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Image credit: Mat Smith, Engadget

Bang and Olufsen's BeoSound Edge is its own giant volume dial

This gorgeous $3,500 wireless speaker has some nice tricks, but you're paying for the looks.
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Mat Smith, Engadget

Bang and Olufsen never lets me down at IFA. If it's not TV stands that move, it's speakers given a form you've never imagined before. Take Beosound Edge, the company's new, pricey wireless speaker that looks like a cake tin or a shiny hole into darkness.

The Edge was designed by Michael Anastassiades, who's responsible for some pretty gorgeous water fountains and is best known for his work in lighting design. He took inspiration from the UK's old pound coin: a chunky slab of tender that's circular and relatively thick -- thick enough to stand on its side. (A little awkward, then, that redesigned pound coins entered circulation last year.)

Sound-wise, the Edge has some punch, even amid a trade show floor still in construction. It has a 10-inch woofer, two pairs of 4-inch midrange drivers and 0.75-inch tweeters. There are six amps too. The Edge marks the debut for B&O's Active Bass Port: As you crank up the volume on the new wireless speaker, a chamber inside the 50-cm-tall speaker will open up to output "more energized bass."

It's also (unsurprisingly) expensive! It's gorgeous! It's certainly a conversation piece, and there's an overwhelming urge to roll it around. That's by design. The Edge is actually its own giant volume dial, where slowly rocking it forward or backward will change the volume. Touch sensors on the speaker work through microscopic holes inside the aluminum frame, which means even if you decide to mount it on your wall -- which you can do -- these functions still work. (It even still rocks a little.) It's charming, and while it sounds good, you're paying for the design, the materials and how it fits into your (probably) already beautifully furnished home.

Fortunately, beyond the audio specifications, the BeoSound Edge is made for 2018: It works with AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth for your connectivity needs. And while it doesn't have smart speaker functionality built in, it will obey your voice commands when paired with a speaker that does -- say, the company's updated BeoSound 1 and 2.

Sound, perhaps predictably, comes from both sides of the speaker, offering 360-degree spread. But the cool part comes from the companion app, where you can assign an active listening side (the expansive dance floor part of your fictional, fancy, huge-but-minimalist apartment) while a passive audio front keeps conversations flowing at your kitchen-side cocktail bar. Start inviting the beautiful people now: The BeoSound Edge is set to launch around mid-November, later this year.

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2018 here!

Mat once failed an audition to be the Milkybar Kid, an advert creation that pushed white chocolate on gluttonous British children. Two decades later, having repressed that early rejection, he moved to Japan, learned the language, earned his black belt in Judo and returned to UK, and soon joined Engadget's European team. After a few years leading Engadget's coverage from Japan, reporting on high-tech toilets and robot restaurants as Senior Editor, he now heads up our UK bureau in London.

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