Although Korean electronics giant LG has been in the business of wireless speakers for some time now, it isn't as highly regarded in the field as traditional audio brands such as JBL, Ultimate Ears, and Bose. However, the latest range of wireless speakers from LG promises quite a lot in terms of specifications and features, while keeping prices reasonable. The new LG XBoom Go series is comprised of the PK3, PK5, and PK7 models.
Today, we'll be reviewing the entry-level LG XBoom Go PK3 and mid-range XBoom Go PK5 speakers. The LG PK3 is officially priced at Rs. 10,990, while the PK5 is priced at Rs. 14,990. However, these speakers are available online for Rs. 7,499 and Rs. 9,999 respectively, making both seem like good deals on the face of it. The LG XBoom Go series boasts of impressive specifications and features, and we find out in our review if these two speakers are worth buying.
The LG XBoom Go PK3 and PK5 are part of the same range of speakers, which also includes the LG XBoom Go PK7. The PK3 is the most affordable model in this range, while the PK5 is the middle option, priced a bit higher. The core design of both these speakers is the same, with plastic bodies and frames, and metal grilles over their speaker drivers.
The frames on both speakers feel tough. Both are built well and look decent, although they aren't as attractive as similarly priced options such as the JBL Flip 4 and Ultimate Ears Boom 3. These speakers are also larger than their competitors and have their speaker drivers positioned firing forwards rather than the omnidirectional designs of the JBL and UE options. Both LG speakers also have passive radiators on both sides to handle the bass.
A big difference between the LG PK3 and PK5 is that the frame of the PK3 touches the body of the speaker, while the frame of the PK5 extends outwards like an exoskeleton. This tilts the PK5 slightly upwards and also makes it easy to pick up the speaker, with the upper part of the frame serving as a handle. This difference in design aside, the LG PK3 and PK5 are similar in terms of features and build quality.
The LG PK5 has a lighting system that illuminates the two main drivers with different coloured lights in sequences designed to match the audio that is playing when the speaker is in use. We quite liked the lighting effects, but this can be turned off if it's not quite to your taste.
Both speakers have their controls on the top, and there are buttons for power, Bluetooth pairing, volume, playback, and voice commands. The voice command button can be used to trigger the voice assistant on a paired smartphone, and it worked as expected for us with Google Assistant on an Android device. On the LG PK5, a long-press of the voice button controls the lights, letting you choose a particular lighting style or switch them off.
Apart from the regular buttons, both speakers have a button for ‘Enhanced Bass', and the LG PK5 has an additional selector for ‘Clear Vocals'. These functions do as their descriptions suggest, boosting the low-end and mid-range respectively. We didn't quite like how the sound quality changed when using these effects, and preferred to keep them disabled.
Both speakers have two wide-range front-firing drivers and two passive radiators on their sides. The LG XBoom PK3 has two 8W drivers for 16W of sound output, while the PK5 is a bit louder with two 10W drivers for a total of 20W of sound output.
The LG PK3 has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, compared to the IPX5 rating on the LG PK5, making the smaller speaker much more resistant to potential water damage. It's capable of being immersed in water completely for short stretches without risk of damage. The larger model is resistant to water splashes, and can be used in most outdoor settings. This is a bit odd, since the PK5 costs more than the PK3.
Both speakers have flaps at the back to cover their USB Type-C ports, 3.5mm audio input sockets, and reset buttons. The seal of the flap on the PK3 is a lot tighter than that of the one on the PK5, which makes sense given the models' different IP ratings. The LG PK5 also has a button that lets you wirelessly daisy-chain multiple compatible speakers, but we weren't able to test this feature.
Both the LG XBoom PK3 and XBoom PK5 have 5,200mAh batteries, but battery life ratings are different on the two devices despite the PK5 having to power bigger drivers and lights. We were able to come close to the claimed battery life of 12 hours with the PK3, but got only 15 hours with the PK5, which was a bit less than its claim of 18 hours.
This is odd because with the same battery capacity, the PK3 ought to have had better battery life considering it has a lower output and no lights to power. However, we did receive confirmation from LG on the battery capacities in India, and the numbers match with specifications listed online. Both speakers are charged through USB Type-C ports, which is rare as most portable speakers still use Micro-USB for charging.
The LG PK3 and PK5 are among the few affordable wireless speakers to support the aptX Bluetooth codec, which promises to improve wireless sound quality. The PK5 also supports the aptX HD codec, which allows for higher-than-CD-quality streaming. Interestingly, LG has also worked with high-end audio equipment manufacturer Meridian, which has tuned the sound on the LG speakers.
When it comes to sound quality, the LG XBoom PK3 and XBoom PK5 offer comparable performance. The larger speaker is of course louder and it sounds better at its highest volumes, with very little audible distortion. We tested the LG PK3 and PK5 using a OnePlus 6T (Review) as the source device, which defaulted to the aptX and aptX HD codecs on the LG PK3 and PK5 respectively.
Sound quality for both speakers was decent, and you get a sonic signature that suits most genres. Although the lows and highs have elevated responses, the mid-range wasn't completely lost and could be heard quite clearly. While the highest volumes did tend to cause some loss in quality on the PK3, the PK5 sounded sharp and clean even with the volume maxed out, and the extra 4W of peak output seems to make all the difference here.
Furthermore, the lows and highs were punchy and sharp enough as compared to competing Bluetooth speakers, with bass sounding decent thanks to the two passive radiators. There was a distinct sense of thump to the sound with both the PK3 and PK5.
The aptX and aptX HD codecs have a big impact on sound quality, particularly in the mid-range. The sound was clear, and the drivers were able to keep up with the higher rates that audio data was being transmitted to the speakers at without significant loss. Listening to Hurting by Friendly Fires on Spotify was an enjoyable experience, and we particularly enjoyed the punchy low-end and crisp vocals.
A big drawback of these speakers is that their wide-range drivers are forward-facing, which means that you need to position yourself within a rather small sweet spot for the best experience. Even then, the sound itself feels narrow and lacking in openness. Smaller details in tracks are hard to sense; listening to high-resolution tracks such as Anxiety from the Touched by Tango series by Astor Piazzolla wasn't quite as enjoyable on the LG PK3 and PK5 as we're used to, because the speakers simply could not keep up with the depth in the track.
The LG XBoom PK3 and XBoom PK5 might not look as attractive as competing options, but they make up for that in other ways. With good sound on the whole, decent build quality, and modern features such as USB Type-C charging and support for the aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth codecs, these speakers from LG are good options to consider at the prices they sell for online. The more affordable PK3 is also IPX7 water resistant, which makes it suitable for all kinds of outdoor use.
The range also includes the LG PK7, which is the largest and most expensive of the three. Although we haven't reviewed it, the speaker is superior to the PK3 and PK5 on paper. However, the PK3 and PK5 are worthwhile options for the price.
LG XBoom Go PK3
Price: Rs. 10,990 (MRP)
Ratings (out of 5)
LG XBoom Go PK5
Price: Rs. 14,990 (MRP)
Ratings (out of 5)