Bang & Olufsen has announced its latest wireless speaker, the Beosound Level – and it might be the most beautiful portable speaker we've ever seen.
With a design that harks back to the brand's classic 70s audio devices, the Beosound Level comes with a choice of fabric or oak finishes, with a slim, rectangular build that stands out from cylindrical competitors like the Sonos Move and the Bose Home Speaker 500.
The speaker's minimal design is extended to its user interface, which is integrated into its aluminum frame, lighting up when you approach thanks to integrated proximity sensors.
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It's designed to work pretty much anywhere in your home, whether you have it standing upright, lying flat on a table, or hanging on a wall using an optional mounting bracket.
According to Bang & Olufsen, a built-in accelerometer means that the Beosound Level can adjust its tuning from 180 degrees to 360 degrees, filling the room with sound no matter its orientation.
There's also a built-in recessed handle, so you can physically carry the wireless speaker from room to room as you go about your day. The Beosound Level will work outside too, with IP54 dust and water resistance and support for Bluetooth 5 as well as Wi-Fi connectivity.
The luxurious design of the Beosound Level has been carried through to its charging capabilities, with an aluminum magnetic plug that clicks into the back of the speaker.
Bang & Olufsen says that you'll get around 16 hours of playback at a medium volume, which it places at 70 decibels.
Inside the speaker are two four-inch woofers, one two-inch full range driver, and two 0.8-inch tweeters to deliver "excellent clarity and dynamic bass".
Support for Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast means you have a few options when it comes to music streaming, while Google Assistant compatibility means you can control the Beosound Level using your voice.
Music for generations
While the design of the Beosound Level is something to behold, the most interesting thing about the new speaker is its focus on sustainability, with Bang & Olufsen introducing "new solutions to fight technology obsolescence, enhance resource efficiency, and improve longevity".
The company says that the Beosound Level has a modular design for easy maintenance, service, and repair, allowing you to do things like replace the battery yourself.
The portable speaker also features the company's replaceable streaming module, which it says will power all of its future home speakers.
According to Bang & Olufsen, this module has been front-loaded with enough processing power and connectivity technology to receive updates for years to come.
However, if the streaming technology does become obsolete in the future, the module can be easily replaced.
This means the Beosound Level should have a far longer lifespan than most wireless speakers on the market today, which are often replaced by new generations in a matter of years (if not months).
As well as making the speaker more sustainable than its rivals, Bang & Olufsen is harking back to a time where audio technology was truly built to last – indeed, many amplifiers and speakers from the 50s, 60s, and 70s can still be used today.
Building technology that's designed to last for generations isn't new for the luxury audio company.
Last year, Bang & Olufsen's launched its Classics initiative, in which the Danish audio company began "restoring and reimagining classic products".
It started with the Beogram 4000c turntable, which was originally launched in the 1970s, with a select number of existing models being refurbished for 2020.
Interestingly, the original designers of the Beogram 4000c in the 1970s left space in the internal architecture, to allow for "additional technology upgrades".
That foresight means Bang & Olufsen have been able to add a phono pre-amplifier to the turntable, which means it can be connected to your stereo speakers using a phono or 3.5mm line-level connection – no need for an external phonostage.
So, the inclusion of modular parts and looking forward to future technologies is something that the brand is bringing to the Beosound Level – and its potential longevity could justify its very high price tag ($1,499 / £1,099 / about AU$1,900).
In any case, we can't wait to test it for ourselves.