Bang & Olufsen has been working on a minimalist, WiFi, modular speaker that has adaptable acoustics and a minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired design.
It has a powerful five-driver set up that delivers immersive, full-range sound that adapts based on the speaker’s orientation. Laid down, standing up or hanging on the wall, speaker automatically expands the width of the sound to reach everyone, everywhere in the room.
The frame is crafted from premium aluminium in Denmark and thanks to its modular design allows for replacement batteries, changeable fabric and wood covers, and more. The soft-touch buttons are seamlessly integrated into the frame and there is an integrated proximity sensor allowing for the buttons to appear when needed and ensuring that they are the right brightness at all times.
A smoothly integrated handle ensures easy pick up while IP54 dust and splash resistance means you can place it anywhere with confidence. With up to 16 hours of battery life, this elegant speaker is designed to enhance whichever room it’s moved to.
At the back of the device, there is a seamless circular plug that magnetically clicks into a depression at the rear similar to MagSafe on the new iPhones.
The Beosound Level with Google Assistant/ AirPlay and ChromeCast allows you to play your favorite music, control volume and find information about the song that you are listening to, hands-free. If you want discretion, simply slide the button on the top surface of Beosound Level to turn off Voice control completely.
It is available in two colours – Gold tone with light oak or Natural with dark grey and costs £1,099 for the natural and £1,299 for Gold.
The Google Nest Audio was revealed back in October and we have been testing it recently. It is larger than the original Google Home and feels more sturdy.
When revealed, the Nest team stated that the speaker is 75 percent louder and 50 percent more bass and I can confirm that it is definitely louder and the bass is certainly stronger. It is quite a subtle speaker, blending into the background on a side table. The speaker is fitted with a 19mm tweeter, 75mm woofer and Quad Core A53 1.8 GHz processor allowing for a smarter assistant that makes the whole hands-free experience an experience like no other.
There are no physical buttons on the front of the device, there is the microphone mute switch at the back. The speaker has three capacitive buttons on the top for volume and play/pause. In testing, these buttons were only used once or twice as speaking to the device had the same effect and could be done from across the room. As with other Google audio products, the Nest Audio works perfectly as part of a pair or if you have multiple products (Home mini etc) you can have a smart home with music in multiple rooms.
When listening to Rosa Parks by Outkast and Exogenesis Symphony Part III by Muse, the tracks are clear but nothing that truly shouts above the rest of equally sized speakers. You won’t be disappointed by the sound if you use it as a background speaker, filling the room with sound when doing other things like cooking or relaxing, but if you want bassy, party levels, you might want to look elsewhere.
If you are a smart speaker fan, wanting to have a speaker that has crisp sound but also has the benefit of having Google Assistant embedded this is a must have, especially for the price. However, if pure sound is what you are after, there are some better options out there. Think JBL, Sonos or Bose.