B&O Play is the Danish audio brand's more accessible, younger, funkier sibling, and it has a new wireless speaker to take on Sonos in your home. Design has always been a hallmark of Play and its much more distinguished older brother, and accordingly the new M5 is an utterly beautiful device -- probably the most stylish I've ever seen.
"We're in the business of goosebumps." That's the start of the company manifesto, and it's something that B&O realises comes not only from the more practical side of building speakers that sound good, but that sound good while also looking good -- not gaudy or even especially obvious, but just good.
The M5 is a 360-degree speaker courtesy of its cylindrical design, but novel shapes for the hidden speaker drivers means that it can create simulated stereo for you wherever you're sitting in the room. Danish industrial designer Cecile Manz was responsible for the speaker's design, including a replaceable shell of woven fabric from another Danish company in Kvadrat. The top panel of the Beoplay M5 is touch sensitive, and can play or pause music and change volume by tapping or rotating across its axis.
There are five speakers drivers hidden away behind the M5's fabric outer shell, including a five-inch woofer that fires downwards to evenly disperse low frequency around the room that it's in. Otherwise there are four tweeter and full-range drivers on the front and back -- not that you'd know where that is -- that will project sound front and reflect it from a wall nearby. 130 watts of audio power and excellent frequency coverage (37-22,000Hz) mean that this is one of the most aurally versatile small wireless speakers you can buy.
But none of this addresses the fact that when you get up close to it, properly close, you realise just how gorgeous it is. The fabric stretched across that cylindrical body is a marle weave, so it's a complex mix of light and dark strands. You'll be able to buy replacement shells, so you can adjust the look of the Beoplay M5 to match your decor -- B&O Play releases its products in autumn/winter and summer/spring cycles like a fashion brand might.
And the metal that that top plate and lower base, themselves slightly curved at the lip, is very slightly textured courtesy of anodising. It all comes together to make the M5 one of B&O Play's most tactile and attractive and visually enjoyable speakers, and for my money currently the most beautiful wireless speaker that you can buy. Feast your eyes on the Beoplay M5 in the images and video below and you'll get what I mean.
The M5 will be $US599 when it's out on the company's store shelves, and we'll have an Australian price for you as soon as possible. It should also be available to purchase soon. [B&O Play]