It is the latest generation of the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12 portable Bluetooth speaker, launched in 2012 and now available as a 2020 upgrade in the form of the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20. According to Bang & Olufsen, the roots of this elegant portable speaker go back to 1939.
It was in 2012 when Bang & Olufsen launched the Bang & Olufsen PLAY range, which focused on the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12, a portable Bluetooth speaker. Even then, the company boasted that this solution offered a high-quality, flexible portable audio system, where design was as important as perfect sound. Now, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is the 2020 upgrade and the latest generation of the system.
But the roots of the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 go much further than 2012, the Danish company says. It is even possible to look back to the company’s beginnings, to 1939, when the company was already focusing on similarly designed solutions, although at that time, of course, they were radios, specifically tube radios.
But the company directly compares the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 Bluetooth speaker with the solution that Ib Fabiansen designed in 1960 in the form of the Bang & Olufsen Beolit AM/FM, the first “transistor radio” to replace tube radios. In 1970, Jacob Jensen designed the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 400 and Bang & Olufsen Beolit 600 systems, which were also transistor radios that, in their day, were very different from the models of competing brands, as Bang & Olufsen can look back with confidence. The knobs were flush with the surface and a slider-inspired control was used for tuning. A clever detail was found in the handle, which could be tilted to the side so that the radio could be placed comfortably in front of you with the controls.
With the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12, the concept was adopted in portable Bluetooth speakers, as well as in subsequent generations in the form of the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 and Bang & Olufsen Beolit 17 solutions.
According to Bang & Olufsen, all Bang & Olufsen Beolit models share one thing in common, namely the sound quality that the manufacturers say is outstanding: all Bang & Olufsen Beolit models, those from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as those presented since the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12 from 2012, and thus also the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20. In addition, the latest generation of speakers offers immense flexibility of use and a long battery life.
The new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 was designed by Cecilie Manz, and is expected to offer a number of design innovations that will make daily use even more comfortable, according to the manufacturer. The original hole pattern has been revived in a modern design. Repeating sloping lines and winding corners create a striking and dynamic appearance while optimising acoustic performance with 45 percent air permeability for a clear, precise sound. The height and curvature of the top shelf have been redesigned to provide multiple placement options when charging smartphones. The keys have been reinforced and a naturally tanned leather strap adds the finishing touch.
Inside, three 1.5-inch full-range drivers work in combination with a 5.5-inch long-stroke wideband woofer and two 4-inch passive bass radiators. The drivers in the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 are driven by a Class D amplifier module, which provides two times 35 watts of power.
The new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 has been designed to deliver a full, rich sound with 360° radiation into the room, the manufacturer promises.
The frequency response that can be covered by the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 can be found in the data sheet at 37 Hz to 20 kHz.
Bluetooth 4.2 is used for the signal transmission, whereby only SBC and AAC are used, but not aptX or even aptX HD.
It should be emphasised that two Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 can be combined to form a stereo pair. This also applies to the combination of the current Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 and its predecessor, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 17.
If you want to connect a source in the traditional way, you can do so via an analogue input in the form of a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack.
The control is probably done primarily via the smartphone anyway, which acts as the source. For this purpose the manufacturer naturally offers a suitable app, the Bang & Olufsen app, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android. Among other things, this app also allows the sound to be adjusted via an EQ with five presets.
All relevant buttons for playback control and volume control are also available directly on the device.
The new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is equipped with an integrated rechargeable battery with a capacity of 3,200 mAh, which is designed to provide up to eight hours of play time at normal volume. If, on the other hand, the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is used to play music only discreetly in the background, i.e. at a very low level, the battery life should be as long as 37 hours.
The battery is charged via USB-C, and the matching cable and power supply unit are included in the scope of delivery.
Speaking of charging, the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 has a charging cradle for smartphones on its top side, so it can be used as a wireless charging station, using the usual Qi wireless charging standard.
The new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 is now available from specialist retailers in two design versions. Customers can choose between Grey Mist and Black Anthracite. In both versions, the recommended retail price for the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 should be € 500.
Getting to the point
According to Bang & Olufsen, all Bang & Olufsen Beolit models share one thing in common, namely the sound quality that the manufacturers consider to be outstanding: the models from the 1960s and 1970s, such as those presented since the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12 from 2012, and thus also the new Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20. In addition, the latest generation of speakers offers immense flexibility of use and a long battery life.