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LG XBoom Go PK5 Review: Well Mid-Tuned Speaker That Misses The Sweet Spot

The XBoom Go PK5 offers exceptional sound if you are looking for something with clear vocals and mid-range sounds, but it doesn't offer that 'thump' you would want from a speaker at its price.

Kunal Khullar | News18.com

Updated:February 25, 2019, 3:29 PM IST
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LG XBoom Go PK5 Review: Well Mid-Tuned Speaker That Misses The Sweet Spot
The XBoom Go PK5 offers exceptional sound if you are looking for something with clear vocals and mid-range sounds, but it doesn't offer that 'thump' you would want from a speaker at its price.
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If you are out in the market to buy a speaker, then you are going to be spoilt for choice. One can easily get their hands on something that suits their need, be it large and bass heavy, or a tiny one that can be taken anywhere, or even one that has a smart assistant built into it. There is something for anyone and everyone.

LG recently came up with a new series of portable speakers which features a ‘weatherproof’ design, quality acoustics from Meridian Audio, and also supports smart voice assistants when paired to a smartphone. Now the range has three models, but I’ll be focusing on the PK5, which sits between the tiny PK3 and the large PK7.

The company claims that the range allows you to take ‘exceptional sound anywhere’. That claim falls short if you consider the PK5 or even the PK7. It's not a bad looking speaker at all, in fact, I quite like the unique cuboidal shape with those handlebars, giving it a roll cage-styled design. But that is exactly what limits the speaker from being portable. Sure, you can carry it around from one room to the other, but when you are heading out of the house, it's not the easiest one to stuff in a bag or suitcase.

Still, the overall build feels quite robust and the speaker is IPX5 certified so it can take on a few splashes of water. Notably, the smaller and more affordable PK3 comes with a higher IPX7 rating giving it an edge over its elder sibling.

Apart from the usual set of control buttons, there is a dedicated button to activate your smartphone’s voice assistant. The same button doubles up as a control to switch between different modes for the in-built lights. Yup, the PK5 (and the PK7) come with lighting effects, which look cool if you are using the speaker for a house party, or just want some ambient lighting when you are listening to music on a lazy weekend. You can even control them using your paired smartphone via LG’s Music Flow app. But honestly, they don’t sync very well with the music and feel very gimmicky. Thankfully you can completely shut it off.

The speaker is claimed to offer 12-hours of battery life on a full charge which is pretty neat. It charges off a USB Type-C port, which I absolutely appreciate and for someone who is aiming of ‘Type-C Everything’ this feature is a boon.

As for the sound itself, the PK5 delivers 20W of sound via its two stereo speakers and two passive radiators. There is support for aptX HD and the speakers have been fine-tuned by Meridian Audio, a British company known for making professional audio equipment and speakers.

If you are someone who appreciates vocals and mid-range tuning, then you are going to find the performance appealing. It delivers crystal clear audio with distinguishable ambient sounds, that are hard to hear on many speakers out there. I tested the speakers with a range of RnB, Progressive Metal and Electronics tracks all of which sounded fairly well on the speaker.

The speaker also comes with ‘Enhanced Bass’ and ‘Clear Vocal’ functions, both of which clearly need to stay on, for a better experience. Notably, I didn't notice a dramatic change, although I kept both of them on.

Now stereo separation isn’t a very strong trait for the PK5 and the sound can feel a bit boxy. It can, however, go loud enough for a large room even for a big hall. I wish it had a bit more thump, as there were times when I felt there was less emphasis on the lower frequencies particularly when I played Starboy by The Weeknd. Even while playing some rock and metal songs, the speaker struggled a bit and felt muddy during the heavy guitar parts.

The PK5 is priced at about Rs 14,990 which makes it a really tough recommendation. Sure it is going for just under Rs 10,000 online, but it just isn't up there. As I mentioned earlier, there are a plethora of speakers out there. At its price, LG’s new speaker, particularly the PK5, doesn’t seem to justify the sound experience I was expecting. It does have things going for it like the long battery life, support for voice assistants and clear mid-range audio, however, as an overall package it didn’t hit that sweet spot. Unless the sound signature suits your needs, I would recommend that you invest in something that offers punchier lows and a better audio throw. Look into options from Bose, Sony and of course Ultimate Ears.
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