#Note: Find full B&O review list at the bottom.
If you’re looking for a single-unit, premium wireless speaker for your living room with a built-in google assistant and streaming facilities, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 are the two of the fantastic options to look at.
Before you read any further, though, you should know that these are luxury products!
They cater unabashedly to deep pockets and are well above the $1000 mark. If you’re looking for cheaper alternatives, I'd recommend you to take a look at my Sonos Five review.
In summary, if portability is a priority, the Beosound 1 is the right choice for you since it's the smaller of the two (half the size of Beosound 2) and is battery operable. If it isn’t, however; and loudness is, then go for the Beosound 2, since it's bigger (and hence delivers overall superior sound quality).
Here’s a comparison between these two options to give you some more insight.
Also, since you're here reading this article, you might also want to see my following articles:
Let's move on.
Design and Aesthetics
The right speaker for your room entails not just sound quality. Its aesthetics play a vital role in the atmosphere it lends to your space. The first thing you'll notice is that these speakers are both meant to stand out, not blend in. The futuristic, unconventional lines and shapes almost give them a sculpturesque vibe. A solid aluminum exterior and finishes are available in silver or brass, giving a stately look that leaves no doubt of their high-end audiophile heritage.
The primary user interface is located on a disc-shaped surface on the top of the speakers. This is where you access to power on/off, activate voice control for Google assistance, and volume control.
Four additional buttons are programmable with customized functions, including controlling smart home devices like lights as long as they're google-compatible or check-in with the weather!
- Beosound 1: 20 W x 43.1 H x 20 D cm
- Beosound 2: 20 W x 38 H x 20 D cm
The Beosound 1 has 48.17% less body volume. Giving it an additional edge in the portability department.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
The sound quality performance you'll end up getting from a speaker will always depend on your room acoustics - particularly room dimensions and speaker positions.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is also why it's not unusual to see completely different reviews of the same speaker.
In one case the speaker might be placed in a sweet spot inside the room and hence the user might be satisfied. In other cases the same speaker might be ill placed and hence user might even have returned it.
The point most people miss here is that it mostly isn't even about the engineering behind the speaker itself. It's about where you place the speaker inside which room.
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So, in order to solve this problem, I've partnered with an Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD and created Soundton - a simple, 2D, browser accessible online speaker placement calculator.
With Soundton, now there's a way to figure the sound quality of most speakers before you buy them.
Read more about its working principles at soundton.com.
The end colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) acoustics.
ASAP Science also made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (play time adjusted video below).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But it's much less compared to other parameters mentioned above.
Also, while you're at it, blast my Hidden Electronic Gems list to test the speakers:
The drivers on these speakers feature B&O's patented Acoustic Lens Technology. This delivers audio in an almost spherical format designed to emit and spread sound throughout your room. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, yes. But there's a tradeoff here.
The actual representation of the music you're listening to will be slightly altered in order to fulfill this specific function.
While not a deal-breaker, it's a sobering reminder that these are, in fact, consumer products aimed at listening to pleasure first. Not critical listening. So if that is a high priority, do consider this factor.
That being said, these speakers offer serious sound:
- 4-inch woofer
- 20W Class D amp
- 1.5-inch full-range driver
- A maximum loudness of 91dB SPL
- 5.25-inch woofer
- 20W Class D woofer.
- 3/4-inch tweeter with a 40W Class D amp
- Two 2-inch mid-range drivers, each with 11W Class D amps
- A maximum loudness of 94dB SPL
Both shine in this department. Google compatibility and assistance aside, they also come with Spotify, Deezer, QQ Music, and TuneIn internet radio integrated into the system. What’s more, these can be accessed without your gadget.
This makes access to your personalized songs, playlists favorites, and radio shows a seamless experience. This is a true ‘intelligent’ audio experience.
The Beosound 1 is the only one of the two offering this facility. It provides up to 12 hours of playback after a single charge.
The Beosound 2 needs AC power and is not portable.
In conclusion, this is how Beosound 1 and the Beosound 2 wireless speakers compare to each other:
- Design and Aesthetics: Tie.
- Sound: The Beosound 2 is more powerful.
- Connectivity: The Beosound 1 wins due to battery-operated functionality.
- Price: The Beosound 1 wins.