Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P2 Review


WhistleOut
30 August 2017

Verdict

The Beoplay P2 is a Bluetooth speaker that sounds so good you'll want to take it everywhere, and is small enough that you can actually can.

What we love
  • It's so small! 
  • Good sound quality
  • Premium build and design
What could be improved
  • Expensive compared to similar sized speakers
  • No physical volume rocker
  • Can be a little quiet
85/100
RRP: $249

What is it?


Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay P2 is a Bluetooth speaker that's so small you can fit it into your pocket. Well, squeeze might be a better word, especially if you prefer your pants on the slimmer side. Despite the diminutive build B&O hasn’t compromised on audio quality: the sound is larger than life. Larger than the Beoplay P2, at the very least.

What's good?


Despite the tiny form factor, the Beoplay P2 sounds good. Very good. There are limitations to how good a tiny $249 speaker will sound, but the P2 has consistently wowed with excellent all-round sound.

The P2's sound profile is more skewed toward the mid-to-low end, and it's genuinely surprising how much bass the speaker can push out; Kendrick Lamar's "Humble" bangs along nicely and loses none of its impact despite the P2's small stature.

You won't mistake it for a subwoofer, but the P2 is even able to handle some of the sub-bass frequencies in Childish Gambino's "3005", and smooths off those it can't. Other small speakers often mute sub-bass entirely, making the P2 especially impressive.

Higher-end frequencies are a little more subdued, but you still get a nice, clear sparkle on top of the thumping lows. As a consequence, songs that lean on treble can sound a little bit thin. Nevertheless, densely layered tracks such as the piano driven pop of Steven Wilson's "Permanating" and the too-many-guitars prog metal of Devin Townsend's "Stormbending" still manage to come through crisp and clear.

The P2 is only a mono speaker, but this is a much of a muchness; you wouldn't get any stereo separation on a speaker of this size anyway.

While the P2 packs a punch for its size, it's not a party speaker. It's loud enough to fill a small-to-medium room, but the P2 is more of a personal speaker that's not designed to compete with multiple conversions or the clinking of glasses. You can however comfortably max the volume out with minimal distortion.

As is par for the course with B&O products, you can't fault the P2 when it comes to design. It still looks like a Bluetooth speaker, but there's enough refinement and attention to detail to set it apart from the plethora of options on the market.

The pebble shaped portable is built from aluminium and polymer and has a reassuring heft to it without being heavy. The leather strap imbues the P2 with extra personality, and for what it's worth, it's quite fetching in blue.

Ideally, I would have loved the P2 to be a hair thinner. As it stands, the speaker is roughly the same size as a stack of three smartphones, which makes it a touch too thick to comfortably stash in one of my pockets. Your mileage may vary.

The P2 promises about 10 hours of battery life, which is decent for a speaker of this size. It's a bit shorter than the competition - the UE Boom 2 and the Beoplay A1 both offer around 24 hours, for example - but I found 10 hours to be plenty. You might just have to be a bit more vigilant when it comes to recharging. The Beoplay P2 recharges over a USB Type-C connector.

What's not so good?


$249 might seem a little bit steep for a speaker as small as the P2, and it kind of is. There's plenty of cheaper alternatives around, both in similar and larger sizes. The sound quality to size ratio justifies the P2's price tag and the slick industrial design is a nice cherry on top, but if you're purely looking for bang-for-buck, there's better options.

The P2 is splash-resistant, but not water-resistant. It doesn't matter if you get some water on it, but there's a very good chance it won't survive an accidental dunk in the pool. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but water-resistance is quite a common feature on portable Bluetooth speakers at this price point. It will just come down to what exactly you what to use the P2 for. If you want a speaker to keep around the pool, it might be better to look elsewhere.

Other than a hidden power switch, there's not a button to be found on the P2. This adds to the design, but it can limit usability. You are able to tap or shake the speaker to trigger a customisable function (pause / play, and skip by default) but you'll need to go to your audio source to actual change volume.

Who's it for?


The Beoplay P2 is a travel speaker through and through. You don't have to be travelling far, but it's the perfect size and weight to keep in one of your bag's pockets, just in case you need some emergency tunes. Whether you're having a quiet picnic that could use just a little noise or are heading out of town and want to liven up your hotel room, the P2 delivers.

It's far from the cheapest Bluetooth speaker on the market, but the P2 offers a surprising amount of sound quality for its diminutive form factor. Sure, you're paying a little bit extra for the Bang & Olufsen brand, but the P2's $249 asking price more than worth it if you're after something truly portable that still sounds good.


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