Most every phone, tablet, MP3 player, and computer these days have built-in speakers so you can hear audio without having to use headphones. Most of those built-in speakers are woefully inadequate for anything but listening while you’re within a couple of feet of your device. There are a plethora of external speakers available to boost the audio of your portable devices. There are cheap little mono speakers that are hardly better than the built-in speakers to expensive, hi-fidelity speaker systems. There are wired, USB, and Bluetooth speakers. G-PROJECT contacted The Gadgeteer to see if we wanted to review their mono, Bluetooth speaker, the G-GO. I was happy to be selected to give the G-GO speaker a try.
The G-GO speaker has a ruggedized body, so you can take it along without worrying about damage. It’s water-resistant, so it was designed for use “in kitchen, bathroom, beach, pool, patio and other environments with potential exposure to water.” It’s not submersible, nor is it designed for prolonged or high-pressure exposure to water, but it is safe from splashing on all sides.
It has a plastic body, two speakers on the front, and locking doors on the back (for connectors) and on the bottom (for batteries). The speakers don’t have a grill to protect them, but there are two clear plastic bars that run along the front of them. The G-GO is available in blue, black, or white. I received the blue.
- Class 2 Bluetooth Range: 33ft (10m)
- Supported Bluetooth profile: A2DP
- Power: 2 X 3W <10% THD
- Approximate battery life: 8 hours, but varies with volume level and audio content
- Power adapter AC input: 100-240V 50-60Hz
- Power adapter DC output: 9V 1.8A
- Batteries: 4 AA (not included)
- USB jack DC power: 5V 1A
- Water resistance level: IPX4
There are no specifications about music reproduction that I could find.
According to Wikipedia, the water resistance IPX4 rating indicates “Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.” The testing parameters are defined to be:
- Test duration: 5 minutes
- Water volume: 10 litres per minute
- Pressure: 80–100 kN/m²
The G-GO speaker comes with an AC power supply, a user’s guide, and a warranty sheet.
This side of the G-GO is plain, but you can see the built-in handle. The body of the speaker is a colored plastic, blue in this case. The dark gray areas have a rubberized coating.
All the controls for the speaker are located on this side. From the top, they are: power on/off, volume up, volume down, EQ selection, play/pause, skip to next track, skip to last track, and Bluetooth pairing (breaks the current pairing and puts the speaker back in pairing mode). The buttons are all sealed with a rubbery coating for water resistance.
Because it connects via Bluetooth and has no device-specific docks, you should be able to use this with most any device that supports the Bluetooth A2DP profile.
When opened, you’ll find the DC power-in port and an audio-in port so you can use the speakers with non-Bluetooth devices. The 3.5mm audio-in cable is not provided. The USB port can be used to charge your mobile device. You cannot sync with this USB port.
There’s a rubber gasket around these connectors that obviously seals this area when the lid is locked down. I’m not sure how the water resistance is impacted when this is open to connect the power line or a non-Bluetooth device. I would imagine that water resistance on the back would be negatively impacted with this door open.
Open this panel to insert 4 AA batteries. The batteries allow you to carry the G-GO along with you when you go outdoors. I would imagine that operating on batteries (and with a Bluetooth connection) would give you the greatest water resistance. You should get about 8 hours of playback on a set of batteries, depending on the volume level and with the audio content.
These batteries won’t be charged by the AC power supply.
Pairing the G-GO speaker to my MacBook Pro was easy. I simply turned on the speaker, and it entered pairing mode and was quickly found by my MBP. I opened up the Bluetooth controls on my MBP, and selected the G-GO from the list of detected devices. The G-GO beeped to indicate pairing, but the blue LED on the front didn’t stop blinking until I had selected the G-GO speakers as my audio output device. Once paired, the G-GO connected up automatically with my MBP each time I powered the speaker back on.
As you might expect from a relatively inexpensive, mono speaker, it did not produce high-fidelity sound. Without a subwoofer, there wasn’t a lot of bottom end, and the bass was lacking. However, the sound was better and much louder than my MBP could produce. When I maxed out the volume, the sound did distort. Turning it down a bit took care of the distortion, though.
I tried listening to a variety of song of various styles. The G-GO sounded good with all types of music. I tried the EQ button on the side, and I found that the sound did improve, depending on the selection. The manual describes the presets as 1=flat, 2=rock, 3= pop, and 4=jazz.. The white status light on the front will blink quickly to show which preset is being selected – 1, 2, 3, or 4 blinks to match the EQ setting. I didn’t pay attention to the preset, just pressed the button until I thought it sounded good.
When your device is connected via Bluetooth, you can use the buttons on the side to control playback. There are play/pause, skip to next track, and skip to previous track buttons. These buttons will not control devices connected via the audio-in connector.
To test the water-resistance, I set the G-Go speaker on my porch while it was raining. The location was shielded, but not completely protected from the rain. I left it out there for about 10 minutes. When I brought it in, there were water drops over the body of the G-GO speaker. I put a set of batteries in, and the speaker connected to my computer and played songs with no problems.
The G-GO speaker connected just as easily to my iPad (3rd generation). It took a couple of seconds to discover the speaker and a couple more to pair. Playback controls worked with the iPad just as they had worked with my MBP. I had an email come in while I was listening to music with the speaker, and I heard the notification sound.
I connected it to my iPhone 4, and it worked just as with my iPad. When a call came in, the sound from the G-GO was muted, then my phone rang. I answered the call from my phone, as the speaker has no speakerphone capabilities. When I hung up the call, the song continued on the speaker.
The specifications promised a 30-ft range when connected with Bluetooth. While running on battery power, I connected the speaker to my computer via Bluetooth and carried it around my house. I have a small, one-story house, but I have incredibly thick plaster, lathe, and metal mesh walls. I found that I experienced cutouts of the sound in every room of the house, other than the living room where my computer was.
The G-Project G-GO speaker doesn’t sound like you’re at Carnegie Hall, but you can’t expect that for $70. It’s a great solution for adding sound in rooms where you might hesitate to put other speakers because of possible exposure to water. It would be great to take outside while you’re gardening or washing the car or to use near the pool. The sound is good, although lacking in the bass range. The volume is much louder than the built-in speakers of any of my devices. And if you are using it with your phone, at least an iPhone, you won’t have to worry about missed calls. Sounds like a good deal to me!