brunt of the acidity in the treble.

The EQ of the application does not allow to obtain a more satisfactory result. The Warm zone adds low-mids and accentuates the masking effects while the Relaxed reduces the stage presence without reducing the acidity in the treble. Special mention all the same for the Excited zones (V boost) and Bright (treble boost) which ruin the listening pleasure.

This does not go very well on the side of wireless communication latency. We measured around 225 ms and this is true in practice. The gap is not huge between image and sound, but it is noticeable.



BeoPlay A1 combines ease of use, wide connection possibilities and careful manufacturing. However, it wants to make itself bigger than beef by wanting to offer maximum power and very deep bass despite its size. The result is a pleasant result, but one that lacks control when you want to take advantage of the full power of the speaker.