Put some style in your pocket with a bonkers but beautiful MP3 player.

There’s no logical reason to buy this BeoSound 2 MP3 player. With 512MB of memory it costs $950, six times the cost of an identically equipped iPod Shuffle. But one look at B&O’s 90g of tempting circular shininess and all logic is lost.

The player has an SD/MMC card slot instead of integral storage. A 512MB card holds about 120 songs and costs around $80; a 1GB card hold 240 tunes ($140-ish). Once your memory card’s in place, it’s time to charge and connect the BeoSound via its accompanying dock – a complex, multi-cable process eased only by the base’s spectacular pulsing light-show.

Despite Mac/iTunes support (via some bizarre, button-pushing black magic), this is primarily a PC player, as MP3 and WMA-only file support suggests. BeoPlayer PC software is supplied, but you can (and should) use Windows Media Player.

Once you’ve fought another button battle with the BeoSound’s controls, and donned the odd but exquisite A8 headphones, you’re rewarded with a strong, clear sonic performance that’s surprisingly weighty for an MP3 player. Brash guitars and brass sections can sound harsh, but on the plus side music bounds along with a level of detail and energy that makes the BeoSound 2 a great exercise companion.

The BeoSound 2 is a classic example of B&O design – breathtakingly beautiful and eccentric in equal measure.


Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 2 $850


For: Covetable design; detailed, lively sound with decent bass weight; great pair of headphones


Against: No display; memory cards cost extra; unintuitive software and controls


Verdict: B&O’s MP3 player is really expensive, impractical and often frustrating, but it looks and sounds so exciting we can’t help but want one


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