A Light Show Party Speaker
The LG XBOOM Go PL7 ($179) is the largest of the 2020 portable Bluetooth speaker line that includes the PL5 ($129) and PL2 ($59). All feature technology from Meridian Audio, the British audiophile brand that makes active loudspeakers costing $100,000. No, that’s not a typo. What customers can be assured of, is that LG and Meridian have squeezed the best possible sound quality from a speaker of its size and power.
At its core the LG XBOOM Go PL7 is a fun party speaker with a light show to mesmerize the listener. Lights are synchronized to the beat and colors can be adjusted via companion LG XBOOM mobile app. The lighting effects provide a unique glow at night. In daylight colorful rings just light up in various colors. Either way, the pulsating lights dazzle the eye.
All-day Battery Life
With 24 hours of battery life, you’ll rarely need to recharge. PL7 comes with a USB-C charging cable, but not the USB wall plug, which you probably already have from a smartphone or tablet. It’s regular USB port (far right in photo below) enables device charging on-the-go. The AUX port lets you connect a 3.5mm headphone cable for wired connectivity. The three buttons on the left are for setting up multi or dual speakers or toggling lighting effects.
Initial pairing via Bluetooth was quick and simple. Upon a successful Bluetooth connection you’ll hear a chime to know it worked. Then just press play from any music app on your connected device. For subsequent pairings your best bet would be to toggle the power button. For added convenience the PL7 is supposed to maintain Bluetooth connectivity for 6 hours when idle (no music is playing).
Pair Two Devices
What’s cool for multi-device households is that PL7 can pair with two devices. For example a smartphone and a laptop. Just hold the Bluetooth button down on top of the speaker for two seconds to activate pairing mode, then tap connect from a desired device. Obviously the PL7 can’t play two songs at the time, but it will play from whichever device is not paused. In that way neither device can interrupt one another until the other is paused. With two devices side-by-side you can queue up music and simulate a DJ effect.
On top of the speaker there are 6 buttons – power, bluetooth, volume down, volume up, play/pause and sound boost. The play/pause button has three hidden functions. A quick double press of play advances to the next track. When a phone call arrives, a single press of play will answer the call and turn PL7 into a speakerphone. A 2-second long press of the play button activates the voice assistant on your smartphone. Then just ask Siri or Google what’s on your mind. All of which are certainly handy features when your smartphone isn’t nearby.
With additional PL7 speakers, each can be used as a left/right stereo pair. Two can even be used as wireless surround speakers with a 2020 LG TV. Or with Wireless Party Link, up to 100 PL7 speakers can all be synced up to play the same thing. One PL7 alone does a good job filling a room with sound. Two seems about the limit for most people. But a 100? Certainly it’s nice to know what’s possible, although I highly doubt anyone with $17,900 to spend on speakers would choose 100 LG XBOOMs. I’m sure someone could prove me wrong, as it would make for a fun YouTube video.
Durability & Range
The PL7 is IPX5 rated for water-resistance. That means it can withstand a few splashes near a pool, but not a complete dunk. With Bluetooth 5.0, the PL7 achieves a 100 foot range. It was able to pass this test with ease outside on a tennis court. I had to walk and tennis court and a half away before it would it stop working. However, indoors I wasn’t able to achieve the same range, which is typical of all Bluetooth devices. Even so, its wireless range indoors or out should be plenty sufficient.
There are two modes for listening. Either with Sound Boost on or off. I suspect most people will be pleased with the instant bass and treble boost that Sound Boost offers. Sound Boost is also a handy option to have in noisy outdoor places such as at the beach, park or pool. Although, when indoors I’d recommend Sound Boost off to achieve a more neutrally balanced listening experience. In either case, PL7 plays quite loud, much louder than I had expected, especially with minimal distortion. Impressive clarity too for its size at just 9.7″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″.
2020 LG XBOOM Go PL Series
Although I haven’t tested LG’s lower priced siblings, the LG PL5 seems like it could be a good budget choice for $129. It is 1.8″ smaller and keeps all the same features, but with smaller speaker drivers (1.75″ x 2 vs. 2.3″ x 2) and 6 hours less battery life. The PL2 shrinks everything down to 5-inches in width, loses the lighting, battery life (10 hours), and a speaker driver (1.75″ x 1) for $59. Or you might find last year’s predecessor, the PK7 worth a look.
The LG XBOOM Go PL7 portable Bluetooth loudspeaker with multi color lighting combines all the latest wireless features into a sleek go-anywhere speaker that leaps to the top of its class. It’s reasonably priced at $179 and ready to rock in black or white.