B&O Play  - B&O Play Beoplay P2

B&O Play

B&O Play Beoplay P2: the frog that wants to be as big as the beef

Aprox. 169€ - see price -

See specifications

The P2 is the first ultra-portable speaker from B&O Play. Designed as a "personal" Bluetooth speaker to take everywhere with you, it also stands out for its somewhat special ergonomics, which almost completely dispenses with physical buttons. A good idea, do you think ...

Positive points

Successful design.

Rather clean midrange and treble.

Simultaneous connection to two sources possible.

USB-C charging port.

Possibility of connection as an external audio device on PC.

Bad points

Low end of the spectrum very confused.

Treble too far back.

Almost no command available on the speaker.

No analog input.

Disappointing hands-free kit microphone.

Our review


No aesthetic revolution at B&O Play: the look of the P2 is still signed by the Danish designer Cecilie Manz, to whom we already owe the appearance of all the other other portable speakers. So here we find the association of curved shapes and matt textures which already made up the body of the Beoplay A1, for example. This design is rather elegant and successful, but we unfortunately regret not entirely flawless finishes: the rubbery plastic covering the perimeter of the speaker shows a certain tendency to catch fingerprints, while the very thin anodizing layer of the aluminum grid can be chipped a little too easily. It's a shame, especially for an enclosure that is otherwise resistant to splashes and dust.

Compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, the P2 seems at first glance to be completely devoid of wired audio connections ... which is not completely true, since its USB-C port can be used not only for recharging the speaker, but also to connect it to a PC as an external audio device. This last mode of use works in plug & play for both Windows and MacOS, without the need to manually install a driver. A very good point, which however does not completely forget the absence of analog input.

Let's go back to Bluetooth. It is possible to connect two sources simultaneously to P2, one or the other of these being capable of exchanging priority on the stream broadcast according to the use made of it. The speaker has a microphone allowing the use in hands-free kit, but this unfortunately offers a rather mediocre voice; the capture has certainly the merit to be done at 360 °, but it is accompanied by an overly aggressive noise reduction which strongly distorts the vocal timbres and which can also singularly harm the intelligibility of speech.

It is time to discuss the speaker controls, and this is where the P2 collapses completely. In the name of preserving the purity of its design, B&O Play has seen fit to place almost no physical button on the enclosure; only one button remains on the underside to control the on / off of the speaker and the activation of the Bluetooth pairing. Apart from that, the user-speaker interface boils down to only two possible inputs: double tapping on the grid or shaking the speaker. By default, the first is used to pause / play music, the second is used to skip to the next track. What about everything else? It will be necessary to perform operations on the source device.

No, you are not dreaming, it does mean that it is especially impossible to adjust the volume directly on the speaker. And how do we do when we want to connect the P2 to a source that is not compatible with remote volume control in Bluetooth? There is a solution: you must connect the speaker simultaneously to the source and to your smartphone (iOS or Android), on which you will have taken care to install the Beoplay application. It is then possible to use the latter as a "remote control" for the speaker. All this to royally gain the right to adjust the sound volume as desired. Why keep it simple ...

Since we talked about the mobile application, note also that it allows you to assign other functions to the shaking or tapping of the enclosure. We can, for example, ask the tapping to call the voice assistant of his smartphone or even the shaking to activate / deactivate the Tonetouch sound processing - we will come back to this in the audio section. It is finally possible via this app to configure the P2 as an alarm: tapping then acts as a snooze button, while shaking completely turns off the alarm.

The autonomy, announced by the manufacturer at 10 o'clock, actually amounts to only 5:30 (volume set to half of its maximum value). This breach of the promise is obviously irritating, but the value remains intrinsically suitable for an enclosure of this size. With its thickness and weight less than 3 cm and 300 grams respectively, the P2 can slip without too much trouble into a large pocket of jeans - which earned it, according to our nomenclature, the title of ultra-portable speaker.



In terms of sound performance, the P2 has a number of points in common with its big sister, the A1. Do not see this as good news: the two brothers have in common that they are too ambitious for their own good, both in terms of power and extension in the bass.

Armed with its 30 W amplification, the P2 can effectively reach a sound volume quite surprising for its size. The counterpart of this ardor is on the other hand less surprising: a sound which singularly lacks control and definition, especially in the lower part of the spectrum. Everything below 400 Hz is very muddled, the fault first of all with a very marked coloring, then with a clearly perceptible distortion.

Things work out from the midrange, but another problem manifests at the other end of the spectrum: treble extremes too clearly set back, resulting in a noticeably blunt tone. The intensity of this problem, however, depends on the vertical angle from which you place yourself in relation to the speaker, since the latter radiates upwards, and its treble is of course much more directive than the mid and low range. But even by positioning itself at the zenith of the enclosure, it remains present and audible.

Concretely, the rendering of P2 is therefore particularly unflattering for rich music across the spectrum, which takes on a puffy, confused and singularly unnatural tone. So there is no point in hoping to enjoy songs with a slightly dense mix; and we're not even talking about orchestral music. The speaker comes out with more happiness on light acoustic music or even simply for listening to podcasts, since the human voice is clearly one of the sounds it reproduces with the most ease.

Let us quickly mention the Tonetouch effects available via the Beoplay mobile application; none offers an interesting change in the sound of the speaker. They only add a color that further degrades the rendering.

Special mention to the functionality supposed to make the soundstage more spacious, and which in reality accomplishes exactly the opposite: by further accentuating the hollow of the frequency response in the low mids, it produces a very arid and skimpy sound.

A final word on Bluetooth latency, which is around 220 ms. It's too much to be able to comfortably watch a video. As far as possible, it will therefore be necessary to take the trouble to compensate for this difference via the reading software.



After Beoplay A1, the overflow of ambition from B&O Play regarding the capacities of its portable speakers seems to be confirmed. This P2 clearly had the potential to offer a clean, natural and richly honorable rendition for its small size; but trying too hard to go down in the bass and gain power, it ends up suffocating its own qualities. Added to this is "innovative" ergonomics with gaping gaps which removes P2 any chance of teasing the champions of our comparison of ultra-portable. Too bad, because it is one of the most expensive speakers there ...