Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Bang & Olufsen adds Alexa, water resistance to the A1

One of B&O’s better wireless speakers is getting the help from a voice assistant and a little bit more, as a new model of the A1 makes its way out.

Bang & Olufsen’s fairly flat circular take on what a portable speaker should be is one of our favourite models, and it’s about to get a change or two.

While it’s not necessarily the cheapest wireless speaker, B&O’s Beoplay A1 sure packs a punch, and has since it was launched back in 2016, with a few models launched in between, including the similar yet smaller P2. The style was all Bang & Olufsen and has seen colourful updates through the years, and the sound really delivered, too, providing a clarity and tone in a design that was about as premium as you’d want a portable speaker to be in.

Four years on, things are changing, but only a handful, because why break what doesn’t need fixing?

In the 2nd generation of the B&O A1, it fits under the “Beosound” range now, and is a little lighter (7 percent), has a slightly different hole pattern, and uses two redesigned drivers for more volume and clarity, handled by two 30 watt Class D amplifiers. The 2nd gen B&O A1 also supports the AptX Adaptive Codec so people transmitting high quality sound wirelessly will get more from their speaker.

And in line with modern headphones and speakers, Bang & Olufsen is supporting an assistant, throwing in a Far Field microphone that can hear you and your calls from up to five metres away, and call on Amazon’s Alexa assistant. That means the Amazon Alexa skills will be available to you when the Beosound A1 2nd-gen is switched on and connecting to your phone or tablet, and will do so for a little longer even after the A1 is switched off, supporting up to three hours of voice commands even when the A1 is off.

It will even be ready for the kitchen, with IP67 resistance thrown into the A1 2nd-gen.

Yes, that means the B&O A1 2nd gen is now kitchen-resistant, as well as beach and pool-friendly, resisting water up to 1 metre deep and for up to 30 minutes, and well as being protected from dirt or sand.

Locally, B&O is looking to keep the price fairly close to where it was when it launched, which means it’s a little on the higher priced part of the Bluetooth speaker spectrum, expecting a price of $420 locally.

We’re told that stock may be a little limited to start with, thanks in part to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, though B&O expects that some stock in Australia of the A1 2nd-gen will arrive from June.

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