Cambridge Audio Go Wireless Speaker Review
The updated and expanded version...
Cambridge Audio Go - What is it?It's the latest version of Cambridge Audio's highly successful Go wireless Bluetooth speaker and as the name suggests, it's designed to be portable. We were very impressed by the original version of the Go, awarding a Best Buy badge in our review. This new version retains the same design, sound quality and long battery life. However it now adds Near Field Communication (NFC) for even simpler one-touch pairing and support for aptX Bluetooth, along with a £119.95 (October 2014) price tag.
Cambridge Audio Go - Design and ConnectionsThe new version of the Go retains the same dimensions as the previous one, measuring 237mm wide by 123mm high by 60mm deep and weighing in at 1.1kg. The cabinet itself has the same solid construction and nicely engineered feel and is also acoustically dampened to eliminate vibrations and distortions - even at higher volumes. There's a grey metal grille at the front that can't be removed and the Go comes in a choice of black or white - both with a scratch resistant high quality matte finish. Along the top are some basic controls for on/off, volume, aux and Bluetooth, along with the new NFC tag.
The Go is primarily designed for wireless use, so the main method of connection is Bluetooth and the addition of aptX support is welcome. There are also some physical connections including a socket for the external power supply which can be used to run the Go off the mains and recharge the internal battery. There is also a USB port which can be used for charging other devices and, unlike the previous version, you can do this without being connected to mains. Finally there's a 3.5mm analogue audio jack that can be used to connect smartphones, tablets and other devices.
The Go is small, portable, well designed, nicely constructed and comes in a choice of black or white.
Cambridge Audio Go - FeaturesSince the Go is primarily designed for listening to music wirelessly whilst on the move, it doesn't have a huge feature set. Aside from the previously mentioned Bluetooth with aptX support, 3.5mm jack and USB recharging port, there's also an intelligent lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Once fully charged the battery on the Go has a life of up to 18 hours, depending on the volume, which means it can easily last all day. There's also a handy travel pouch included which adds to the portability of the Go and it will automatically switch off after 30 minutes of inactivity. There's no specific app but of course anything you can listen to on your smart device, such as Spotify, Last.fm, Tunein, BBC iPlayer etc., can be listened to via the Go.
Cambridge Audio employs a five-speaker array in the Go, with two 19mm titanium dome tweeters and twin 50mm woofers at the front to create a wider and more detailed soundstage. At the rear there is a bass radiator to help create a deeper low-end and give the Go greater presence for its diminutive size. There's a digital amplifier to provide plenty of power and Cambridge Audio employ digital signal processing to maintain a consistent performance regardless of the listening volume. There's also on-board digital-to-analogue conversion to gain maximum detail from the digital music being streamed to the speaker. Finally acoustical dampening has been employed to eliminate vibrations and distortions, especially when listening at high volumes.
Cambridge Audio Go - Video Review
Cambridge Audio Go - What does it sound like?Since the latest version of the Go retains the same amplification, speaker array and DSP processing that was used on the earlier model, we had a good idea of what to expect in terms of sound quality. We weren't disappointed and the Go delivered the same assured performance that made the previous iteration such a winner. The well designed speaker array means that the Go can create sensibly wide front soundstage, allowing it to fill quite a large room with sound despite its size. The acoustical dampening means it can go reasonably loud without distorting and the bass radiator at the rear gives music a sense of weight that you wouldn't expect from a portable speaker.
Due to the size of the cabinet, you're never going to get any real sense of stereo separation but the Go manages to sound open and never feels like the audio is emanating from a single point. The tweeters are particularly effective at breathing life into the higher frequencies, whilst the mid-range is also well served. The combination of digital amplification and digital signal processing result in well balanced sound and the Bluetooth connection was excellent. The quality was good, the connection remained robust and thanks to some impressive digital to analogue conversion, the audio remained both detailed and warm. This gave the Go a pleasing organic sound that wasn't clinical or too harsh with more compressed material.
The Go worked extremely well as a portable speaker, the battery life was nearly as long as advertised, we were able to use the speaker all around the house and the support foot proved useful but not essential. The USB recharging for other devices worked very well, as did the NFC tag for one-touch connection. The 3.5mm jack was also effective, so if you would prefer to use this approach it will be just as good and the power adapter means you can run the Go off the mains if you like. Of course the main reason for buying the Go is to listen to music wirelessly and enjoy the freedom of a really long battery life. In that sense the Cambridge Audio Go is a definite success and remains one of the best portable speakers on the market.
Just like the earlier version of the GO, this latest iteration delivers an excellent audio performance.
- Excellent sound quality
- Well designed and built
- Very long battery life
- Genuinely portable
- Attractive price
Cambridge Audio Go Wireless Speaker Review
Is it worth buying?
If you're looking for a portable wireless speaker with decent battery life and a great audio performance then the answer is a resounding yes. The Cambridge Audio Go is an attractively designed and well made wireless speaker that delivers the goods in the audio department. The Go can produce a detailed, open and coherent soundstage with well defined high and mid-range frequencies, along with a decent bass response. The Bluetooth works well, as does the aux in, whilst the long battery life and sensible proportions make it genuinely portable.
What are the alternatives?
This is a competitive market, with new portable wireless speakers being release every week but even so the Go remains a very strong proposition. In terms of alternatives, the diminutive KitSound Ignite delivers a surprisingly big sound at an attractive price, whilst the Samsung M3 provides the option of creating a multi-room system. However for its combination of design, looks, performance and price, the Cambridge Audio Go should still be at the top of your short list if you're looking for a portable wireless speaker.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £119.00
Value For Money9
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