B&O's new buttonless Bluetooth speaker uses voice control and touch

Luxury Danish brand Bang & Olufsen has released a new affordable portable speaker, the Beoplay P2.

The compact speaker is the latest in B&O’s successful Beoplay range. Coming in at £149 (about $190, AU$256), the speaker is the cheapest in the range, but from looking at the press release, B&O seems to have done a good job of balancing economy and luxury.

The Beoplay P2 is crafted with the high level of quality that's synonymous with B&O. Made out of pearl-blasted aluminium and leather, the pebble-shaped speaker is an improvement on the design of the brand's previous speaker, the A1, that a few people in our office thought looked a little like a fire alarm.

Tap and app control

The remarkable thing about the Beoplay P2 is that it’s completely buttonless. The speaker responds to gesture commands, so you can tap to play and pause, shake to change tracks, or use your digital assistant to control the B&O Play app.

The onboard microphone sits within a groove in the design, so the speaker should be able to hear you from any angle. The whole speaker is designed to be optimized for 360-degree user experience, with the sound quality supposedly being the same from any angle. 

The problem that instantly springs to mind with the gestural controls that if you're using the speaker on the move, is it going to think that walking or cycling is a gesture it needs to respond to? We’ll know more once we get our hands on one to try it out.

The Beoplay P2 still hasn’t rectified the main problem we had with the A1, however, which was the lack of waterproofing. The official website lists both speakers as “dust and splash resistant”, but to be honest, if you're using a speaker outside you want to feel secure in the knowledge that it will withstand getting rained on. 

The press release claims the speaker has 10-hour battery life, although whether this is 10 hours of play time is unclear. We look forward to reviewing the speaker, to see how it matches up to our current best Bluetooth speakers

The pebble-shaped speaker comes in Black, Sand Stone, and Royal Blue, and is currently available from B&O's official website.

Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.