Bang & Olufsen's $1,500 'portable' speaker is designed to last decades

Billy Steele
·Senior News Editor
·3-min read

Bang & Olufsen’s audio gear ranges from the opulent to the functional. The company has a line of speakers that encompasses everything from soundbars and pocket-sized Bluetooth units to modular wall sculptures and expensive showpieces. Today, the company is debuting its latest creation: the Beosound Level. With this speaker, B&O offers a “portable” option you can move around your house — from a wall mount to a side table or even taking it outside. The company says the pricey speaker is designed to last longer, thanks to construction that accommodates “easy maintenance, service and repair.”

First and foremost, the Beosound Level is a true wireless speaker. That includes both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, with Airplay 2, Google Cast and Spotify Connect all supported. There are physical connections for line-in/optical and Ethernet should you need them. The book or slab-like design allows you to lay the speaker flat on a table, sit it upright on a shelf or mount it on the wall. The Beosound Level can change its tuning based on its position, automatically switching from 180 degrees to 360 degrees depending on how you set it down or hang it on the wall.

A lot of folks may want to prominently display the Beosound Level as it’s built with pearl blasted aluminum and comes with a choice of natural oak and knitted fabric covers. The controls are integrated into the metal frame and the “buttons” are activated with touch gestures. Bang & Olufsen says the speaker “lights up to greet you” thanks to proximity sensors, accounting for time of day by automatically adjusting brightness.

To enhance the portability, Bang & Olufsen included a rechargeable battery capable of 16 hours of playback “at typical volumes.” The company says it can achieve this by “intelligently analyzing the behavior and continuously adjusting the power consumption and tuning.” B&O also made the charger a magnetic puck that snaps into place on the back of the speaker rather than a typical plug. What’s more, IP54 dust and splash resistance makes the Beosound Level suitable for casual outdoor entertaining.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Level
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Level

Inside, a five-speaker array handles all of your audio content. The company says its collection of two four-inch woofers, one two-inch full range driver, two 0.8-inch tweeters and low distortion amplifiers can muster 79dB of bass and 96dB of mid-range loudness. However, the most interesting components are the ones B&O says will “fight technology obsolescence, enhance resource efficiency and improve longevity.”

The Beosound Level comes with a replaceable streaming module that will power more of the company’s upcoming in-home speakers. Bang & Olufsen explains that part has been given “enough processing power and connectivity technology” to accommodate updates to improve performance and new features “for many years to come.” The company also says the speakers “modular” design allows customers to perform easy maintenance tasks like battery replacement and gives service partners better access to key components. Of course, depending on what new audio technology becomes available, we’ll have to wait and see if this speaker can truly remain up-to-date for “decades of great sound experiences.”

The Beosound Level is on sale now for $1,499 (1099€/£9499) in natural and in gold tone for $1,799 (1299€/£10,900). The wall bracket you’ll need to hang the speaker won’t arrive until April 29th, and it’s another $149 (89€/£739). Like it has in the past for other speakers, B&O is promising more colors and materials for the front covers are on the way.

Update 11:14AM ET: This post has been updated to reflect pricing on the Bang & Olufsen US product pages, which list different figures than the initial press release shared with Engadget. We’ve updated the headline as well. On the plus side, the price for both is $500 lower than initially indicated.