LG XBOOM Go PL5 Review: 18 Hours Of Battery Life, So The Party Never Stops
Flashing LED lights synchronize with the rhythm of the music to create a pulsing light show for any song.
By Bryan Keegan I Jan 12, 2021
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Our Score: 7.5
+ Water-resistant build
+ Built-in LED lights
+ Meridian tuned sound
+ Good battery life
+ Sound Boost mode
+ Connect up to 100 speakers
- No waterproof or dustproof
- Drivers can distort on deep bass
- Audio lacks details
- No aptX codec support
- No EQ adjustments
- Weak microphone sensitivity
Meet the LG XBOOM Go PL5, the family member of the updated PL range of Bluetooth speakers announced by the company in 2020. The XBOOM Go PL5 is the mid-range offering of LG's latest speaker trio comprising the smaller PL2 and larger PL7 siblings.
All three speakers have the same design and their audio is tuned by Meridian, one of the world's leading high-resolution audio brands that delivers improved bass, crisp and clear vocals for a pleasant listening experience.
LG XBOOM Go PL5 offers up to 18 hours of uninterrupted music playback, Sound Boost mode, USB Type-C charging port, stereo pairing with another PL5 speaker, and IPX5 water resistance rating in an outdoor-friendly portable design.
Model: LG XBOOM Go
Release date: April 2020
Regular price: $129 USD
What’s included in the box?
User manual - Click to open
Who should get the LG XBOOM Go PL5?
People who love to throw parties. Built-in LED lights are a solid reason to choose it compared to similar price models from Ultimate Ears, Sony or JBL. This is going to look really cool in the dark.
People who like to go to the beach on weekends. As long as you keep the rubber flap on your back closed, the LG XBOOM Go PL5 is very good at handling water splashes due to its IPX5 rating. So, this is a great option to bring to the beach with you.
How’s the build and design of LG XBOOM Go PL5?
The first thing you'll probably notice is the cylindrical shape of the LG XBOOM Go PL5 made of soft-touch plastic having exposed passive bass radiators with LED rings at both ends of the speaker. It's actually kind of cute looking which I’m pretty sure is what LG was going for.
Enjoy the sleek, cylindrical body of the LG XBOOM Go. It's water resistant and easy to carry, with LED lights that sync to the beat of your music to create a pulsing light show for any song. No party is complete without one. – LG
Whereas some brands have gone really big and others focus on value, LG has brought serious bling to Bluetooth speakers in the form of LED lights. When the bass vibrates the resonators, the rings also vibrate, creating a cool effect over the color changes.
Up top, you'll find the playback control as well as the Power, Pairing and Sound Boost modes buttons. The lower rear panel houses a connection panel that includes buttons to enable multi-speaker mode or control LED lights along with the USB Type-C port for charging and a 3.5mm auxiliary input for wired connectivity.
Black with LED rings
Product height: 79 mm
Product width: 200 mm
Product depth: 79 mm
Product weight: 640 g
Unfortunately, there is no string attached to the speaker, which allows you to attach the speaker to a hook or tie it to your bag if you want.
Will water splashes ruin the LG XBOOM Go PL5?
The PL5 has an IPX5 rating, which means it can withstand splashes of water and rain quite easily, but it shouldn't be submerged in water. It is worth noting that the competing models offer a far superior IPX7 fully waterproof rating in the same price range.
This speaker is good enough to take it to the beach, to a pool party or outdoor adventures. On the plus side, the solid plastic structure gives the speaker a more durable feel, it really survived a few drops without even a scratch during our tests.
Water resistant: Yes
IP rating: IPX5
Drop proof: NA
Manufacturer's warranty – Speaker: 1 year limited
Manufacturer's warranty – Labor: 1 year limited
You should be careful when using the speaker at pool or beach parties. To ensure the safety of the speaker, make sure that the rubber lid protecting the ports must be closed.
If you are looking for a fully waterproof speaker, UE Wonderboom 2 is a better choice. It can be completely submerged in water thanks to the superior IPX7 waterproof rating. If it falls into a pool, you won't even have to worry, it's been designed in such a way that it will just float on top.
How to connect the LG XBOOM Go PL5 speaker?
Pairing with the XBOOM Go PL5 portable Bluetooth speaker is pretty straightforward. First, you need to turn on the speaker by holding down the power button at the top. Once it turns on, you just need to press the Bluetooth button to enter pairing mode. Follow the pairing instructions on your smartphone to discover the speaker.
You can even add your LG XBOOM Go to your home theater system if it's LG. The speaker easily connects to compatible LG TVs to add stereo sound or surround sound to all your favorite TV shows, sports and movies.
Under the covered rear panel, there is also an AUX-in port in case you want to connect the speaker with a standard 3.5mm audio cable.
Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth
Pair speakers to Party Up: Up to 100 speakers
Hands-free function: Yes
Wireless multi-room audio: No
Input & output terminals: Aux-IN
Power input: USB Type-C
LG XBOOM Go PL5 does not have NFC support. NFC is very useful for pairing speakers quickly and conveniently with a one-tap of an NFC-compatible mobile device.
The LG XBOOM Go PL5 features Bluetooth 5.0, so you can easily get a range of up to 30 meters via Bluetooth. You can connect the speaker to two devices at once and it always responds to the last request; that is, the device that pressed play most recently.
Bluetooth version: 5.0
No. of devices to be paired: 7
No. of devices can connect simultaneously: 2
Bluetooth transmitter power: up to +20 dBm
Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth range: Up to 30 m
Compatible profiles: A2DP, HFP, AVRCP
Wireless Party Link allows you to connect up to 100 LG XBOOM speakers as a stereo pair for massive, immersive sound. This is the most advanced feature you're unlikely to use. It may make a good marketing video, but it won't be of much use if you don't get multiple LG XBOOM speakers.
What can the controls on LG XBOOM Go PL5 do?
At the top there are buttons for power, volume, Bluetooth pairing, Sound Boost and a battery level indicator. It is very convenient to be able to access most functions of the speaker without using the app.
As with all Bluetooth speakers, it has a hands-free mode along with the ability to connect to the phone's voice assistant. You just have to long press the play/pause button and it will launch the phone's voice assistant (Siri on iPhone, Google Assistant on Android smartphone).
On the back, behind the plastic flap, there is an additional 3.5 mm Aux-IN port, a USB Type-C port for charging and buttons for LED light adjustment, as well as for activating Multi mode and Dual mode.
Interface: Physical buttons
Controls: Power, Bluetooth, Volume, Play/Pause and Sound boost
Voice assistant: Google Assistant, Siri
The physical controls at the top of the device, marked with a very dark gray symbol, can be difficult to see anywhere other than bright lights. With the exception of the small protrusion of the volume up button, there is no way to distinguish the button just by feeling. This makes PL5 difficult for people with visual impairments to operate.
What are the options available in LG XBOOM app?
The free XBoom app, available in iOS and Android app stores, offers several ways to control your speakers to your liking. You can set the lights to flash to the beat, or choose from other styles, such as party, water, or forest. If you don't need it, you also have the option to turn them off completely.
The settings menu has a couple of options, including automatic shutdown, access to your phone's music library, turn on and off the Sound Boost mode, update the speaker’s firmware, operate two speakers as a stereo pair or connect several LG XBoom wireless speakers to Party Link mode.
App name: LG XBOOM
Platforms: iOS and Android
Customizable EQ: No
The most noticeable omission is that there is no user-adjustable EQ for a custom sound experience. Instead, there is only one mode called Sound Boost - that amplifies sound power and widens the sound field. The app allows you to easily switch between this mode and the default standard listening mode as per your liking.
How long does the LG XBOOM Go PL5 battery last?
The PL5 boasts an impressive 18-hour battery with a one-time charge at a 50% volume level. Surely, the results will depend on your volume levels. Still, it's much better than the 12-hour music playback time of rival UE WonderBoom 2.
During our tests with the lights turned on and playing LG XBOOM Go PL5 for about 10 hours at various volume levels, there was still 45% of the charge left.
This speaker also has an auto-off feature that automatically turns off the speaker after some time of inactivity. It helps save battery juice. This feature is really good for users who often forget to turn off their speaker. You can easily adjust this setting in the LG XBOOM app.
Battery type: Lithium-ion
Battery capacity: 3900 mAh
Music playtime: Up to 18 hrs
Auto-power off: Yes
Power consumption: 15 W
Battery charge time: 4 hrs
USB charge out: No
If you're looking for a speaker with even better battery life, you can also check Anker Soundcore 2, which allows music playback for up to 24 hours with a single charge at moderate volume levels. It can easily last for several days without having to recharge.
How does the LG XBOOM Go PL5 sound?
The Meridian tuned LG XBOOM Go PL5 produces detailed sound at the low and mid-volume levels, which is well comparable to the best portable Bluetooth speakers of this price range, such as the Sony SRS-XB32 and JBL FLIP 5, although less BOOM than both.
The vocals sound particularly clear and are forward in the mix. There is also Sound Boost mode, which pushes the vocals further forward in the mix and provides overall loudness to the speakers.
The speaker's sonic signature is a mid-range heavy with a focus on vocal delivery. The enjoyment of PL5 mainly depends on what type of music you have provided.
Speaker type: 2-channel wireless speaker
Drivers: 2 x 1.75" / 4.45 cm Woofers
Driver Diameter (metric): 45 mm
RMS power: 20 Watts
Impedance: 4 ohms
Minimum Frequency Response: 20 Hz
Maximum Frequency Response: 20,000 Hz
Maximum sound level: 82 dB
Supported codec: SBC, AAC
At maximum volume, speaker’s drivers and radiators cannot handle the depth of bass, and whether Sound Boost mode is on or off, the tracks are full of distortion.
As far as the sound stage is concerned, it is not wide, but that is exactly what we expect from forward firing speakers. The sound quality should exceed most people's expectations. As with many small portable wireless speakers, PL5’s performance is not completely consistent. It sounds pretty good on some tracks, but not so good on others.
Although all new Android devices support LDAC, aptX, and aptX HD streaming via Bluetooth, you'll not find any of these codecs in the LG XBOOM Go PL5 speaker. On Android smartphones, the default connection automatically goes down to the standard SBC. PL5 thankfully supports AAC, so iOS users can benefit from it, and at least they don't have to face the latency issue.
How is the microphone of the LG XBOOM Go PL5?
During our test, the built-in microphone did not deliver the expected performance, especially for phone calls. During a call via LG PL5 XBOOM Go portable wireless speaker, the other person's voice was great, but the microphone sensitivity was so weak that he couldn't hear our voice clearly.
On the other hand, voices were effectively registered while using the Voice Memos app on the Samsung Note 20 Ultra, or commands sent to Google Assistant. Voice recordings were relatively clear with little Bluetooth distortion in the mix.
We also found that the microphone's voice response at high volume was inconsistent, and we couldn't find a way to adjust the mic’s sensitivity independently of playback volume.
Should you buy the LG XBOOM Go PL5?
If you're looking for a party speaker with LED lights to take to the beach or poolside and you're more focused on contributing to the party atmosphere by singing together than on the purity of tone, the Meridian-tuned LG XBOOM Go PL5 is sure to be a lot of fun. Especially when the sun goes down and those pulsating LED lights start to move to the beat.
It is not as robust as other speakers and will not overwhelm you with bass. However, if you're looking for a water-resistant speaker that's easy to carry in a backpack and offers an entertaining sound, it's definitely worth considering.
What are some alternatives to LG XBOOM Go PL5?
The Sony SRS-XB33 is not at the top of our list of the best waterproof speakers, but it still has its place. For $149 USD, it offers excellent value for money with solid bass depth from a waterproof, fairly compact frame. Especially if you like the idea of having a speaker that can celebrate just like you when you go to the beach or the pool, this is not a bad option.
The speaker has a great wide and high sound stage as we tried it in both ExtraBass and Live Sound. The bass response is well balanced with sculpted treble and then there is an in-app EQ adjustment that offers the option to optimize the sound signature according to your wishes.
With the waterproof, dust-proof IP67 rating and battery life of up to 24 hours, the SRS-XB33 can celebrate even longer and safer than you.
JBL FLIP 5
JBL FLIP 5 sounds really great for the price of $119 USD and it's worth it if you don't have a Bluetooth speaker yet and you're looking for a portable and durable speaker to go on your next adventure.
Acoustically, the speaker provides a significant punch compared to its size. Nowadays, all new models of JBL offer more bass depth than the dimensions and drivers should be able to. Then there's a well-designed, feature-rich JBL Connect app that lets you connect two FLIP 5 speakers to create a stereo pair for immersive sound.
The Flip 5 always scores high for its portability. Whether it's hiking, camping or just on the beach, the Flip series has always been a great companion, and this also applies to Flip 5.
UE Wonder Boom 2
The UE Wonderboom 2 is a fantastic robust and waterproof speaker with very good sound output. It meets most of your requirements and you actually want to take it with you for outdoor activities.
It doesn't match the bass response of large speakers like UE Boom 3, but it's optimal in terms of price, size and sound quality. The better bass than the predecessor really adds warmth and intensity to your music.
UE Wonderboom 2 is still one of the best waterproof speakers you can buy for beach or pool parties. Thanks to its IPX67 protection, you need not to worry about water splashes. In addition, the speaker can be easily submerged into 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes in case it is accidentally dropped into the pool.