The first thing I thought of when I pulled the G-BOOM out of the box was, "This thing looks like a ghetto blaster from the '80s." The G-BOOM isn't quite as big as an old school boombox, but it seems like that's what it was modelled after. The G-BOOM is a $100 Bluetooth speaker with big sound. How does it perform? Let's take a look.
When you open the box, you're greeted with the usual Styrofoam packaging. G-Project packs this thing in tight. The speaker itself is rubberized and rugged looking. It looks like it will stand up to a beating. You're provided with a proprietary power adaptor ad a 3.5mm auxiliary cable. The power adaptor was a bit of a disappointment. I would have preferred a standard microUSB charging port. That's not the end of the power issues, but we'll get more into that later.
The G-BOOM looks like it will take a pounding, and it stands up to the test. The design is industrial, with sharp looking, faceted corners. The device is heavy and the plastic is hardened. There's a metal-reinforced handle on top that is wrapped in softened rubber. Across the top of the unit we see the controls, also rubberized. The control buttons are all in a row, starting with the power button. There are buttons for playing and changing tracks, volume, EQ, and a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button. The speaker itself is housed inside a silver mesh, with two 1-inch tweeters and two 3-inch mids. There are dual sound ports on the back which assist with the low-end.
On the front of the unit you have three LED indicators that show you when the device is powered on, when it's charging, and when it's in pairing mode. On the back there's a charging port, USB port, and aux line-in which are covered by a rubber flap. The USB port is so you can charge other devices with the G-BOOM, but here we run into the issue of battery size. It's my only beef with the G-BOOM.
The G-BOOM Wireless Boombox has a woefully small 1,500 mAh lithium-ion battery inside it. I cannot figure out why G-Project didn't stuff a larger battery into this thing. The speaker box is big enough that they should have been able to fit a battery at least twice the size into it. The ability to charge external devices is nice, but the battery is so small that I don't think you'll find yourself wanting to do that. The G-BOOM is rated for 6 hours of audio playback. That's probably a little more if you're using the line-in and not connecting via Bluetooth. I was able to get about 5 hours of playback when streaming music via Bluetooth. That's not horrible, but the G-BOOM is designed to be rugged. You're supposed to use it on the go. You can't really take it with you for long periods if the battery doesn't last more than half a day, though. This is the one drawback to the G-BOOM. It's the one area to which G-Project should have paid more attention.
The EQ button allows you to change between three basic settings. You can select from Pop, Rock, and Flat, and you'll need to play with the settings to find which suits your ears best. It's nice to see the option of even a basic EQ selection, as most Bluetooth speakers don't offer this. How do the speakers sound, though?
The G-BOOM was originally released in April 2013. It uses the Bluetooth 2.1 standard, which may contribute to the less-than-desired battery performance. I was concerned that the use of this older Bluetooth standard would mean sub-par audio performance as well. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. The highs were generally crisp, the mid-range was very prevalent, and low-end was more than acceptable. Most Bluetooth speakers suffer from a lack of bass; the G-BOOM speaker definitely does not. There speaker sounded best when playing loud rock music, which is right up my alley. Like most Bluetooth speakers, the audio suffers from compression when it's wirelessly transmitted from source to speaker. The low-end also distorted a bit when I cranked the volume all the way up. For all of that, the G-BOOM is still one of the better sounding Bluetooth speakers I've ever used, especially when used outdoors.
The G-BOOM is big and brash in both looks and sound. It's priced at only $99.99 on Amazon, which is in the range of speakers that are a lot smaller in both of those areas. The sound quality is above-average, and the box will stand up to a beating. The battery is sufficient for use at an afternoon party, but don't expect to get a full weekend's use out of it on a camping trip. The G-BOOM is more than just a Bluetooth speaker; it's truly a wireless boombox.