Clear, powerful sound, Speakers on both sides, No distortion at high volume, Long battery life, Nice design
Expensive, Bass clean, but not loud
I'm a sucker for tan leather. And the cool leather strap on the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A2 drew my eye immediately. It's pretty high quality and you can use it to carry this speaker wherever you happen to want to take it. The built in battery lasts and lasts.
Of course, you know it isn't just the leather strap. It's how this speaker sounds -- which is wonderful. In layman's terms (since this isn't audiophile material) the BeoPlay A2 has a clean and detailed sound. I particularly like the bass, which is not just thumpy but very clear. If I were to use an analogy, it's like looking into a glass and being able to see all the way to the bottom, not just the surface of the fluid right on top. People react with surprise at the sound they hear from the unit I bought.
The BeoPlay A2 actually has drivers on both sides of the device, giving out sound that fills the room more. It's about the shape of a very big book and can stand on its side with the speakers on both sides open to the room. On the top edge are the simple controls -- power, volume, Bluetooth pairing. There's nothing much more and that's something you could like, or not. There are no controls for treble and bass and no music track control.
The BeoPlay A2 is not the speaker for a loud, noisy dance party. It's distortion-less when played at high volume, but it isn't so loud that it would rise above a bunch of noisy teenagers. But it really nice for a quiet get together where the music isn't on full blast. Then, the quality of the sound is evident.
I also find it's a perfect "personal" speaker, easy to carry from one room to the other, out into the garden or my balcony. Just set it down onto a table or the floor and let it play. I feel a surge of appreciation whenever I turn on the music, even if that's several times a day.
Sadly, the device has hard plastic grills on either side. Or a mesh, if you will. I guess if it had been metal, it would have added to the weight. As it is, it's sturdy and solid looking without being too heavy to cart around.
This speaker comes in an interesting army green, a subdued white, and a black. It's the green and the white that look better than the black one, and the green is allegedly the most popular.
Everything from Bang & Olufsen is quite expensive, so it's nice to see something that costs about Rs 23,000. It's available online.
The A2 has more than enough competition, including from the better-known Bose which has several Bluetooth speakers in its Soundlink series; I found this B&O sounding better than the Bose competitors are similar price-points.
You might also want to compare with the cheaper Bose SoundTouch 10 (Rs 19k), with more features (including WiFi and Internet radio), but that’s not a portable—no built-in battery.
Lila Ray is a corporate consultant who likes her gadgets almost more than her shoes. Write to her firstname.lastname@example.org