Bang & Olufsen just revamped its gorgeous and (needless to say) pricey Beosound A1 Bluetooth speaker, with the latest version boasting a couple of killer features: onboard Alexa and aptX Adaptive support.
On sale now for $250, the portable Beosound A1 second-gen speaker comes with a similar round design as its four-year-old predecessor while bringing an updated “pearl-blasted” aluminum, polymer and waterproof leather shell. The 19.7-ounce speaker (about an ounce and a half lighter than the original) has an IP67 rating for dust resistance and the ability to withstand being dunked in a meter of water for 30 minutes.
Available in both gray and black flavors, the revamped Beosound A1 features a 3.5-inch woofer and a 0.6-inch tweeter, and it’s powered by a pair of 30-watt Class D amplifiers. A three-microphone array is designed to pick up your voice from across the room, while the 3,000 mAh battery should give you up to 18 hours of music playback.
All well and good, but the latest Beosound A1’s biggest improvement over its predecessor is its addition of onboard Alexa, allowing you to control your tunes with voice commands as well as adjust the volume and queue up playlists. Besides controlling your music with Alexa, you can also take charge of your smart home devices, ask about the weather, set alarms, or do just about anything you could with Alexa on an Echo speaker. As with other Alexa-equipped Bluetooth speakers, you’ll need your iPhone or Android phone tethered to the Beosound A1 via Bluetooth for Alexa to work.
Speaking of Bluetooth, the Bluetooth 5.1-enabled Beosound A1 supports aptX Adaptive, a variable bit rate version of Qualcomm’s aptX codec that can switch between low bit rate, low latency and high-resolution audio modes on the fly.
Under ideal circumstances, aptX Adaptive can transmit 24-bit audio up to 420kbps via Bluetooth. That’s great news for audiophiles, but keep in mind that you'll need a device that supports aptX Adaptive to enjoy it, which can get tricky: While the latest Android phones from Google and LG support aptX Adaptive, Samsung newest Galaxy S phones support aptX but not aptX HD, and iPhones don't support the codec at all.