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Review: The LG XBoom Go PL5 Packs Good Sound Into A Unique Shape

We’re spoilt for choice in the portable boombox arena, with just about every reputable brand putting out a good little speaker.

But the $179 LG’s XBoom Go PL5, which is made with Meridian technology, has a unique point of difference with angled woofers complementing the front-facing main speaker grille.

The stylish design makes this portable device visually stand out from the crowd, but does the audio match its look?

Design

At a lightweight .62kg, the PL5 is super portable and the cylindrical shape makes it easy to carry or hold in one hand as the music pumps.

The woofers on either side of the speaker are angled outwards and they flash colourful LED lights which can be synchronised to the beat of the music too.

The pulsing lights give the box a great party mood, while the woofers vibrate along to the beat nicely.

On the top of the boombox is a nice and neat control panel, complete with a battery light, on/off button, volume + and -, play/pause and a nifty sound boost.

Hidden behind a flap on the back is the USB-C charging port and an audio jack, as well as three buttons: multi, dual and light.

Multi can be used to allow the lights to match the beat of the music, the dual button gives you the option to pair two PL5 speakers together and you can use the last switch to turn the LED lights off altogether.

The skin of the boombox has a stylish matte look and feel, too.

Sound Performance

The speaker may be tiny, but the sound does pack a punch.

With a total output power of 20W, you’d be surprised at how loud it can get. Dialled up to full volume, the sound echoes a little and there’s minor distortion with particularly bass-heavy songs.

The size of the speaker betrays the PL5 sometimes when it struggles to handle rich bass depth, but it is almost perfect with quieter music.

I noticed while sitting on a hard surface, heavy bass did make the speaker vibrate a little.

The addition of the sound boost button makes a huge difference, and it helps to smooth the audio on bass-heavy music. Standard audio almost sounds muffled in comparison to using sound boost.

There isn’t exactly 360-degree sound on the PL5, so if you’re not directly in front of the speaker you won’t get the full experience of sound. It still fills a room adequately on full volume, however.

Whilst outdoors, the boombox holds up nicely even in slightly loud environments.

I did find there was a slightly annoying delay between pressing pause/play on the device and the music stopping. If you use your smartphone to control the music, this eliminates the delay. There’s also a few seconds delay after pressing the sound boost, so best not to do this in the middle of a dance floor.

Compared to a lot of other (sometimes cheaper) portable speakers out there, the XBoom Go PL5 sits comfortably in the middle tier when it comes to sound quality.

Features & Battery Life

The IPX5 rating on the PL5 means it is splashproof and well-designed for outdoor use, particularly the beach or poolside.

It’s powered with Google Assistant or Siri so you can command it to play songs via your smartphone and it also supports phone calls.

Incoming calls are announced via the speaker too, which is a cool plus especially if you’re out and about playing music and can’t hear your phone buzzing.

LG says the ‘dual mode’ will allow you to pair up to 100 of the PL5 speakers – so if you round up 100 of your closest pals who all happen to own the same brand of boombox then you’ve got yourself quite the party, my friend!

You can also connect the PL5 to a compatible LG TV as a makeshift soundbar, but if you want perfect audio I’d probably recommend investing in a quality LG-branded soundbar.

Battery life, if you’re only using it at 50% volume and no flashing lights, is decent at 18 hours of continuous playback. Using the synced flashing lights chews up the battery a lot more but it’ll still last hours on one single charge.

Verdict:

8/10

PROS

Design

LED lights

Sound boost

Battery life

CONS

Control delays

Audio a little weak without sound boost

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