I never knew I needed a wicker Bluetooth speaker ‘til I saw B&O’s 60’s-styled beauty

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 beside two of B&O's heritage Beolit radios, dating from 1961
(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5)

If you think the speaker above would look right at home on the set of Mad Men, give yourself a pat on the back: Bang & Olufsen shaped the last century's audio outlook with its iconic, enduring designs. And the firm has mined its celebrated past (particularly its 1960s Beolit radio series) for the new Beosound A5. 

The new B&O product vying to be one of the best Bluetooth speakers to grace our 2023 testing process – and it's got every chance, given that the exceptional Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) and Beosound Explore currently feature in that roundup – has been designed in collaboration with the Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi. It is available in two colorways, our favorite being the natural aluminum with a woven paper fiber front with a light oak handle. 

GamFratesi's vision here is one of laid-back Scandinavian summers at the beach, traditional Panama straw hats, hand-woven leather accents on 1960s Danish chairs, and, of course, the curved edges and handle from B&0's Beolit 607 radio, launched in 1961.

With more than 12 hours of playtime and a wireless phone charger integrated into the top panel of the speaker, B&O says Beosound A5 is Bang & Olufsen's most versatile speaker to date – and if you like the idea of wickerwork on your hi-fi kit, it's a good-looking thing.

The four-way driver setup with four digital amplifiers provides a combined 280W of power, which promises to fill large rooms with dynamic 360-degree sound. The design comprises a 5.25-inch woofer, dual 2-inch midrange drivers, and a 1.75-inch tweeter.

Beosound A5 in Nordic Weave is available now, priced $1,049 / £899 from April 27. The darker oak version? That's $100 / £100 more expensive. That puts the Beosound A5 very much at the top end when it comes to the best Bluetooth speakers – but this is Danish high-end territory; we expect nothing less...

Nostalgia – its delicate but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek nostalgia literally means 'the pain from an old wound'

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 on a bedside shelf, by a window

Ben Don Draper also has a carriage clock like that…  (Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

One for the Don Draper fans, there – a most memorable quote from Mad Men. Anyway, Beosound A5 sits at the junction where portable and home audio meet. The solid oak handle allows the speaker to be carried from room to room and casually placed on the floor, shelf, table or manic Madison Avenue New York advertising agency but, thanks to an IP65 water-and dustproof rating, Beosound A5 can be taken on adventures too. And I think it looks beautiful. 

And it's far from a case of authentic hygge vibes and no substance. In the same manner, as the company showcased at IFA 2022 with the Beosound Theater, this unit has been modularly designed so that it can be easily serviced and repaired to extend its lifetime if needed, rather than being replaced by a newer model – even Don Draper can change, people. 

And thanks to Bang & Olufsen's Mozart software platform, the longevity of Beosound A5 goes beyond physical craftsmanship and modular design, giving it the capacity and capability to evolve with new technologies and, the company says, "unlock new listening experiences for years to come."

In terms of connectivity, Beosound A5 supports Bluetooth 5.2 and is compatible with Beolink Multiroom, Airplay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect. Given these credentials, the beautiful Beosound A5 could become one of the best AirPlay speakers to ever make it through our testing process, but time will tell. As Don Draper famously taught us: "It's your life. You don't know how long it's gonna last, but you know it doesn't end well. You've gotta move forward …as soon as you can figure out what that means."

Becky Scarrott
Audio Editor

Becky became Audio Editor at TechRadar in 2024, but joined the team in 2022 as Senior Staff Writer, focusing on all things hi-fi. Before this, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.