B&O Play is meant to be the more affordable sub-brand of Bang & Olufsen (its more extravagant speakers tend to run in the five-figure price range), but even the company’s “cheaper” consumer offerings like the $599 Beoplay M5 are still pretty expensive.
The newly released $299 M3 is B&O Play’s cheapest speaker yet, and it might be the answer for someone looking to start out on the premium audio company’s products without breaking the bank.
The M3 is smaller than the M5, and offers less in the way of sound from a pure hardware perspective: it has just a 3.75-inch woofer and a single 0.75-inch tweeter, instead of a 5-inch woofer, 1.5-inch midrange, and three 0.75-inch tweeters. The M3 also doesn’t have the 360-degree output that the M5 offers, instead opting for a more directional, front-facing design. The rest of the design of the M3 follows through on B&O Play’s usual excellence in the field, with an aluminum casing and swappable covers that allow for an extra degree of customization.
I haven’t had the chance to try out the M3 in person, but barring any disastrous change of quality from B&O Play, it’s likely it’ll sound pretty good for listening to music. But it’s still not entirely clear whether it’ll sound $100 better than, say, a $200 Sonos One, which supports Sonos’ more “affordable” range of speakers and includes integrated Alexa and forthcoming Google Assistant support.
AirPlay, Chromecast, and Bang & Olufsen’s own Beolink Multiroom service are all supported for their various flavors of multi-room audio, and you’ll also be able to use Bluetooth to get music from your devices to the M3. (Spotify Connect, while included on the M5, isn’t available on the M3.)
The M3 is available in black or “natural” (gray) from B&O Play’s website today, with extra covers costing between $59 for fabric options, or $69 for aluminum.