Back in April I had the opportunity to review the Music Flow speakers from LG and frankly loved it. The system is really well thought out, designed and very easy to use, particularly with the introduction of Google Cast. I was so impressed with the system that I went out and spent some of my hard earned cash on speakers for my house.
So naturally, when the opportunity came up to take a closer look at the latest addition to the Music Flow range of speakers — the H4 Portable speaker — I jumped at it.
The first thing that really struck me when I opened the box was the astonishingly small size of the thing, it’s small enough to fit in my hand because I was expecting something the size of the H3.
Out of the box the battery was at about 75% but to make sure I gave it a fair go, I charged it up before cranking out some tunes.
With the surprise of the size of the speaker came some concern about the potential sound quality (or lack of) that I was going to get from it; that was blown out of the water very quickly though. It’s not going to replace your home stereo, but the sound quality from a speaker so small is nothing short of astounding when you consider the size of the speaker.
Because we’ve already done a review of the Music Flow system as a whole, I won’t spend a lot of time going through the system itself again, but the H4 portable speaker is capable of hooking into an existing Music Flow home as I did during this review, or being a stand alone device via the Bluetooth connection.
The sound out of a speaker that measures 194 x 69 x 70mm is really mind blowing, but please don’t buy this expecting it to be a full range speaker. You’re not going to get ground shaking bass or pure acoustic audio but for what is in front of you the audio quality is great. The high range is clean and crisp without being sharp, the mid range has power and depth and there is (amazingly) some bass as well.
On top of all of this, the Music Flow H4 is a really nice looking speaker. It fits in with the styling of the other Music Flow speakers we have previously looked at but still has the style and looks to stand alone.
Here’s the tricky bit many users will struggle with, the cost… $279 RRP for what is a relatively low powered speaker (although it’s currently on special at The Good Guys for $249), which has a battery in it to give you tunes on the go. It’s a hefty price given the H5 in my living room cost less than that, in fact that’s around $30 shy of the H7 which really is an impressive unit.
So why go with the portable speaker?
The answer is actually pretty simple, the portability. It’s lightweight, it’s good looking, it’s surprisingly powerful, it sounds great and you really can take it anywhere. I had it in my kitchen listening to music while the kids watched TV, I used it in my bedroom and even took it on the roof while I was cleaning gutters out. The versatility is wonderful and only limited by your forethought to chuck it in your bag before you leave home just make sure you have your favourite tunes on your phone or some connectivity to stream while you’re out.
The question I had asked when I produced a battery powered speaker from my bag was “How long does the battery last?”
This is interesting because the LG website claims up to 6 hours of playback, where I have (using Google Cast on WiFi) achieved over 10 and on Bluetooth only nearly 8 hours. Which suggests LG are playing it conservatively with their battery life estimates which is great news for users.
All told the LG Music Flow H4 gave me a positive experience, it worked exactly as I expected it to (being a user of the Music Flow system already) and dropped into my home system with ease. The Bluetooth Pairing process was as easy as it could possibly get and the battery life far exceeded my expectations as well as the claims of LG on their marketing material.
If you’re after a decent quality Bluetooth speaker that will last a good period of time, I would not hesitate to offer the H4 as a viable option for most users. The only questions would be the price, will people pay $279 for a battery powered speaker or not?
A number of the registered retailers have these speakers out for demonstration, so if you want to check it out for yourself just head into your local JB Hifi, Good Guys or Harvey Norman to get a tease of what the LG Music Flow H4 can do for you.
What has your experience been with battery powered speakers in the past?