Review: Does Beoplay P6 give you enough Bang for your buck?
Portable speaker brings Bluetooth to a new level, boasting impressive sound and battery
Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay P6 ticks all the right boxes for style and substance
Product name: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P6
Where to buy: www.bang-olufsen.com/en
It’s summer, which means – hopefully – plenty of trips to the beach, picnics in the park and maybe the odd sun holiday here and there. So you may want to start thinking about what technology you want to make part of your summer kit, particularly Bluetooth speakers.
Bang & Olufsen’s latest is the Beoplay P6. Taller than the average Bluetooth speaker, the Beoplay P6 looks more like an old-school speaker or amp than a small Bluetooth audio device. In typical Bang & Olufsen style, it has some distinctive style points.
The speaker grills are pearl blasted aluminium, if details like that hold your interest; the carrying strap is leather. It is splash and dust resistant, which is essential in my opinion for any portable Bluetooth speaker, given that they are meant to be used outdoors. Overly delicate electronics have no place here, unless you like building a collection of expensive paperweights. Don’t dunk it in the water though – it is splash-proof, not waterproof, and that’s a very important (and expensive) distinction.
On the top, there is a row of buttons that control power, Bluetooth pairing, volume and one-touch control. On the bottom, it has a rubberised base to ensure the speaker doesn’t slip. The leather strap is sturdy, so you don’t feel carrying it by the strap alone is precarious – a good thing, because there’s a bit of weight to this speaker.
Getting set up takes only a few seconds. Hit the Bluetooth button to put it in pairing mode, connect it to your device and off you go. A small LED light turns blue and blinks to let you know it’s in pairing mode, and is white when powered on. You don’t need the Beoplay app, but it has some useful functions, such as mapping that one touch button. Out of the box, the one touch button controls pausing and skipping tracks.
Even if you aren’t won over by style alone, the Beoplay P6 certainly lives up to expectations on sound. Over the course of a few days, the speaker was tasked with everything from rap to classical music, Disney soundtracks to thrash metal and some podcasts. The speaker handled everything with ease, didn’t overdo the bass but still managed to sound rich and full. Speaker grilles on both sides mean you get a 360° effect on sound, and you have to turn it up seriously loud – like, complaints from the neighbours, in my experience – before you get any serious distortion in sound.
Battery life was impressive. The official spec is 16 hours on medium volume, but there wasn’t a noticeable penalty for edging above medium. A full charge takes about three hours; the device charges over USB C, so if you have a relatively new Android phone, chances are you have a spare cable or two.
The bottom line is this is an expensive piece of kit for a Bluetooth speaker. You can pick up a cheap one for a third of the price. But they’re not in the same league; in fact they’re not even close. You could buy a cheaper one with similar sound quality if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit on battery life. But if you have the budget, the Beoplay P6 ticks all the right boxes for style and substance.
The sound. You can’t fault the Beoplay P6 for sound. It is deep, rich and loud, without going too heavy on the bass. Battery life is great too, with around 16 hours, depending on how loud you like to play your music.
The not so good
If you are looking for something to throw in a small bag, the Beoplay P6 may add a little too much weight. Its weight isn’t off-putting, but it’s slightly heavier than the average Bluetooth speaker.
You don’t get much in the way of extras with the speaker. Inside the box is just the speaker and the cable for charging, so if you play to take this speaker out and about, and want it to stay looking pristine, you might want to hunt down a case for it.
The voice control was something that took me a couple of days to even try out, partly because it needs to be set using the Beoplay companion app. It’s not essential, but it’s a nice add-on to be able to use Siri.
If you have the cash to splash, the B&O Beoplay P6 is worth considering.