Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: powerful, portable, pricey

A sensational speaker that fills any space with sound

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 on side table with plant
(Image: © Future / Max Langridge)

TechRadar Verdict

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 is possibly the Danish brand's best wireless speaker to date. It's once again married drop-dead gorgeous looks with sublime audio prowess in total harmony, to the point where it should satisfy even the most critical of ears. It's portable, too, a rarity for a speaker of this caliber and, with audio accepted from myriad sources, nobody should have an issue with getting it to play their favorite tracks. All this performance doesn't come cheap and the Beosound A5's lofty price tag is likely to be out of reach for many, but understanding just how well it performs, how it looks and the company responsible for it, its price starts to make sense.

Pros

  • +

    Powerful, detailed sound

  • +

    Comprehensive companion app

  • +

    An absolute stunner

Cons

  • -

    Very pricey

  • -

    Too heavy to be deemed truly portable

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Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5: Two-Minute Review

  • Update September 28th, 2023: We've just today noticed a price increase for the Beosound A5 in all territories. In Australia, both colour options have received a price increase, and in the UK/US, just the Dark Oak model has seen its price increase.
    We have knocked half a star off the Beosound A5 rating to reflect this extra cost. 

If you like your wireless Bluetooth speakers to go loud, offer a raft of genuinely useful features, and to masquerade as a picnic basket, then the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 is for you. OK, maybe the picnic basket looks are a little niche but, despite that, B&O’s latest good-looking music maker is quite possibly the best Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever heard. 

It’s not cheap, I’ll admit, but take just one listen – hey, even one look could be enough, it’s so beautiful – and you’ll soon understand where your money is going. The Danish audio maestros at Bang & Olufsen have concocted a simply sublime speaker here, one that will take pride of place in your home. 

The Beosound A5 is so accomplished in its audio delivery, I was able to hide it away – on a side table alongside a pot plant – and was treated to an audio performance with such scale and power that I found myself questioning not only where the sound was coming from, but also how it was able to so easily fill the room, considering its relatively small size. It’s all made possible by the Beosound A5’s “Omni” sound, which is 360º sound to me and you – more on that later.

Connectivity options are strong, with the aforementioned Bluetooth (version 5.3), Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. Music streaming services including Spotify, Tidal and Deezer can also connect via Wi-Fi and, should you already own other speakers bearing the B&O name, you can integrate the Beosound A5 into a multi-room system.

Perhaps what is the Beosound A5’s pièce de résistance, however, is the fact you’re able to take it on-the-move with you. One would expect that a speaker capable of the levels of power on offer here would need to be tethered to a wall socket at all times. Indeed, its closest competitors in terms of audio performance (here’s looking at you, Sonos Era 300) do require constant mains power. But B&O has managed to integrate a rechargeable battery that is good for up to 12 hours on a single charge, which puts it more in the firing line of the Sonos Move. Sonos’ portable powerhouse costs around half of what B&O asks for the Beosound A5, which only serves to highlight how considerable of an investment this speaker is.

Whilst the designers will tell you legacy products such as the Beolit series of radios influenced the styling choices of the A5, there’s no denying that it looks like a picnic basket. And thanks to battery power, you can take said picnic basket to an actual outdoor picnic. 

It’s an incredibly accomplished speaker, then, but there’s no getting around the fact it is expensive. In fact, the word ‘very’ wouldn’t look out of place in that sentence. But the Beosound A5 is also perhaps the best wireless speaker to come off Bang & Olufsen’s production line. Ever. And to some, owning the product with that title – not to mention the bragging rights that come with the name – could be priceless. 

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: Price and availability

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 in Dark Oak colour on coffee table

(Image credit: Future / Max Langridge)
  • Released on April 27, 2023
  • Priced from $1,099 / £899 / AU$1,950 (prices increased September 2023)
  • Extra cost for Dark Oak model

Bang & Olufsen launched the Beosound A5 Bluetooth speaker on April 27, 2023 in two color options: Nordic Weave (natural aluminum with a woven paper fiber front and light oak handle) and Dark Oak (black anthracite aluminum with a dark wood grille and handle).

The Nordic Weave model is the more affordable of the two, having an RRP of $1,099 / £899 / AU$1,950. Note, that the Australian launch price was AU$1,650, but it has since increased by AU$300. 

The Dark Oak model will set you back an extra $200 / £200 in the US/UK and an extra AU$250 in Australia. Prices for the Dark Oak model have increased in all territories. At launch, they were $100/£100/AU$150 more than the Nordic Weave model. 

That’s a lotta cash, but you are getting a lotta speaker in return, and if you’re looking at Bang & Olufsen to be the deliverer of music in your home, chances are you’re not one to be phased by the money being asked for. Plus, the Beosound A5 holds a unique position in that it delivers serious power and is portable. If you take the view that you’re getting two premium products in one gorgeous body, you can at least justify to yourself (or your better half) that it’s worth forking out for. 

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Speaker drivers1 x woofer; 2 x midrange ; 1 x tweeter
Amplification4 x Class D amps
Dimensions187 x 285 x 130 mm (h,w,d)
Streaming supportBluetooth 5.3, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Chromecast, B&O app
Voice assistant supportN/A
Other featuresBeolink multiroom control, stereo pair option

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: Features

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 top panel

(Image credit: Future / Max Langridge)
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for multiple streaming options
  • No wired inputs
  • Global radio stations via B&O app

Tucked away behind its gorgeous exterior, Bang & Olufsen has installed a 130mm bass driver, two 50mm full-range drivers and a single 20mm tweeter. Each driver gets its own 70W of Class D amplification, bringing the total to 280 watts, which is a lot considering its size. 

Bluetooth 5.3 is onboard for maximum compatibility with a range of audio sources, but you also get the option of streaming music via Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Chromecast over Wi-Fi. There aren’t any physical inputs for playing audio, with the only input being USB-C, which is used for charging. 

The Bang & Olufsen companion app opens up even more options, such as instant access to a vast array of radio stations. Local stations in your country are listed first and foremost, but you are free to change the location, so you can easily stream radio from the likes of Africa, Asia or South America, should you be so inclined. 

The Beosound A5 is also set up to become part of a wider multi-room audio system. Not only can you group it with other AirPlay speakers, for example, but you can also add it to an existing Beolink multi-room system, if you already own other B&O products that support it. 

And, while Google Assistant is supported, it's not by the way of voice. You can control the Beosound A5 using Google Assistant via your phone, but you can't bark commands at it. This is despite there being a microphone built into the unit. The mic can be used for room calibration, although I have yet to be able to get this to work. 

There's a physical switch on the rear of the A5, which I toggled on and off a few times to try and get the speaker to register that it was indeed on, but whenever I navigated to the calibration setting in the app, I kept getting the message that the microphone wasn't activated. I have read other accounts of people being able to get the microphone and calibration software to work, so hopefully this is just a minor bug with my review unit. 

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: Sound quality

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 in Dark Oak close up

(Image credit: Future / Max Langridge)
  • Remains in control at high volume
  • Omni sound creates more space, but not genuine 360º
  • Fully customizable equalizer within B&O app

I’ve already alluded to it in this review, but to reiterate, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5’s sound quality is bloody phenomenal (pardon the language but it's necessary here)! Once I had it set up in my main room, I got to work throwing all manner of songs at it to see how it coped. The first thing I noticed was just how loud it was able to go. My main room is a good size, and when connected via AirPlay from my iPhone, it filled it with ease. I didn’t even need to have the volume a third of the way to full and I was still concerned I’d get a knock at the door from the neighbors. 

If you do dare to turn up the volume, then you’ll experience a sound that is genuinely room-filling. I didn’t have a larger room to test the speaker in, but considering what I said about not even needing to put the volume at 30%, I have no doubt that 70% to 100% will satisfy any prospective buyer. 

What I was particularly amazed by was just how controlled the sound was no matter the volume. Lower bass frequencies really do rumble and vocals in the higher frequency range cut through with clarity and precision. It’s an absolute joy to listen to. 

No matter the genre, the Beosound A5 is ready to deliver it to its absolute best. I sent it bass-heavy dance tracks from the likes of Australian DJs Dom Dolla and Fisher, more intricate vocal performances from Madonna and the Dave Matthews Band, and even some poptastic crowd pleasers from George Michael and Cher. 

Each was delivered with confidence and clarity, with no single frequency overpowering the other. I really wanted to find a chink in the Beosound A5’s beautiful armor, but it was to no avail. Everything and anything was belted out from the unassuming exterior in unison, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable experience song after song. 

Bang & Olufsen’s app helps to further your enjoyment, giving you the ability to adjust and customize the equalizer to your liking. I’d used this feature before when reviewing the Beoplay EX in-ear headphones and so I was pleased to be reunited with it here. 

You’re able to adjust characteristics of the sound with real precision, more than just increasing or decreasing bass and treble for example. You can save any presets you fancy and you can also toggle the Omni 360º sound on or off. 

Turning it off does indeed cause your music to sound more direct, while having it on introduces an extra sense of space. I wouldn’t call it true 360º sound, but the soundstage does indeed become larger. There were instances where I didn’t fully appreciate this more expansive sound I’ll admit, and so I would find myself switching to stereo. The Omni sound can reduce the impact of some recordings, and it can touch upon the outskirts of sounding ‘muddled’. During my listening time, however, this was rare. 

If you do want true Atmos-like audio, then the Sonos Era would be a better choice, as it has actual upfiring drivers.

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: Design

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 rear panel

(Image credit: Future / Max Langridge)
  • Portable thanks to battery power and carry handle
  • IP65 protection against water splashes and dust
  • Available in 'silver' and 'black'

Yes, it looks like a basket. Now that’s out of the way, we can get into brass tacks. 

As portable Bluetooth speakers go, the Beosound A5 is actually quite large and heavy, tipping the scales at 3.8kg. You certainly can’t just slip it into your backpack like you can with some other portable Bluetooth speakers. No, if you know you’re going to take this one with you on-the-move, you will appreciate a vehicle to transport it to your destination, although truth be told, I can't see many owners doing even this. 

But this is a Bang & Olufsen product, which means just as much attention has been paid to making it look like a piece of furniture or art, as it has to making it sound superb. For the Beosound A5, B&O has enlisted the services of Danish-Italian design studio GamFratesi, with the two brands collaborating on the overall aesthetic. 

The result is a great one, and I can’t imagine there’ll be many who oppose the looks of the Beosound A5. It’s as minimalist and clean as one should now expect from the premium Danish brand and I love how the grille wrapping around the outside doesn’t immediately give away that it’s a speaker. During my time with the product, the Beosound A5 was nestled away in the corner of my room, slipping in nicely with the overall aesthetic of the space. I’m just as happy to look at it as I am to listen to it. It’s easily the best-looking wireless speaker I’ve personally come across. 

What is perhaps more interesting and impressive, is that B&O has designed the Beosound A5 so that it can be easily repaired – should it ever become necessary – and upgraded. This is thanks to what it calls the Mozart platform. This refers to both the modular and long-lasting design of the Beosound A5, and software updates that allow it to be future-proof. Mozart also, says B&O, helps to reduce the company's environmental impact. B&O says many of the elements of the A5 are replaceable by the user, such as the covers. For more intricate repairs or replacements, Bang & Olufsen is on hand to provide its services. 

On top of the Beosound A5 you’ll find the power button, Bluetooth pairing button, volume controls and four ‘favorite’ buttons. With these, you can save different sound profiles, enabling quick switching depending on the genre of music you’re listening to, or some radio stations. On the top surface is also where you’ll find a Qi wireless charging plate for keeping your smartphone’s battery topped up. It did take me a little bit of trial and error to get my iPhone to register the exact positioning of the charger, but overall it was a pretty seamless experience. Using the wireless charger whilst using the speaker on battery power will naturally eat into the overall battery life of the Beosound A5.  

Speaking of battery power, B&O says the A5 is good for 12 hours of playback (without using the wireless charging plate) and a full recharge via USB-C takes around three hours. 

  • Design score: 5/5

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 review: Value

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 speaker on entertainment unit

(Image credit: Future / Max Langridge)
  • Class-leading sound and gorgeous design
  • Flexible connectivity options
  • Price will realistically be too high for most

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 does come with a high price attached and in the current climate, it might not be the absolute best decision to have launched it. We also now can't ignore the significant increases seen internationally, which we have to say do make it a tougher sell. 

But, there is the fact that the realistic target audience for such a speaker is likely going to be those who are in the fortunate position of not needing to look after the pennies as much. 

It must also be said that it really is a phenomenal-sounding speaker, one that I wholeheartedly think deserves its price. When you factor in the sound quality, the beautiful design and the fact it has the Bang & Olufsen name attached, the price starts to become justified. 

I’d say the closest competition to the Beosound A5 would be the likes of the Sonos Era 300 or Apple HomePod 2 from a lifestyle speaker perspective, or the Devialet Mania from a cost perspective. The former two require mains power at all times, while the Devialet offers much in the same way when it comes to sound. It too is able to create a big, wide soundfield – perhaps more impressively since it’s a smaller speaker – and has a similar feature set. 

We’ll do our best to get both speakers side by side for a proper premium portable speaker comparison. 

  • Value score: 3/5

Should I buy the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SectionNotesScore
FeaturesA wealth of wireless connectivity options make it a versatile speaker. Some may miss a wired input, however.4.5/5
Sound qualityExceptional sound no matter the volume, but Omni sound doesn't quite create a 360º soundfield.4.5/5
DesignAbsolutely stunning in either color and it's well protected against water and dust.5/5
ValueUndoubtedly a high price, but if you view it as two speakers in one, it can represent good value.3/5

Buy it if...

You want one of the best-sounding speakers currently available

There’s no denying the B&O Beosound A5 sound absolutely incredible. It delivers a sound that belies its size and then some, and does so with complete composure and confidence. 

You predominantly stream music

With Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Chromecast and more, the Beosound A5 can accept music streams from virtually any source you can think of. If the majority of your music is on streaming services, the B&O can likely play it.

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a budget

The Beosound A5 is a considerable investment. Yes, it does a lot to justify its price, but the fact remains it’s not your everyday impulse purchase. 

You want a genuinely portable Bluetooth speaker

While it will run on battery power for up to 12 hours, the Beosound A5 isn’t what you would traditionally call portable. If you want to take your tunes to the beach or on a hike, we’d recommend something you’d be more willing to take a few knocks. 

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5: Also Consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 competitors
Header Cell - Column 0 Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5Devialet ManiaSonos MoveSonos Era 300
Pricefrom $1,099 / £899 / AU$1,650 $900 / £690 / AU$1,400$399 / £399 / AU$699$449 / £449 / AU$749
Speaker drivers1x tweeter, 2x full-range, 1 x woofer4x full-range, 2x woofers1x tweeter, 1x mid-woofer4x tweeters, 2x woofers
Amplification4x Class D amps6x Class D amps2x Class D amps6x Class D amps
Dimensions (h,w,d)7.4 x 11.2 x 5.1 in / 187 x 285 x 130 mm7.6 x 6.9 x 5.5 in / 193 x 176 x 139 mm9.44 x 6.29 x 4.96 in / 240 x 160 x 126 mm6.30 x 10.24 x 7.28 in / 160 x 260 x 185 mm
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C (3.5mm line-in and Ethernet via adapter)
Streaming supportApple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Chromecast, Tidal Connect, B&O Radio, Deezer, QPlay 2.0Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Devialet appApple AirPlay 2, Sonos appApple AirPlay 2, Sonos app
Voice assistant supportN/AAlexaAlexa, Google Assistant, Sonos Voice ControlAlexa, Sonos Voice Control
Other featuresBeolink multi-room control, stereo pair option, AirPlay 2 multi-room controlSonos multi-room control, stereo pair optionDolby Atmos support, Sonos multi-room control, Sonos home theater option, stereo pair option
Image

Devialet Mania

For similar money, similar performance and similar brand bragging rights, the Devialet Mania could be a good option for you. It’s a little more portable thanks to its smaller size and lighter weight, and it too accepts music streams from practically all the same sources as the Beosound A5.

Here's our Devialet Mania hands-on review

Image

Sonos Move

Similar in its approach to the Beosound A5, the Sonos Move also offers streaming over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, can integrate within a wider Sonos system, and can also be classed as portable, thanks to an internal battery. It’s also roughly half the price of the Bang & Olufsen speaker, but we’d at least argue it isn’t as pretty. 

Here's our full Sonos Move review

Image

Sonos Era 300

If you’re going to be streaming music at home for most of the time, a mains-powered speaker could be a more tempting option. The Sonos Era 300 delivers genuine Dolby Atmos-style spatial sound, is incredibly powerful and accepts music from virtually any connected source. It’s also a lot cheaper, and you could get yourself a pair for the same price as B&O’s offering. 

Here's our full Sonos Era 300 review

How I tested the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5

  • Tested with music from Apple Music, streamed via AirPlay 2 from both my phone and my laptop
  • Used at home, in various rooms and locations within each
  • Tested for two weeks, listened to for around 15 hours total

I’ve had the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 for a couple of weeks, and since it arrived having already been loaned out to other parties, I didn’t feel the need to run it in too much. I did let it play a few songs on a low volume, just to get warmed up. 

I then sat down to listen to it, playing music from both my laptop and my phone using Apple Music and streaming via AirPlay 2. I positioned the Beosound A5 in various places around my main living room, to see if and how it affected the sound output. 

I also experimented to great lengths with changing the equalizer settings within the B&O app. I moved the control wheel around to various spots, changing the sound from bright and energetic, to warm and even to remove bass and treble frequencies, until I could settle on an EQ that best-suited my preferences. 

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: July 2023
Max Langridge
Staff Writer

Max is a senior staff writer for TechRadar who covers home entertainment and audio first, NBN second and virtually anything else that falls under the consumer electronics umbrella third. He's also a bit of an ecommerce fiend, particularly when it comes to finding the latest coupon codes for a variety of retailers. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Max spent a combined five years writing for What Hi-Fi? and Pocket-lint, before moving to Australia in 2018. After a brief stint writing for men’s lifestyle publications, Max is back to working on his first passion of technology.