Here at CES 2014, Bang & Olufsen is looking to make access to tunes as soon as you get out of bed "as easy as turning on the lights." To do so, the high-end audio company has announced Beosound Essence: a circular music control dial that can be either wall mounted or fixed to a small metal plate for use around the house. The device features a rotating aluminum ring that doubles as a volume dial with track skipping, play/pause and power touch control on the face. In fact, it'll pick up at the exact point you last listened. That bit of silver alongside minimal graphics and black accents keeps the unit inline with B&O's upscale look. Measuring about two-inches across, the Essence is quite small and only extends a couple of inches off of the wall -- when mounted in that fashion. Up to three of the controls can be used in a single room, if you'd like to spread out multiples.
In the event that you need that controller to be a bit more mobile, B&O had accounted for that. The company is calling it a "table-top" mount and it's attached to a metal plate that's about the size of an index card. As you might expect, the add-on keeps with the aesthetic while making the Essence a bit easier to keep track of. In order to connect to that gaggle of speakers -- like the recently announced BeoLab 17, 18 and 19, for example -- there's a separate box that can remain hidden in a cabinet and connects to the controller via low-energy Bluetooth. In terms of compatibility, you can expect AirPlay and DLNA support as well as streaming from Spotify Connect, QPlay and a variety of internet radio providers at launch. It also plays nice with the BeoPlay smartphone app, too. Speaking of its arrival, the Essence will be available this spring for $995 and that so-called table-top option tacks on an additional $200. Despite showing off a smattering of color options for the back plate here in Vegas, we're told only the dark grey option will be available at launch -- which is a bummer, because the wood grain looks really nice. We've already had a look at the device for ourselves, so jump down in the gallery that follows for some snapshots.
B&O Essence hands-on
Will Lipman contributed to this report.