My love and hate relationship with the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A2

Post by Mark

a2-1

When the BeoPlay A2 was first announced back in October, the first thing I did was head over to the local Bang & Olufsen dealer to find out when they were going to get it. I own two other B&O products which I love; the B&O A7 and the BeoLit 12 and since I had been looking to get a travel speaker for sometime now, I knew I also wanted the A2.

Two things sold me on the A2, the first is the way it looks (I fell in love with the green model right away) and the second was the 24 hour battery life.

The A2 ended up arriving to Kuwait just a few days before my trip to Cape Town which was perfect timing since I was hoping to take the speaker with me on that trip. They had received only one green speaker and I made sure I would be the first one to get it. The price was KD150, around KD30 more expensive than Amazon but since I had a good relationship with the local dealer and since I wanted it right away I didn’t mind paying the extra KD30.

At first glance the A2 ended up exceeding my expectations. Not only did the speaker look better in person than in pictures but the sound that it produced was so much bigger and better than you’d expect from such a small portable speaker. I was mind blown. In my room in Cape Town the speaker was able to fill the room easily at lower volumes and produce enough bass to impress me. When I took it to the beach I was even more impressed, at near full volume the speaker sounded fantastic outdoors even with the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. I even snapchatted how this was simply the best portable Bluetooth speaker ever and I even whatsapped the dealer the shot below of the speaker on the beach. But then just like that, my experience went downhill nearly instantly.

a2beach

Up until the moment I took the speaker to the beach I had been using it plugged in to the power. But around two hours into my first outing with the BeoPlay A2 I noticed the volume suddenly dropped considerably. At first I thought the speaker overheated because I was out in the sun but even after shutting it off for 15 minutes and turning it back on the speakers volume was still very low. It was barely audible but I kept playing the music until the speaker went dead. Once I got back to my room I checked the manual and turns out once the battery level reaches 10% the volume level drops to around half way.

It didn’t make sense how I hit 10% battery life after barely 2 hours of use, that’s 22 hours less than the claimed 24 hour battery life. I thought I must not have charged it fully so I charged the A2 again and tried it the next day. Again I got barely 2 hours of use. I was pissed off because I was all the way in Cape Town with a defective device. So I whatsapped the Kuwait dealer to let them know about my issue and once I got back to Kuwait I passed by them and dropped off my speaker. They didn’t have any green speakers in stock so I had to wait around a month until they got their second shipment in stock so I could pick up my replacement. Once I got the replacement speaker I went back home, fully charged the device and then played some music at full blast while timing it with a stop watch. At exactly 58 minutes and 26 seconds, the speaker completely shutdown. I was mortified since I ended swapping my speaker for one that was even worse! I charged it again and the next day played the exact same playlist at full volume. This time the speaker lasted 1 hour and 11 seconds before completely shutting down. I couldn’t understand what was happening, there is a HUGE difference between a claimed 24 hour battery life and my 1 hour experience. Obviously I wasn’t expecting my device to last 24 hours at full volume but I was expecting it to last around 10 or at least maybe 6. But just 1 hour? Convinced I had picked up a second defective unit I headed back to B&O to let them know. I explained to them the problem and how my second unit was performing even worse than my first one. They agreed to take the device and run some tests before getting back to me. A couple of weeks later I get a phone call with an explanation. According to the B&O head quarters, battery life can last only an hour depending on the kind of music and the volume its being played at. My units were not defective, they were perfectly fine but because B&O state an up to 24 hour battery life in their marketing material, my expectations were just too high. In any case the Kuwait B&O dealer gave me three options, the first is I could give them back the A2 and once the shipment of the new BeoLit 15 arrives I could pay the difference and get that. The second option was to swap the A2 for a third new A2 or finally I could just get a cash refund. Since I already had the BeoLit 12 I wasn’t really interested in the newer version. I also wasn’t interested in a cash refund since I actually wanted a travel speaker and when connected to power the BeoPlay A2 sounded incredible. So I opted to swap it with another unit in hopes the newer unit would have a better battery life than mine. Sadly that didn’t turn out to be the case and my current unit lasts as long as my previous ones.

a2-2

So here is my dilemma. I don’t know if I can recommend this speaker even though I love it so much because I also hate it so much. I never expected Bang & Olufsen to be so misleading with their marketing since I always saw them as very Apple like. But I’ve now realized Apple is far more trustworthier than Bang & Olufsen. When Apple claims a Macbook Air lasts for 9 hours in normal use most of the time it ends up lasting 10 in real world use. Apple doesn’t lower the brightness to the lowest setting, turn off wifi and Bluetooth and let the Macbook sit there idly and then say the battery life is 24 hours. They could if they wanted to but then no one would trust them. On the other hand B&O are being extremely misleading with their battery life claims. When they say 24 hours, as a user I expect that number to be an achievable claim under normal use. From what I’ve been reading online people have no idea how they can get 24 hours out of the A2 unless its at the lowest volume level and that’s not normal use. So this is what I will say about the A2. If you’re looking for a small speaker with incredible sound then I definitely recommend the BeoPlay A2. But if you’re looking for a portable speaker, one you could take to the beach, camping or anywhere requiring the use of the speakers battery, then I would definitely NOT recommend the BeoPlay A2. Not unless you’re fine with an hour or two of battery life that is.


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47 comments, add your own...


  1. bask says:

    One or two hours of battery life for a portable speaker defeats the purpose of buying it for outdoor activities .i tend to believe the device is defected and don’t buy that the battery life would drop from 24 to 1 due to sound quality and usage. I checked reviews online and all commended the battery life span, so something is missing here with their feedback. B&O is about sound quality, so they won’t produce a product that can only work for low volumes or less quality sound tracks….this is like selling HD smart TV that cannot stream HD online correctly!

    • Mark says:

      Well I’ve gone through three different units so not sure what else to do. An hour of battery life at full blast is what the A2 is capable of.

    • Jack Sager says:

      This is exactly what happened with mine,too. I get about an hour of battery life when I play my music (mostly techno) at higher volumes. I am very disappointed with this thing. Right out of the box the AUX jack was defective. I’ve had it for a year, now. The power supply died today. I cannot find where to get another one on their website. I found one place that has them. They are out of stock and cost $69. 69 bucks for a power supply? Really? I wish I’d have bought a Klipsch unit instead. I will never buy a B & O product again.

      • Mea says:

        They are very good to their customers normally, so write them a mail or give them a call and I am almost CERTAIN they will give you a new power supply free of charge :)

    • John says:

      If you use an aux cord with B&O it can last around 3-4 hours. I know it defeats the purpose of the Bluetooth but I think its work the extra battery life.

  2. FYI says:

    Bose SoundLink III

    http://amzn.com/B00HWSXVDG

    the bass doesn’t blow your mind but the speaker overall is great I replaced my big jambox with this.

  3. Techblaze says:

    Something is wrong here.this is the review from gizmodo au.

    The BeoPlay A2′s battery life really is phenomenal. The speaker’s involving sound begs you to use it more — whether it’s on a desk, at home, or out on an excursion — and I’ve had it playing music at moderate volume — around half its maximum power — for more than an entire day at a time without it running out of juice. B&O quotes 24 hours of playback and I’d say that’s more than realistic, given that I’ve achieved it twice over by now. That comes from smart Bluetooth power management and smart amplification, only supplying power to the speaker drivers as they require it.

    source:
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/12/bang-olufsen-beoplay-a2-bluetooth-speaker-australian-review/

    • Mark says:

      Yeah that sounds like total bullshit.

    • C says:

      I have had two A2 units…..and the truth is they don’t like high volume even though they sound wonderful. B & O have now addressed the battery issue stating that it’s like a car -if you drive fast you use more juice.

      I was gettin 4 hours roughly at mixed play the higest being 2/3’s …..if you keep the unit below half it’s max volume you’ll get a good 12 hours.

      B&O should not have really marketed it as a social party speaker it’s mis-leading . Lucky for B&O most folk will keep the speaker because it sounds great. They’ll put up with the weak battery because it looks and sounds good. The sound quality has saved the A2 unit from being one of their Turkey’s

    • Smiler says:

      Techblaze how much were you paid to leave that review? Are you running for the next US Presidential election?
      1 hour speaker and no way to change it. Rip off!

  4. Kuwait says:

    “UP TO”

    The most dangerous word in product promotion. And usually written in the smallest possible font.

  5. Amurrka says:

    Why do people bring these speakers to a public area assuming other people want to listen to their music? Do us a favor, be considerate and wear headphones.

    • Mark says:

      This speaker isn’t loud enough to make the whole beach hear it but if someone next to you is listening to music and you find it annoying you can always nicely ask them to lower the volume.

  6. ariston says:

    maybe it’s typo error… it says battery lasts 2 to 4 hrs instead of 24 hrs… :)

  7. BlarneyBob says:

    Electronics. You can compute the longevity against consumption (at full volume). I doubt that B&O will claim otherwise.

    “Hearable” — audible
    “Defected” — defective

  8. Ramo says:

    B&O products…all show and no go sadly!

  9. Pedro says:

    B&O is overrated I know after using Bowers&Wilkins

  10. Devil says:

    Try JBL Charge 2 … 5 color options. My daughter has 1 and she is not disappointed. It will even charge your iPhone, when docked in.

    http://eu.jbl.com/jbl-products-eu/jbl/wireless/portables.html

  11. Ali AlSharekh says:

    Jawbone’s Big Jambox is the best travel speaker in the market for the past few years in my experience. Try it

  12. Eli says:

    Which portable speaker would you recommend? Not necessarily for outside use but for gatherings in general.

  13. amenono says:

    Try with mp3 music files at lower bitrate (160). Are you using .wav or flac files?

  14. Qato says:

    My A2 has the same battery issue. Pretty disappointing considering I had a BeatsXL Pill that could easily play at loud volumes for 24 hours.

  15. Ant says:

    Great and very accurate review. I wish I had read this before we bought one. Ours also is crap for battery life. The one hour goes so fast. I purchased this for our camping trips but it’s clearly useless. I will never purchase a B and O product again… As the acronym of their name suggests, they are definitely on the nose…

  16. Patrick Semaam says:

    I got one from Beirut few months back and the owner of the shop there warned me that the 24 hours is standby only. Not streaming time. He was actually honest and told me i wont get more than 2 hours of loud play. With that in mind I got it anyway but for portability around the house, not for outdoors per se.

  17. Tim OD says:

    Well I wish I had read these reviews before spending my money on the “rolls Royce”of portable speakers,it’s more like a skoda eletric car in a desert with no power points,1hour tops,bought 6weeks ago,everyone so impressed,even the hotel staff,felt a right plonker when battery failed after just one pokey hour,save your money,this is def not a portable speaker…!

  18. Dudy says:

    I bought the what so called portable speaker about a month ago, I love the sound since it sound more natural than the portable speaker that I already have. It is really a dissapointment soon as I took it to golf course (yes I like to hear music while playing golf) the battery last for less than 2 hours. I wish I had read this review before I purchase the beoplay A2 bluetooth speaker. B&O as a reputable company should not provide a misleading information regarding the battery life of its product…..

  19. The Rock says:

    Thanks for this. I thought I had a bad unit and I am nowhere near a B & O dealer so would have had to send it off somewhere. I mostly use it for travel with my laptop. I shoot a lot of video professionally and edit to soundtracks, so it is usually plugged in. And I also use it for giving presentations during these trips. The battery life scares me enough during these shows, that I try to use it plugged in if I can. So the lack of portability is a true issue as I can’t afford to have the soundtrack just drop out halfway through a show. I saw here that one person says they have a fix for it. I have written B & O today to inquire about that. I love the speaker as I don’t like the heavy bass that most popular speakers strive for. The sound is perfect for me. Just would like to see the batt life extended.

  20. Abhishek says:

    I bought a B&O A2 today and very disappointed with the sound that claims 180watts. I thought maybe i need to update software but after reading all the reviews and experiences here I don’t think that updating software will bring some miraculous change. I bought it from DARTY in Paris, I couldnt check or compare the sound because A2 was not available and was suppose to be ordered hence I did…inspite of being very impressed by Bose Mini i placed the order followed by the assurance of the sales man….180watts can’t be compared with bose minisoundlink 2. But i still remember the and have tested again today. I regret and will go for an exchange tomorrow.
    https://www.bose.fr/fr_fr/products/speakers/wireless_speakers/soundlink_mini_ii.html?mc=01_PS_SL_BO_GO_&gclid=CP3m7pHxhc8CFcsK0wodcugEnQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

  21. Jeffre Lowe says:

    I am amazed by this article. This is exactly what happened to me. I got the Beolit 15 – and the batter lasts a good long while. I am so utterly disappointed. I travel a LOT and this is a fine speaker. But, about an hour or so of max volume simply defeats the entire experience. I had a boat load of people rocking out in Thailand, then – boom, nothing. Speaker gone – out at sea. Very, very disappointed.

  22. Danny Lawley says:

    Just went online to find out if anyone else is having issues with ridiculously poor battery life performance of the A2 Active. So glad I found this post. Just like most folks above, I only get around 2 hours of battery life when playing the device at 75% power.

    I love the look, feel and sound of the A2 Active. The only reason I bought it however is because it is advertised as having an amazing 24 hour battery life. Buyer beware – B&O are lying to us. This device has only enough juice for a couple of hours play at a decent level at most. Even if you plug it in when it gets to a low charge level, the power it receives is not enough to play the device at high volumes.

    Sadly, I have exactly the same issue with the A1. Also a cool looking and great sounding device. Also totally let down by shocking battery life.

    If you intend to purchase either the A2 or the A1 as an outdoor portable speaker -don’t. You will only be horribly disappointed at the outrageously under performing battery!

    Shame on you B&O. I have bought your products for years and really dislike being misled like this.

  23. Stephen Stewart says:

    I think you need to consider the effect that temperature has on lithium ion battery performance. If they are overheated by the sun they are done and will not come back to life.

  24. Dennis Chang says:

    Late to the party and was about to buy the A2 until reading about the very concerning issues with battery, overheating, etc.

    B an O’s deceptive marketing means it is very difficult for me to trust any of their products moving forward no matter how great th quality. Integrity in this business means everything and once lost is very difficult to get back.

    After extensive research the problem lies in the battery. I think it is 2200mA and that is not big enough for what is required from this speaker. A GRAVE and FATAL miscalculation exacerbated by the company actually LYING about it rather than fixing the design flaw by putting in a bigger battery. It is inconceivable that this was tested prior to release, they knew EXACTLY what was going on and lied about it anyway. One of the WORST examples of dishonest marketing I’ve ever seen, not even shading truth, just flat out lying. Shocking from a supposed high end, boutique brand.

    On top of that, there is high probability that company they sub-contracted to provide the batteries may have screwed the pooch on the QC. It appears there are significant batches of essentially defective batteries.

    Don’t get me wrong, even AT BEST due to the small size of the battery, I think you get 8 hours or so playing this at 50 to 60% volume. This is with a perfect battery. But what if it’s defective? Doesn’t hold charge as well? Etc? That is where you see the 3-4 hours.

    I’m going with the Bose Soundlink Mini 2. It may not be as good aurally as the Beoplay but at least Bose is honest about the battery life and at 50% it lasts LONGER than what is advertised.

    I’ve never bought a B&O product ever and this was shaping up to be my first purchase but what they did with the false advertising makes it unlikely I will ever give this company a chance. There are just too many great companies in the audio speaker sound space for me to put up with this type of bush league nonsense.

    • Mark says:

      If they had mentioned that the battery lasts 4 hours I wouldn’t have been upset but because they say it lasts 24 hours you go in with high expectations that with an average volume it should hit like 12 hours but instead get nothing remotely close to 12 yet alone 24.

    • Patrick Semaan says:

      I had mine replaced. I contacted B&O in Beirut and they have been told to take back speakers from unhappy customers and replace them with new updated units. The uodate fixes distortion and battery issues and they hold more juice. I say stick to B&O as the sound is unparalleled. Contact the store u got it from and ask them you wish to get a replacement (as per their global recall). You must also know that BO Play is semi independent from Bang & Olufsen. Its technically 2 different entities. So it’s BO Play who took these series of fax pas that you mentioned and not Bang & Olufsen per se.

      • Mark says:

        when did you contact them? This is my third A2, the first two I thought were defective and had them swapped but that back when i bought it. Is there currently a recall of a sort taking place?

      • Dennis Chang says:

        Could you please elaborate? I am in the United States. Is their a global recall? You got an updated unit so could you please comment on the battery issue? At approximately 50-60 percent maximum volume what are you getting in terms of battery life? Much appreciated and thank you for the clarification of B&O vs Bang and Olufsen. I was not aware of that distinction.

        • Patrick Semaan says:

          As far as I know yes its a global recall. They did not announce it as a recall but if a customer complains of battery or sound distortion issues they are told to replace the unit with an updated one. My new unit has noticeable better battery life. I now get well over 3 hours of continious play at 60% or 70% volume. Its not a huge difference but B&O products consume a LOT of power in order to produce that great sound quality… So whatever they do in the power department, their units will always provide less battery life than other brands. Another thing you should know is that there has been a major firmware update. You can download it from the site on the support secition and follow the video instruction on how to get to the internal usb connection. The uodate fixes power management issues and sound distortion.

  25. The Rock says:

    Has anyone tried the BeoPlay A1?

    Seems that would be a cheaper alternative, although I think it is totally BlueTooth. I don’t think you can plug your iPod directly into it.

    But would be interested to hear experience with the A1!!

    I still use my A2 but as a travel speaker INSIDE, PLUGGED IN to POWER for sound as I work while traveling.

    Thank you.

    • Mark says:

      I haven’t tried the A1 but only because I have the A2. I’d imagine the battery life on that to be inaccurate.

      Like you I also use my A2 always plugged in. Right now I use it as my kitchen speaker and I take it to the pool every now and then but I tend to spend an hour at the pool only so battery life isn’t an issue when i do that.

  26. Barry says:

    I wish I would have found this posting before I bought my A2 Active last week, but I believed B&O 24 hour claim.

    I used mine for 30 minutes at a time for 3 days, and then the battery died. I complained to B&O and I was told that the unit was faulty and I should return it for a replacement, which I’m doing today.

    I bought it online from B&O direct, I’m just wondering whether I should let them replace it go go for a refund straight away. Trouble is that I love the sound, and I’ve tried other speakers, but the sound is mostly awful. Perhaps I should send them a link to this page!!

    • Barry says:

      I decided to send my A2 Active back for a refund, and a couple of days later, after having read several reviews I purchased a Dali Katch bluetooth speaker.

      Well, what a truly amazing product it is. The sound is far superior to the A2, and as for battery life, I’ve been using it daily for nine days, at about 30-40 minutes a day, and the battery still has over 75% left.

  27. Tim says:

    Ok. I have the same problem, so that’s the truth lmfao


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