Soundboks, pronounced like soundbox, has a minor cult following for its large, powerful Bluetooth speakers. The company’s latest offering, however, is all about cutting down on price and size to make a more portable wireless speaker while trying not to diminish its sound quality in the process. The Soundboks Go comes in around 20 pounds and at $699—still a commitment in both regards.
The Soundboks Go has a 3.5 mm auxiliary input, but no other inputs for a microphone or instrument. That limits its ability to be a compact karaoke party box like other competing products. The company retains one of its signature features of wirelessly linking with several other Soundboks, so you can always add more speakers to the mix if you ever need more volume.
After spending some time with the Soundboks Go, I found it an impressive speaker that can provide music for plenty of types of outdoor gatherings. The speaker, along with its companion app, does have some quirks, though, which might not make it a slam dunk for everyone in the market for a party sound system.
- Heavy amount of bass from a smallish speaker
- Handy ability to link multiple speakers wirelessly
- No quarter-inch or XLR inputs for microphones
- Independent volume controls can be annoying
Buy at Soundboks.
A Powerful Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The Soundboks Go is clearly meant to go places. The company calls it dentproof with a reinforced unibody enclosure, but it’s also splashproof with an IP65 rating. While its 20-pound weight is reasonable for its size and sound capability, it’s still not exactly lightweight, in my opinion.
There are two 72-watt class D amplifiers inside, along with a 10-inch woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter.
Most people will use its Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity, but it does have a TeamUP connection for linking together five speakers—Soundboks (Gen. 3) or Soundboks Go. It’s a beefy speaker as far as a Bluetooth goes.
Quirks or Benefits?
When I first tried the Soundboks Go, there were a few features I found odd. The first was that the volume knob on the speaker doesn’t control the volume on your phone as most Bluetooth speakers do. The phone volume and the speaker volume operate independently.
The reason for this is related to linking multiple speakers together. If multiple speakers are wirelessly connected, you might not want all of them to all have the same volume. I understand this reasoning, but I do wish this could be adjusted with a setting in the app. Even after weeks, I still find it a bit annoying to have independent volume controls.
The Soundboks Go has a removable battery. This is foreign among Bluetooth speakers, because most aren’t this big or this expensive. A swappable battery seems less necessary on this smaller unit than on the bigger Soundboks (Gen. 3), but I do think it is a nice touch here. I got used to removing the battery to charge it pretty quickly. The battery can last somewhere between 6 hours at full volume and using the most aggressive bass EQ setting and 10 hours with a lower volume.
Firmware updates are a highlight feature for the company. This isn’t uncommon; most companies have a way to update hardware. It wouldn’t even be worth mentioning except that I tried to update a speaker, and it seemingly bricked the device. I reached out to customer support via email and didn’t hear back again after the first contact (or have a resolution).
The firmware update process leaves a lot to be desired, taking more than 30 minutes in duration. It also doesn’t tell you in the app what is being updated or which new features are being added.
The Soundboks Go is a good size to be a party speaker. It’s relatively compact and easy enough to move around the house or backyard without hurting your back. If you pair it with the shoulder strap, the box is easier to carry for much longer distances.
I also think the Soundboks Go has a useful shape to it. It lends itself well to being stackable or even for just setting a drink on. It is splashproof, after all.
I compared the Soundboks Go directly against a JBL PartyBox 110, and I actually came away surprised at how well the JBL speaker performed. The Soundboks Go was very similar, especially in the Powerful EQ setting, but I tended to like the blended fullness just a touch more on the PartyBox 110 using default presets. That said, the Soundboks Go can really pack an audio punch when turned up and pushed.
Should You Buy the Soundboks Go?
The Soundboks Go is a speaker worthy of throwing a party. It can be a Spotify DJ as well as anything. My reluctance about it isn’t really about sound quality, it’s more about its market fit. For example, being able to connect a microphone is probably a big party use case—if not for karaoke or singing, then for making announcements.
The Soundboks (Gen. 3) should be able to provide a lot more volume and includes multiple mic and audio connection ports for $999. One thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it’s not much more if you’re already considering spending around $700 for the Go.
Personally, I think the Soundboks Go makes a fun beach speaker. It could be a perfect summer addition to a backyard pool party, too. Even with its quirks, it’s probably the right product for someone. I’m just not sure how many of those people there are.
Buy at Soundboks for $699.
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