Bluetooth speakers are very “samey” and the logic follows that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
At least that was what we thought until the LG XBOOM Go arrived at our office in need of a reviewer. Having used far too many Bluetooth speakers and being somewhat of an audio snob I was willing to spend some time listening to music to gauge the performance of the speaker.
So is the XBOOM Go worth the R3 999 price tag? Let’s find out.
At 2.9kg, the XBOOM Go is not a light speaker by any stretch of the imagination. There are two massive tweeters that are visible through a mesh grill but more than that there are two bass drivers on either side of the speaker.
The XBOOM Go sports the Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth audio coding algorithm. For audiophiles you can find out more about that here but the long and short of the feature is that when streaming you get CD quality audio.
A lot of the XBOOM’s heft comes from the 5 200mAh battery (which we’ll get to the performance of later) and honestly, it’s not all that heavy.
There are eight buttons at the top of the speaker for volume, power and other functions.
At the back of the speaker you’ll find all your inputs including power, 3.5mm jack and a weird button.
Pressing that button will allow you to link other XBOOM speakers together for a massive speaker array. Sadly we only have one speaker so we can’t test this feature out.
To test audio we listened to pop, alternative rock, dubstep, hardstyle, hip-hop and deathcore to gauge the XBOOM’s performance across a variety of genres.
The aforementioned aptX HD algorithm makes a huge difference in the audio quality you experience from this speaker but it’s not without its caveats.
For one there is a lot of low-end from this speaker right out of the box, even with Enhanced Bass turned off and the equaliser flat.
The trade-off with this is that high and mid tones can often disappear as a wall of bass hits you. A bit of clever equalising can help you mitigate this.
There is a Clear Voice option as well but the amount of bass you encounter makes it a waste of a button in our opinion. Once again, equalising audio from your smartphone or tablet is highly recommended.
Pushing the XBOOM Go to max volume doesn’t result in any sort of clipping or distortion of audio which is often a weak point in Bluetooth speakers. For a volume boost of about 10W you can plug the speaker into wall power and while it’s not a massive boost it is noticeable.
At lower volumes the speaker is great as a bedside table feature.
The audio experience is really good for a Bluetooth speaker despite the overdose of bass.
LG has an application that you can use to control the XBOOM Go from your smartphone called Music Flow Bluetooth.
The app allows you to pair your device (though this happens automatically when you turn your Bluetooth on in the vicinity of the speaker) and features a media player.
The media player was never used by as we stream all of our music these days. For those that still keep music in digital form the Music Flow app might be useful but your existing player will work just fine.
We do recommend downloading the app even if you just end up using it to change the lighting on the device or switch features on and off.
And yes, the XBOOM Go sports LED lighting that flashes in time with your music. There are a number of lighting settings you can choose from to set the mood or you can switch the lights off to save battery life.
Finally, the boon of every Bluetooth speaker owners life is the need to charge the thing. Some speakers can last for hours, others less than four hours, so how does the XBOOM Go fare?
After testing twice we can confirm a total battery life of 24 hours.
That is beyond impressive but it comes with a caveat – the charging time clocks in at nearly four hours.
It’s a long time but for 24 hours of play time we think it’s a very small price to pay.
The XBOOM Go is hands down the best Bluetooth speaker I have used in the last few years.
Audio quality is excellent despite the large amount of bass you get and you really should spend some time equalising your audio. Battery life is far better than I could have ever hoped for and the inclusion of a 3.5mm jack is great for those without Bluetooth (if that’s possible in 2019).
The only real pain point with this speaker is the price. At R3 999 you could get yourself a decent 5.1 channel home theatre system but that isn’t exactly a portable solution.
You could get a cheaper Bluetooth speaker with a worse battery life and noticeably poorer audio but those are both terrible ideas.
While it loses points for affordability then, the XBOOM Go is still a great purchase if you need a speaker for braais or small parties. The speaker is also great as a bedside option and the audio quality great at lower volumes.
The XBOOM Go then gets a hearty recommendation from us.