Small and compact is not something B&O is known for but their BEOPLAY division have come up with something small, and they have made it sound as big as a B&O product should.
Steven Ambrose taps and plays with the Beoplay P2 to see how they have done.
Bang and Olufsen have recently released a super compact portable speaker which they say solves the problem of sound and size. The Beoplay P2 does not visually stand out from the rest of the other Bluetooth portable speakers out in the market. However, B&O and their legendary audio prowess promise to set this speaker apart from the rest.
The slick pebble-like design is the first thing you notice in unboxing the P2, the next thing that strikes you is the complete lack of controls.
The on-off button is hidden under the B&O logo on the rear, and all other controls are via voice or touch.
The speaker is smaller than you would expect at around 14cm by 8 cm and it weighs a paltry 275 grams. A charging cable is the only other item in the box. Charging is via a USB C connector so only the latest cables or the included cable will work.
The benefit of USB C is high-speed charging, which does work. You get tons of playing time for 30 minutes of charge. Fully charged the battery should give many hours of playing, up to 10 hours, per the specifications, though that is volume dependent.
The Beoplay P2 is water resistant but not waterproof, so no swimming allowed. The key feature setting the P2 apart is the way you control the device. There are no hardware buttons apart from the on-off button. All controlling is done via a tap on the front or a shake. A double tap will pause or play the music. You can also use your voice to control music, and other Features once set up via the app.
The speaker has only one tweeter for highs and a midrange unit for the rest of the range. This essentially means a mono sound, though stereo would not work in such a small enclosure. The benefits of fewer larger drivers are lower distortion and greater volume, so this was a good design choice.
The Beoplay P2 comes with a nifty companion Beoplay app that you use to set up and control the P2.
Downloadable from the Apple App store or Android Play store, the app offers simple set up tutorials on how to customise and use the P2. In all other respects the P2 pairs like any other Bluetooth device.
The app also shows battery life and will allow for firmware updates of the P2 as and when they become available. You can also customise the tap functions. I set the double tap to open Google assistant and then used the built-in microphone to ask for tracks and music to be played. I found this worked really well and quickly made this my default way of working with the P2.
Classic B&O, warm full and surprisingly loud.
The B&O heritage is immediately apparent, and the P2 has been tuned to offer a clear solid and full sound. The bass is good for a unit of this size with a full solid sound, only lacking in deep notes. The midrange is full warm and clear; lending vocals clarity and projection.
Placing the P2 on tables or next to a solid object also amplifies the sound and increases the bass impact, though it still sounds good hanging from the included real leather string.
The treble is a little soft and muted; this works well with most modern low-resolution music sources. The only time it was a bit troublesome was with acoustic music which lacked clarity and bite in the high end.
The P2’s ability to go loud always surprised. It manages room-filling sound with no distortion and great clarity. Not quite enough for a party but more than good enough for a gathering on the patio.
There are bigger and cheaper Bluetooth speakers than the Beoplay P2, but B&O have managed to produce a speaker that is easy to listen to on most types of music. The Beoplay P2 is compact quick charging and easy to carry with a warm, bold sound that will please even discerning listeners. The user interface or lack thereof takes some getting used to but becomes second nature quickly.
The price may be the only thing holding you back as the Beoplay P2 is tiny and expensive. My recommendation is to listen and forget the size.
Available from dealer’s countrywide at approximately R3,500-00