We've just met Bang & Olufsen here at CES, sitting through a variety of PowerPoint slides and Venn diagrams, but boy was it worth it. The company revealed its lifestyle-focused brand, dubbed B&O Play, and the first product in the lineup which we already spied passing through the FCC back in November. The Beolit 12 is portable AirPlay speaker for iOS Devices, and although it's basically iPhone-speakerdockapalooza here in Vegas, B&O Play's solution is cut from a unique and elegant mold. Click past the break for our initial impressions.
B&O Play Beolit 12 portable AirPlay speaker (hands-on)See all photos
The 7-pound wireless sound system features a swappable leather carrying strap (color options are planned for the future), and its soft-touch top section is molded to serve as a tray for you device when you'd like to set it down -- this is also where you'll find buttons for power, network setup and volume up and down. Behind the 120-watt mini-rig's aluminum grill, you'll find one 4-inch center woofer, along with a duo of tweeters for stereo separation, not to mention a rechargeable battery rated for 8 hours using its inline connection and half of that when streaming to it using AirPlay. On the bottom front there's an IR receiver compatible B&O's Beo remotes, while on back is hinged door that opens to reveal a storage storage compartment for its power cable (the power supply is built-in, like a PS3), as well as an Ethernet port for wiring directly into your home network -- perfect for firmware upgrades.
We gave it a super quick whirl with some Red Hot Chili Peppers, and our initial impressions are positive, to put it simply. The room we demoed the Beolit in was bustling, but cymbals and snare hits were crisp and punchy, as was the bass, which had an easily perceivable amount of thumpy extension. Mids were also quite clear and the speaker itself was felt very powerful and natural sounding (just like B&O described it). Of course, we can't make final call from a 30 second-ish demo, but we'll do our best to spend more time with the unit when it ships later this month, with multiple color choices coming soon after. Notably, we're told that B&O Play as a brand is aimed at younger folks, but that doesn't mean that wares from it are going to be cheap by any means -- well, maybe compared to B&O's usual offerings. The Beolit 12 is set to sell for wallet-thinning for $799 in the US, but you can check out a video overview of it for free below.