The LG XBOOM 360 XO3 Bluetooth speaker has 360° omnidirectional sound, an attractive design and intriguing ambient lighting modes.
I’ll run through all its features and discuss its sound quality. In the accompanying video you’ll be able to hear for yourselves how it sounds.
Inside the box you get the XBOOM 360 XO3 speaker itself, a USB-C charging cable, a small strap and a quick start guide.
This doesn’t look like your standard Bluetooth speaker. It has an attractive vase design with a fabric finish and feels well made. It is a sizable speaker and weighs 3.2 kg, but with its upright design it doesn’t take up much space and should blend nicely into most home interiors. You can see its dimensions on screen.
Without attaching the included strap, there’s no obvious way to pick it up, but I tend to carry it around from the top lighting section. To attach the fabric strap you need to remove the rubber plug concealing the strap hole, unscrew the strap button and then feed the strap through the hole before screwing the button back on. Thoughtfully the rubber bung can be stowed in a recess underneath the speaker.
The speaker has an IP54 water and dust resistance rating, an upgrade on its predecessor the RP54, which was far larger too. It’s only splash proof, but it does mean it can be used outside.
Around the base there’s a rubberised power button, and next to it behind a rubber flap the USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm audio in port for a wired connection. Unfortunately this USB-C port is only one-way – for charging the unit, so you can’t use it to charge your tech which would have been useful.
The top of the unit has touch controls. These controls light up when you tap them but unfortunately the lighting turns off shortly afterwards which makes them hard to locate in low light.
There’s a battery indicator, the mood lighting button, volume controls and the play pause button activated with a single tap. To skip forward or back a track use a double and triple tap respectively. Finally there’s the Bluetooth button and status LED.
The touch buttons look very smart and minimalist but I do prefer tactile buttons. Perhaps my hands are a little dry, but it sometimes takes a couple of attempts for a successful tap.
The top of the speaker has a 1” silk dome tweeter just visible through the speaker grille.
Underneath is the lamp and below that a 2” mid-range glass fibre woofer.
At the bottom there’s the 4” bass woofer. Hidden behind the fabric covered enclosure are dual passive radiators.
Charging the integrated 28.9 Wh battery with the supplied USB-A to USB-C cable is meant to take up to 5 hours at just under 10W, but I found it a little quicker than that.
When you first turn on the speaker with a short press of the power button, there’s an audible prompt and the Bluetooth status LED will flash ready for pairing. If you want to pair to a second device, just tap and hold this Bluetooth button until it starts flashing. By default you can play from the second device if you pause playback on the device currently active. There is a multi-mode setting you can enable in the free accompanying Xboom smartphone app that lets you play from both devices without having to pause one of them. Just enable Party mode under More product settings | Multi play mode.
You can cycle through various lighting modes and effects by tapping the bulb icon. From Ambient to Nature to Party mode and the final press will turn off lighting. There’s far more control over the lighting in the XBOOM app. In the default Ambient mode you can turn on Candle Effect to flicker the light which my daughter particularly liked. And in each of the modes you can select various presets or choose your own colours from a colour wheel or hue and saturation sliders. Any custom settings you select will remain applied even when using the speaker’s button.
In the app you can also set a sleep timer which will enable the Good Night Mode. This dims the lighting gradually as the timer counts down and chooses colours that are meant to aid sleep. This is a nice feature if you’re using it on a bedside table.
If you have multiple speakers you can also link them together using Wireless Party Link in the app. You can either link 2 identical speakers in a stereo pair or several speakers in Multi mode (supports LG XG9Q/XG7Q/XG5Q/XO3Q speakers). I only have the LG XBOOM Go PL range that do have a Multi mode but unfortunately aren’t compatible with this speaker.
In the app you can also see the speaker’s battery level, disable the auto power-off and update the firmware.
The biggest feature of the XBOOM 360 is its omnidirectional sound. This really works as you’ll hopefully hear in the sound tests shortly. You can position the speaker wherever you like and as you move around the room the output from the speaker barely changes.
You don’t get the same sound stage you would from a more conventional speaker this size with stereo speakers, but the Xboom 360 sounds good. There’s lots of clarity in the mids and highs. It doesn’t have the thumping bass of some other speakers I’ve tested in a similar category, but for most music it sounds well balanced and I think a lot of people will like how it sounds.
It has 50W of total output with its 25W mid-range woofer and 25W bass woofer. Even at maximum volume there’s little distortion although I found it more comfortable at around 75% volume in most cases. Using a sound level meter one metre from the speaker grille, I measured the speaker at maximum and 75% volume. I enabled the Sound Boost EQ preset in the app, which slightly enhances the bass and does make the speaker louder. You can see how it fared above. It’s not the loudest speaker I’ve tested in its category but it’s certainly loud enough to fill a medium sized room and could be used outside.
You can also tune the EQ to your personal tastes creating your own Custom preset.
In the accompanying video, you can hear for yourself how the speaker sounds with Sound Boost on and off. I also have a sample with the speaker slowly rotating to try and demonstrate the omnidirectional sound. I’ve recorded the sound test with binaural microphones that capture stereo sound, to try and provide the closest representation of what I’m hearing. Please listen with headphones for the best experience.
The speaker uses Bluetooth 5.1 and there is almost no delay watching YouTube or Netflix which is nice to see. The connection was also reliable and its range was particularly good, extending beyond the far end of the next room of my house, over 10 metres away.
One thing missing from the XBOOM 360 is a microphone so you can’t use it with your voice assistant or for phone calls.
The speaker supports the higher quality AAC codec and if you want the highest quality output there is the option for a wired connection.
The XBOOM 360 has up to 24 hours of battery life which is impressive and a big upgrade on its predecessor. According to LG, this has been measured at 50% volume with Sound Boost and the lights off. Even at higher volumes, with the ambient lighting on I got at least a day’s usage.
The XBOOM 360 has an stylish contemporary design and together with its 360° sound and ambient lighting, should fit very nicely into most homes.
It sounds good and the XBOOM app lets you customise both its audio and lighting to your tastes. I would have liked a USB output and I know some will miss a built in-microphone but these are minor points and overall if you’re after a omnidirectional speaker with a great design the XBOOM 360 should make your shortlist.
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LG XBOOM 360 XO3: https://amzn.to/3exyx98