What is the LG PL7 XBOOM Go?
The LG PL7 is part of the company’s recently launched XBOOM Go range of portable water-resistant Bluetooth speakers. The PL line-up is composed of the PL7, the PL5 and the PL2, with the size, power and battery life increasing as you move up the range of speakers.
Like the other models in the PL series, the PL7 uses proprietary Meridian technology. It also sports dual action bass thanks to woofers at each end (a feature shared with the PL5), a sound boost mode, a remote app, a party link for adding up to 100 units, and party lighting.
These speakers work with Google Assistant (Android) and Siri (iOS), plus if you own a 2020 LG TV you can even use two of the same model as surround channels. The PL7 costs £139.99 as at the time of writing (October 2020), so let’s see how it stacks up against the competition.
Design, Connections and Control
The LG PL7 XBOOM Go uses a simple but robust design, with a sleek tubular shape and rounded ends where the bass drivers and lights are located. At the front is a mesh grille, behind which are a pair of drivers, and the build quality is very good. The matte black rubberised finish makes the speaker comfortable to hold and it shouldn’t slip out of your hands. It’s also water-resistant so, if you get caught in the rain, the speaker won’t short out on you!
At the top is a battery life indicator, along with a selection of touch-sensitive controls. From left to right these are the power on/off button, the Bluetooth pairing button, the volume up and down buttons, the play/pause button, and the Sound Boost button. If you hold the play/pause button down for two seconds, you can speak to activate Google Assistant on Android phones or Siri on iOS devices, thus providing simple voice commands.
The speaker is very well-made, with a rubberised finish that won't slip out of your hands
The main method of connection is Bluetooth, although LG is very vague about which version the PL7 is using. There are also some physical connections at the rear of the speaker, behind a removable cover. Here you’ll find a USB 2.0 port for charging other devices, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and a USB-C connector for recharging the battery. There are also buttons for changing the lighting, setting up the dual mode, multiple speakers and resetting the unit.
The XBOOM remote app is available for both iOS and Android devices, and offers a home page from which you can access various controls: Wireless Party Link; Sound Effects; and Lighting Effects. You can also access music and playlists from your device, as well as a Settings submenu, where you can change the Multi Play Mode from Private to Party, access the User Guide, turn the Auto Power Management and Beep Sounds on and off, and update the firmware.
Meridian is a British audio brand that’s been developing high-end digital products and solutions since the 1970s. The company has spent decades pioneering digital signal processing, psychoacoustics, surround sound technologies, system tuning and room equalisation. Meridian has also formed strategic partnerships with other major brands, and the latest is with LG.
Meridian’s philosophy is to create authentic, lifelike and natural sound. This is based on an understanding of psychoacoustics and how people actually hear. To deliver these goals Median concentrates on electronics, digital signal processing (DSP), drive units and mechanical design. Meridian has worked in conjunction with LG engineers to bring these technologies to its products.
These technologies include drive unit design and selection, acoustic performance, electronic design and DSP. Meridian has been pioneering DSP for over 25 years, and forms the basis of all its products. It’s now part of LG’s products, giving complete control over the audio signal. DSP is based upon three key elements: system design; Meridian technologies; and tuning and voicing.
The system design combines crossover filters and phase alignment to create an optimised baseline. Meridian’s proprietary technologies include image elevation, which uses psychoacoustics to create a sense of height, and bass and space, which increases the perceived soundstage and improves bass response. Finally, Meridian fine tunes its products, and applies EQ to voice the overall sound.
Setup and Operation
The LG PL7 XBOOM Go is incredibly easy to setup, all you need to do is charge the battery and turn the speaker on. You'll hear a beep (which you can turn off), the lights at either end illuminate (which thankfully you can also turn off), and the speaker is ready for pairing. Then all you need to do is pair it with your phone, at which stage you'll be asked to add the XBOOM App if you don't already have it.
When charging the PL7 you'll see a red battery light, which will change to green once the battery is fully charged. You can check the battery status by holding the power on/off button for two seconds: green is over 70%, amber is less than 10%, and flashing red means the battery needs to be charged. You can also see the exact battery status on the home page of the remote app.
If you want to pair the speaker with another device, just hold the Bluetooth button down for two seconds. You can turn the volume up or down with the buttons on the top of the speaker, and you can also turn the Sound Boost on or off using the dedicated button, plus there's an indicator light to show when Sound Boost is engaged.
Setup is straightforward, operation is easy, and the remote app is pleasingly intuitive
The playback controls are based around the play/pause button. Press it once to play or pause a track, press it twice to skip forward, and three times to skip backwards. Holding down the play/pause button for two seconds allows for simple voice commands via Google Assistant on Android phones and Siri on iOS smart devices.
In the covered area at the rear are buttons for Multi, Dual and Light. Pressing the Multi button allows you to combine more than one speaker together, with one as the main unit. The Dual mode allows you to pair two speakers to create left and right channels in a stereo setup. Pressing the Light button cycles the lighting through Party, Water, Forest, My Style and Off.
You really don't need to bother with most of the buttons on the PL7, because you can access everything from the XBOOM App. This remote app is effective and well-designed, providing a simple way to turn on Sound Boost or access the Dual and Multi Modes. It's also by far the best way of changing the lighting effects, and the only way of creating a customised setting (My Style).
The LG PL7 XBOOM Go delivers a genuinely impressive sonic performance, which one assumes is thanks to Meridian's involvement. The overall delivery is clean and detailed, with an uncluttered midrange and well-defined treble. There's also a surprising amount of bass considering the speaker's size.
The PL7 may have been designed as a portable speaker and for parties, but it's certainly capable of handling the audio duties on a desktop for example. Although, if that's your intention, I'd obviously recommend turning off the dynamic lighting, and I wouldn't bother with the Sound Boost either.
Listening to the La La Land soundtrack reveals a lively delivery that makes listening to music fun, even if you aren't dancing in a crowded room. The jazz-influenced songs retain an enjoyably light and airy quality, with instruments and vocals remaining well-defined and distinct.
The same goes for the Gallic electro-pop of M83's Hurry up, We're Dreaming, with the annoyingly infectious Midnight City benefiting from a driving drum beat that has some genuinely deep bass. This low-end grunt gives this relatively small speaker a soundstage with more presence than you expect.
The influence of Meridian is obvious in this speaker's clean and detailed delivery
Naturally there's little in the way of any real stereo separation or imaging, but there's plenty of power in this diminutive speaker, allowing it to sound much bigger than it actually is. This obviously makes it ideal for taking to the pool or out into the garden, where the volume can offset ambient noise.
When it comes to parties, the dynamic lighting will undoubtedly be a hit, while the Sound Boost button comes into its own. This does what it says on the tin, boosting the audio and especially the bass to give the speaker a wider sound field. It tends to swamp the finer details, but at a party that's hardly important.
The eclectic mix of rock, pop and folk that permeates the new Waterboys album Good Luck, Seeker allows this speaker to show how adept it is at handling different musical styles. It also provides a chance to crank things up, hit the Sound Boost and discover how effective it is at filling a decent-sized room. There's also the option to add more speakers, or run two as a stereo pair.
The battery life proved suitably long, although to get the 24 hours promoted by LG you'll obviously need to turn the dynamic lighting off and keep the volume at the halfway point or lower. Overall, this is a small, handy and highly capable wireless speaker that is sure to please whether you're listening to music while you work or entertaining a group of friends.
- Clean and detailed sound
- Surprising amount of bass
- Well-made and portable
- Easy to setup and use
- Effective remote app
- Great for parties
- Limited soundstage
- Bluetooth only
- Bit pricey
LG PL7 XBOOM Go Wireless Speaker Review
The LG PL7 XBOOM Go is a well-designed and great-sounding portable speaker. Thanks to Meridian's involvement the sonic delivery is clean and precise, while the speaker itself has a surprising amount of power and bass. There isn't much in the way of stereo separation, but this diminutive speaker is both flexible and adept when it comes to different musical styles.
The PL7 is easy to setup and use, with a genuinely effective remote app. There's a host of features that includes a long-life battery and water resistance, while the Sound Boost gives the soundstage more presence for parties. You can also link multiple speakers, pair for left and right stereo and even use two as the surround channels on a supporting LG TV.
In fact, the only real downsides are that the PL7 is limited to Bluetooth and is a bit pricey. So while parties of a hundred people seem unlikely for the time being, at least you know that when some semblance of normality returns, you can kick-on the dynamic lighting, hit the Sound Boost button, crank-up the volume and party like it's 2021!
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