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LG PL5 XBOOM portable Bluetooth speaker review

It's colourful and fun, but does it sounds any good?

LG PL5 XBOOM portable bluetooth speaker
LG PL5 XBOOM Portable Speaker
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
  • con
    It’s not our favourite Bluetooth speaker on the market, but the LG PL5 XBOOM is still a great value option.
Georgia Dixon
Oct 09, 2020
Icon Time To Read3 min read
Our verdict

It’s not our favourite Bluetooth speaker on the market, but the LG PL5 XBOOM is still a great value option. The sound quality leaves a little bit to be desired, but we love the design, LED lights and battery life.

pro
Pros
pro Up to 18-hour battery life
pro Vibrant LED lights
pro IPX5 water resistant
con
Cons
con Bass lacks depth
con Better value options available

The portable Bluetooth speaker market is pretty cluttered these days, so it takes something special to stand out. In terms of design, the LG PL5 XBOOM certainly stands out, however, its sound quality isn’t quite up to the standard of the JBLs and UEs of the world.

LG PL5 XBOOM price

Pretty standard.

At an RRP of $179, the LG PL5 XBOOM fits nicely between the JBL FLIP 5 at $169.95 and the UE BOOM 3 at $199. However, like its competitors, there are plenty of deals to be had that bring the PL5 under the $140 mark.

In terms of what the XBOOM offers over the competition, it’s a mixed bag. It’s the only one boasting cool LED lights, but sound-wise, it comes in just below par.

LG PL5 XBOOM

LG PL5 XBOOM sound quality

Good, but disappointing bass.

If you’re not a total audiophile and simply want something to accompany you to parties and picnics, the LG PL5 XBOOM is a good option. LG’s inclusion of Meridian technology allows for high volumes without much distortion. However, we’d be lying if we said it boasted the best quality sound we’ve ever heard in a portable speaker. Trebles do just fine, but if you’re looking for something that makes the most of your bassy favourites, you may be disappointed with the depth of the PL5’s bass.

The speaker also comes with a Sound Boost mode, which, honestly, is far better than the standard mode. In standard, the sound has a bit of a muffled quality, but with Sound Boost turned on, it’s a far richer and more satisfying listening experience.

Those seeking a 360-degree speaker array will have to look elsewhere, but like the JBL FLIP 5, the PL5 XBOOM does a fine job of filling every corner with sound, no matter which direction it’s aimed at.

LG PL5 XBOOM design

Made for parties.

By far our favourite thing about the LG PL5 XBOOM is the ring-shaped LED lights adorning the two passive radiators. We always thought light-up speakers were a bit gimmicky, but LG’s minimalistic take on the trend is really refreshing. It’s also fun to see the lights vibrating like crazy when the volume is cranked right up.

 

The 890g rubberised build is solid and feels like good quality. It’s a great shower or poolside companion, with an IPX5 water resistance rating allowing it to handle the odd splash or sprinkle. However, given many other speakers in this price bracket are submersible up to one metre for 30 minutes, we’d love to see a higher rating in future models.

LG PL5 XBOOM features

Fantastic battery life.

One thing the LG PL5 XBOOM has over most of its mid-sized cousins is its battery life. At 50% volume with no lights, you can get up to 18 hours of playback time out of it. For comparison’s sake, that’s three more hours than the UE BOOM 3 and six more than the JBL FLIP 5.

Another feature we love (even though it’s 2020 and hardly anyone uses it any more) is the inclusion of a 3.5mm jack. Long live AUX cable-passing parties.

There’s also a dedicated app which can be used to adjust (or turn off) the colour and speed of the LED lights, control Sound Boost mode and link other XBOOM speakers. If you’re not an app-y kinda person, no worries - everything you can do through the app can also be done via buttons on the device.

Is it worth it?

Yes, but there are better options.

There’s nothing we hate about the LG PL5 XBOOM. It’s a decent speaker with some cool features and incredible battery life. But there is better money for value out there if you’re willing to sacrifice LED lights. If not, the PL5 XBOOM is well worth its $179 price tag, and even better when you can grab it for less.

icon-expertise

How we review portable speakers

When it comes to reviewing and ranking portable speakers, we put them through the paces of everyday use, depending on what they’re designed for. We spend a lot of time listening to a variety of music, comparing them to whichever speakers are our typical go-to options.

We like portable speakers that are as easy to set up as possible. Ideally, things should just work. You shouldn't need to connect to the internet or tinker with software.

Similarly, we believe that connectivity is important and favour speakers that offer the user plenty of options. The more versatile a speaker is in terms of its uses, the more potential uses it has and the greater its overall value.

Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has over seven years' experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle, with bylines in TechLife magazine, 7NEWS and Stuff.co.nz. In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

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