Two big hitters from the old school are seeking to make an impression on the upper end of the Bluetooth speaker market, the devices that have replaced boom boxes for the smartphone wielding masses. Hot on the heels of Bowers & Wilkins’ T7 comes Bang & Olufsen’s A2 in its Play range. Both will cost you £299 buts that’s where the similarity ends. The A2 is 46mm longer and weighs another 160g at 1.1kg. The B&W has two 50mm drivers with glass fibre drivers allied to bass drivers arranged in force cancelling style. The rather more attractive B&O has two 20mm tweeters, two full range 75mm drivers and a pair of passive bass radiators of the same size. It specifies an 180 watt class D amp whereas the T7 is described as offers two filterless class D amps of a rather more realistic 12 watts per channel.
The B&O is available in three colours and comes with a leather strap, the B&W has just the one finish and no strap. Both specify Bluetooth aptX which is a significant improvement over standard Bluetooth. One useful feature that B&O includes is a USB input for charging a phone, B&W relies instead on its reputation for sound quality and styling that's reminiscent of the eighties rather than B&O’s variation from the fifties.