LG XBOOM Go PL5 Review: a great ally to take your music out to the garden this summer
LG XBOOM Go PL5
The LG XBOOM Go PL5 is a compact Bluetooth speaker that is not intended for hi-fi playback. It is auxiliary sound equipment that will allow us to empower our mobiles by making the voices of our favourite singers clearly heard.
The portable wireless speakers provide us with the task of bringing our favourite music always with us to parties, meetings, and events. They allow us to take it out of the smartphone, computer, tablet, or MP3 player and share it with friends and family both indoors and outdoors, provided they have the appropriate protections.
In general, these are devices that offer a sound powerful enough to fill small venues with music, although their compact size and battery capacity limit the possibilities of offering high-fidelity sound quality and scenic representation.
Fortunately, these drawbacks are gradually being solved and manufacturers are paying more and more attention to achieving a better response in this type of equipment that is close to high fidelity.
On this occasion we have had the opportunity to thoroughly test the LG XBOOM Go PL5, a new generation model presented a few months ago at CES 2020 and which has now begun to reach the Spanish market with the intention of taking its place in the range average of the manufacturer’s Bluetooth speakers, offering on paper remarkable features for its small size. How will it behave in the real world? Below you have our analysis.
Design and Specifications
The LG XBOOM Go PL5 is a compact portable speaker with dimensions of only 201 x 79 x 79 mm and weighing 635 grams, which should allow us to take with us without us interfering with the other activities without involving a drawback its transfer or installation in any room, garden or terrace where we want to play music.
In this specific case, LG has counted in its design with the collaboration of the company Meridian, a specialist in high-fidelity sound equipment, to finish fine-tuning the response of the equipment and improve the final sound response that it is capable of providing.
Its 20 watts of stereo amplification are distributed between two 1.75-inch full-range woofers that are accompanied by two passive radiators located at the ends of the cylindrical body that shapes the complete speaker, completing the set with circular LED strips that they light up to the beat of the music.
Inside the acoustic box, made of plastic and which gives the impression of being of good quality, very robust and resistant, it has been chosen to incorporate a lithium battery with a capacity of 3900 mAh that offers, according to the manufacturer, an autonomy of up to 18 hours (if we use the volume at 50% and with the lighting off), with a recharge time of about 4 hours. The equipment is connected to the electrical network through a USB Type-C port, although the box only includes a USB Type-C to Type-A cable but not the electrical transformer, so we must use one that we already have at home.
The loudspeaker is very well built, with a robust, sturdy housing and good quality plastic.
The connectivity is in charge of a Bluetooth 5.0 interface compatible with the SBC and AAC sound standards, but not with others more focused on high fidelity such as aptX and its variants, which gives us an indication of the type of use to which it is directed this particular model. We also have a 3.5 mm analogue jack input to connect external players, computers or even a mobile phone and save the battery consumed by the wireless circuitry.
As a speaker designed for outdoor use, we have IPX5 certification, which protects against dust, splashes and low-pressure water jets from any direction, so we should not have problems taking it out to the garden, on the terrace or taking it next to a pool, as long as we don’t put it inside.
|LG XBOOM GO PL5|
|Drivers:||2x 1.75-inch full-range Woofers plus two passive radiators|
|Connectivity:||Bluetooth 5.0 and 3.5mm jack|
|Battery:||3900 mAh, autonomy of up to 18 hours|
|Dimensions:||201 x 79 x 79 mm|
|LED lighting||Yes, RGB|
LG XBOOM Go PL5 – 20W Power Bluetooth Speaker with Meridian Sound, 18 Hours autonomy, Bluetooth 5.0, IPX5 protection, LED lighting, USB-C, Google and Siri Voice commands, Dual Action Bass
Today on Amazon for € 109.00
Installation and first impressions
Setting up the speaker is very simple. Just press the power button located on the top of the case and after playing a little activation music we will be ready to start sending our favourite song list, either through the Bluetooth interface or through the jack port of 3.5 mm.
The LG XBOOM Go PL5 is able to work completely autonomously, being able to control the basic functionalities directly from its start, playback, volume up and down buttons, or activation of the Sound Boost function that we will talk about later. We can also activate or deactivate the LED lighting and switch between several predetermined operating modes of it directly from some small controls located under a rear plastic cover located next to the USB power port.
However, if we want to extract the full potential of the device, we must install the LG XBOOM Go PL5 control application on an Android or iOS smartphone, giving us access to advanced functionalities and other basic ones that are not present in the speaker as it does not have a display. In my case, I tested it with a Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 phone and after installing it I was able to observe, for example, the battery level available in the speaker or vary the lighting of the side LED rings more precisely and specifically.
The application also allows us to activate and manage special configurations as well as change the input signal between auxiliary and Bluetooth. For example, if we have two identical speakers, we can pair them to obtain a higher-quality stereo sound with more sound pressure (although the same frequency response) or even link up to 100 speakers to create a more powerful “party” mode. However, these functions can also be activated from small buttons hidden under the back cover of the speaker, something that is always appreciated by the designers of the team.
After starting to play my playlist on Spotify to test audio equipment for the first time on this device, the first thing I noticed was considerable sound power, especially coming out of such a small speaker. I started to turn up the volume to see how much sound pressure it was capable of delivering, but after pressing the “+ volume” button about ten times I reached a point where the loudspeaker warned me by means of a small beep that it had reached the maximum level, noticing some distortion in the sound especially in the mid-high frequencies, as if the loudspeaker was a bit short to handle that amount of power.
At this time and after testing with several volume points I came to the conclusion that the best quality was obtained by setting the volume level of the speaker at about 4 or 5 points of the maximum and then varying as needed with the volume control of the telephone or equipment that we use as a player.
The sound at medium volumes is pleasant, warm, with good mid-bass frequencies and a vocal range that stands out from the rest. The bass response begins to be audible at about 70-75 Hz and offers a maximum amplitude over the mid-range around 500-600 Hz, reducing the intensity of the treble quickly if we do not stand directly in front of the speaker with the holes from the casing looking straight up to our heads.
The sound at medium volumes is pleasant, warm, and with a vocal range that stands out from the rest of the frequencies.
As a whole, this gives us an idea of the intention of its creators to notably highlight the voice over the rest of the instruments and sounds of the song that we are reproducing, something that can be useful in certain types of modern music where the soloist must stand out before the rest of sound companions, such as rap, reggaeton or similar. However, if ours is another type of musical genre, we may notice how voices (or their instrumental equivalent in that frequency range) predominate excessively over other sounds.
For example, with classical music, jazz or rock, the instruments lose strength and realism compared to the vocal artists, resulting in a soundstage where the acoustics seem to intermingle, especially if we turn up the volume a lot. If our thing is to watch movies or series, we will obtain clear and very easy to understand dialogues, although not a shocking soundtrack, powerful explosions or effective shots gave the limited response in low frequencies. We will also have a somewhat limited channel separation with a reduced stereo image, logically caused by the small size of the speaker.
However, if we want to use the loudspeaker to make hands-free voice calls we will have a very good result since we will be able to highlight the voices and improve the intelligibility of the conversation. It can also be very useful to view streaming videos in a group with friends or family from sources such as YouTube or directly show our home recordings made with the mobile. In these cases, we will obtain a remarkable sound quality and above all a sufficient volume level so that everyone can clearly hear what is happening in the video.
Another point to highlight in terms of sound quality is related to the aforementioned “Sound Boost” function, which has its own activation button on the housing. It is basically a preconfigured EQ that boosts certain frequencies and virtually expands the soundstage to give the feeling of being in front of a larger speaker or with the woofers further apart. Gets it?
Well, half. It is true that that sensation of more enveloping sound grows and it really seems that we have enhanced the sound capacity of the speaker, but not everything is positive since there is also a lower sound fidelity and we reach the audible distortion level earlier, so in My opinion is not advisable to leave the function connected constantly, but to have it reserved for when we need to open the sound field, for example for the use of the equipment outdoors.
The Sound Boost function improves the spatiality of the sound by expanding the sound scene but also reduces the fidelity of the sound
And it is precisely this aspect of outdoor use that is worth discussing in more depth. The LG XBOOM Go PL5 is a portable speaker designed for us to take with us to the garden, the pool, the street, or even the beach. However, and despite having a more than remarkable sound power indoors (it can fill a small or medium room without problems), taking it out for a walk will make us notice that we are missing a beat and its sound is attenuated by noise. environmental. Hence, if we are thinking about it becoming our next speaker to take to the pool, the higher model of the range, the PL7, larger and with more power, maybe more recommended.
Beyond the basic use of the speaker, it is worth mentioning a couple of advanced features that, although they may not be useful to everyone, may have specific use cases in which having them is a key factor for the purchase or not of such a device.
First of all, we have the ability of the speaker to pair with other identical speakers to form a more powerful stereo set and provide more decibels to our reproduction (it can also be paired with up to 100 compatible Bluetooth speakers to have a more powerful set). It is a feature that, beyond musical reproduction, is intended to be used with an LG television, being compatible with OLED and NanoCell models from 2020, trying to imitate the basic operation of a relatively low-cost soundbar.
It is a function that I could not test by having only one speaker and not having a compatible TV, but given the price of 129 euros per unit, it may be more appropriate for us to purchase a soundbar directly. In addition, it is appreciated that a specific button has been included for this task so that we do not have to depend on installing the application and having the mobile always at hand to activate it.
Another novel feature of this model is voice control, being compatible with the Google Assistant on Android terminals and Siri on Apple computers. To order tasks we just have to press the play button for two seconds and then start talking to play music, lists, pause, search, etc.
The response of the system is as fast as we can expect from this type of function, although its real utility is relative, being more interesting in outdoor spaces where the phone screen is more difficult to read under sunlight and in this way we can change by simply giving commands with your voice.
The LG XBOOM Go PL5 is a compact Bluetooth speaker that is not intended for hi-fi playback. It is auxiliary sound equipment that will allow us to empower our mobiles by making the voices of our favourite singers clearly heard. This is a very well built device that looks good quality right out of the box. Its touch is very pleasant, it appears very resistant and it is equipped with all the necessary controls to handle most of its most important functions.
The loudspeaker is very well finished and offers a pleasant, powerful and distortion-free sound at moderate volumes
It is very easy and comfortable to transport, although we can only place it in a horizontal position (passive radiators on the sides prevent us from placing it vertically), which can take away some versatility if we do not have enough space in our listening space. It is light, its battery has a good autonomy and the LED lights, which I generally do not like in this type of equipment, are soft and are not garish or annoying (we also have many configuration options and if we do not like them we can turn them off).
Its sound quality is more than enough to share music with friends, listen to modern music, watch videos, streaming series, or even play an occasional game. However, it falls a bit short for cinema applications, despite the fact that the manufacturer highlights its possible use as complementary sound equipment for television with Bluetooth audio, even pairing several of these speakers to have a kind of wireless soundbar. stereo.
However, we must not forget that we are dealing with a very, very compact speaker, which sounds great for its small size, with a pleasant tonality and without distortion at moderate volumes. Is it suitable for me? It depends. If what you want is an easy-to-transport speaker to share your musical content in a group indoors, to take a while out on the terrace without fear of it being damaged by humidity or rain or to go down to the pool now that the heat arrives, it can be a great option for 129 euros, as long as you are not looking for a hi-fi sound and the environment you take it to is not too noisy.
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