BeoSound 1 Review: Expensive, Stylish, Versatile, and Very loud

No, this is not a droid from Star Wars. This is the BeoSound 1 from Bang & Olufsen: an expensive, stylish, and very loud smart speaker. I call it a smart speaker because while it has Bluetooth, it also does a lot more.

Design

Bang & Olufsen says the BeoSound 1 features an unobtrusive design meant to blend in with your interior. I would have to disagree, as the design itself is simple, modern, and elegant, but it does anything but blend in. When I first saw the BeoSound 1 it stood out to me in a big way. It reminds me of something you’d see in a Scifi movie. This in itself is not a bad thing; I’m a fan of Scifi movies but I’m not sure how well it would blend in with the decor in most homes.

The use of aluminum and it’s shape make it resemble a robot even more in my opinion. This also makes it durable, offers an expensive high-end feel, and helps it produce even better sound. These are all good things in my opinion.



Hidden on the bottom of the BeoSound 1 are all of the buttons and ports, including a power port, Ethernet jack, reset button, and what appears to be a network setup button. The power cable would have to be one of the biggest disappointments I found on the BeoSound 1. From the design, it looks like it is meant to be permanently attached to the speaker.

However, this is not the case, as the BeoSound 1 actually includes a battery and can be used untethered like a traditional Bluetooth speaker. For this reason, I wish they would have used a more standard plug such as the ones found on laptops and made it easier to access. This would have made unplugging and plugging in the BeoSound 1 much less of a hassle.

Then again, even though the BeoSound 1 can be portable, that doesn’t mean it should be. This is a very heavy speaker and there are no handles or a case to make it easier to carry. While the metal body could surely stand up to some abuse, it would be a shame to scratch and damage such a nice looking speaker. It also lacks any waterproofing, making it even less friendly for the outdoors.

Controls

You will not find any buttons on the outside of the BeoSound 1. Bang & Olufsen continues with their clean design philosophy by utilizing touch controls. The top of the speaker features a black touchpad where you can tap to play/pause music, double tap to launch or switch streaming apps, and swipe to skip songs. The top portion also rotates to control the volume level. These controls were easy to use and I appreciate how it kept the design simple and clean.

App

The app leans heavily towards Deezer, Spotify, and TuneIn integration, but also includes DLNA streaming. This is a feature I don’t see in many speakers and it is very useful if you have a large collection of locally stored music. The only problem is that browsing through the music can be slow as you wait for it to load, but it is still a welcome addition.

The Multiroom option in the app offers a way to connect to supported Beoplay speakers. With Multiroom, you can pair up multiple speakers and have the sound follow you throughout your home or fill up the entire home with music.

Connectivity Options

Bluetooth is one of the most popular choices when it comes to streaming music to a speaker. The BeoSound 1 includes Bluetooth, but it’s not the best way to stream due to the distance limitations that come with Bluetooth.

This brings me to Google Cast support, one of my absolute favorite features of the BeoSound 1. Many of the most popular streaming apps support casting such as Google Play Music, Pandora, and more. As long as your phone and speaker are connected to the same WiFi network, casting allows you to stream your favorite music and control it. Considering how loud the speaker is and the limited range of Bluetooth, casting is the perfect solution.

Thanks to this feature I was able to cast my music to the speaker and walk all over the house listening to music without it ever cutting out. It also allows you to enjoy your music without notification sounds interrupting.

Another option that is very similar to Google Cast is Spotify Connect. If you’re a Spotify user, you’ll be happy to know it’s fully supported and you can control your music and listen to all your favorite playlists without issue.

Last, but certainly not least, is for all of you Apple users out there. Bang & Olufsen didn’t forget you because Apple AirPlay is baked into the BeoSound 1 as well.

Sound Quality

The sound from the BeoSound 1 is phenomenal, and it should be coming from a company as renowned as Bang & Olufsen. It gets extremely loud, as I could easily hear it 50ft. away in the house. Without a doubt, you can fill an entire floor or large room with music using just this speaker alone. The music stays clear no matter how loud it gets, and the bass offers more kick than the subwoofer in my home theater.

Despite the heavy bass it never takes over the sound of the music and never distorts. The BeoSound 1 offers clean bass with highs that won’t become piercing. There is no doubt about it; this speaker delivers the B&O signature sound that I have become a huge fan of, but with more volume and more oomph.

Distance

Using my phone with the BeoSound 1 with Bluetooth I was able to get a good 20-30ft. of distance before the connection started getting flaky. That’s on par with most Bluetooth devices I’ve reviewed, but most of them didn’t get as loud as the BeoSound 1. This is why Google Cast is such a fantastic addition to this speaker.

Battery Life

Bang & Olufsen rates the BeoSound 1 for up to 16 hours of playback time at moderate volume. During my usage, I rarely used it unplugged for more than a couple of hours. Due to the size and weight, I didn’t find myself wanting to carry the BeoSound around often. For this reason, I left it plugged in the majority of the time. Leaving it plugged in also kept the speaker awake and always ready to play, instead of going into standby on battery power.

Final Thoughts

The BeoSound 1 has a very unique style about it that may or may not fit in with your home decor. One thing you cannot deny is that it is extremely loud and sounds amazing. Bang & Olufsen has tried to offer an all in one speake packed full of features. The built-in battery, WiFi connectivity, dedicated app, and range of connection options make it an extremely versatile speaker.

Regardless of how good of a speaker the BeoSound 1 is, the biggest limiting factor is the price tag. At $1495 this speaker is priced far over what many people can afford. However, If you are still wanting that signature B&O sound you can check out my past reviews of the ultraportable P2 and long lasting A1 Bluetooth speakers. These are wonderful options that won’t break the bank but still give you the premium sound in your home or on the go.

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