Bang & Olufsen are renowned for creating gorgeous AV products. Priced at $645, this portable speaker dock for your iPad isn’t going to be for everyone, although the sheer beauty of it is worth a good look.
The BeoPlay A3 is part of the B&O Play range of products designed for the “digitally connected”. What’s unique about this dock is that it allows for four different orientations for the iPad, without the need for any flip-out stand to support it. But to take that concept to the next level, no matter what orientation the device is in (Portrait or Landscape) you will always get a true “left” and “right” speaker experience.
The smarts of the the BeoPlay A3 detect the movement of the dock/speaker and rearrange the speaker output to suit.
It’s noticeable most in deep audio arrangements with sharp stereo mixes, not so much in your pop songs of today. That said, the typical buyer for the BeoPlay A3 probably isn’t likely to be listening to much Eminem or Rhianna.
Using your iPad in the dock requires the addition of a rubberised sleeve, with two options for iPad 1 version or the slimmer iPad 2 (and New) version. Once it’s wrapped around your iPad, you simply slip it into the dock and slide the connector into your iPad via a rear mounted slider.
The unique triangular design of the sides of the BeoPlay A3 mean that one side supports a standard upright landscape presentation, another side supports an upright portrait orientation, while the two remaining sides are thin and allow the device to lay flat on a table with a leading edge down on the table for either portrait or landscape orientation. It’s quite a stunning design worthy of a design award on its own, in our not so humble opinion.
Built into the BeoPlay A3 is a battery which is charged from your mains power, allowing up to 10 hours of cordless speaker joy. The internal battery will also charge your iPad when not plugged into the mains, although this will of course limit the amount of time you will get from the speakers before needing a charge.
First use requires the installation of a simple B&O app which magically allows the audio to then route to the BeoPlay A3 when you fire up your iTunes collection.
Overall, the BeoPlay A3 offers outstanding design, top audio quality and innovation that easily justify the price-tag. Unfortunately you might have a tougher time convincing the missus of that same fact.