Portable speakers are a staple at any house party, garden picnic, or beach vacation. Yet due to their often rugged design, they are more heard than seen. Their battery life also leaves little to be desired. Most will only last half a day pumping out the latest chart toppers, and that’s not even at maximum volume. Which means compromises have to be made. You either sacrifice portability for quality, or risk having a poor auditory experience. However, this all changes with Bang & Olufsen’s latest member in its family of speakers, the Beoplay P6.
Over the past week, we spent some time with the Beoplay P6. We brought it to all the places you could bring a portable speaker, and put it through some aural tests. Here is our review.
Bang & Olufsen are known for its premium audio and visual products, and the Beoplay P6 is no exception. Award-winning industrial designer Cecilie Manz, the visionary behind a number of other B&O speakers (the Beoplay A1, A2, and P5) was enlisted again by the Danish company to design the P6.
Its sturdy, rectangular exterior is crafted from a pearl blasted aluminium casing, resulting in a matte polish that is available in two colours, black and natural (silver). The characteristic hole pattern grill seen in other designed-by-Manz Beoplay speakers are also on the P6. A short leather strap on its side gives the impression that it can be easily hung from a tree branch.
But judging by its weight (1 kilogram) you might not be too keen to do that. Ideally, you’d place it standing up on the sturdy rubberised polymer base. Its slim profile doesn’t take up too much space, yet commands a presence with its premium finish.
The controls of the P6 are a homage to B&O’s Beomaster 6000 sound system. Crafted with a single piece of aluminium, it’s a testament to the many hours of research and development to get the polished look down pat. The tactile feel of the buttons feels good to the touch. The OneTouch button can be configured with the Beoplay app to talk to Siri or Google Assistant, and accept your calls when they come through.
The first thing anyone wants to know about a portable speaker is its battery life. The Beoplay P6 boasts a play time of up to 16 hours with a 2600mAh battery that is charged via a USB-C port. Throughout the week we spent with the P6, we only charged it once, and that was when we first unboxed it. However, we barely turned the volume above 50 percent, as that was more than enough to fill the room. The louder you crank the speaker, the more battery it drains.
The sound the P6 produces is on a level we’ve yet to see from another speaker of its class. Inside the aluminium chassis are three amplifiers that pump out a peak power totalling 215 watts. All that goes into the Bang & Olufsen’s True360 signature sound. No matter how you face the P6, you’ll get the same high-quality sound.
We put the P6 to the test with an assortment of media types — pop, rock, electronic, orchestral, including some Netflix. Its impressive frequency range of 55 to 20,000 Hz stood out here. The trebles were clear, and basses were felt. In other speakers we’ve tried, turning the volume to the extremes could result in muffled voices. That wasn’t the case with the P6, as we could still sing and rap along to Dua Lipa’s New Rules and Cardi B’s I Like It even at max volume.
Getting started with the P6 requires a device with Bluetooth connectivity. While we would have preferred a connection that uses WiFi for more fidelity and a wider connection range, Bluetooth is a universal feature in almost any modern device, and setting it up is a lot easier.
As with the latest Bang & Olufsen speakers, you can download the Beoplay app and link two P6s to form a stereo system. This lets you simultaneously stream the same song in two different rooms or fill a wider space with your favourite playlist.
Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay P6 is a portable speaker that performs extraordinarily well in its class, considering its size. At its price point (S$629), we expect nothing less. If you’re looking to get a sexy and powerful speaker, the P6 is the one for you.
The Beoplay P6 retails at S$629 in two colours, black and natural. It is available at Bang & Olufsen Grand Hyatt, Bang & Olufsen Takashimaya and other leading independent retailers.