The LG UltraGear GP9 Gaming Speaker is a soundbar designed specifically for gamers. It offers multiple connectivity options, RGB lighting, a built-in microphone, and fits under your computer monitor. What's not to like? Well, the bass output could be better, and it is awkward to customise its settings. But more pertinently, the GP9 costs a whopping S$699. This is more than twice the price of PC soundbars from the likes of Creative and Razer.
- 2 Ch with 20W output
- Optical, USB-C, aux output, 3.5mm jack, and Bluetooth
- 5hr battery life
- 376 x 86 x 108mm, 1.5kg
With its shaved-off rear corners, the GP9 fits perfectly under monitors with V-shaped stands. I did have to raise my monitor slightly to accommodate the soundbar, which has a large volume dial sticking out at the top. But I do like how convenient (and large) the dial is. Pressing it toggles the microphone for voice chats. Another handy feature is the headset button — you can keep a headset plugged into the soundbar's 3.5mm jack and easily switch between it and the soundbar by pressing this button. This headset jack also supports DTS Headphone:X for virtual 7.1 surround in compatible games.
The GP9 has physical buttons to adjust the sound for FPS (first-person shooter) and RTS (real-time strategy) games as well as one to activate the equaliser. But for more customisation, you'll need the LG Xboom mobile app. This means connecting to the GP9 via Bluetooth using a smartphone, which feels like a clunky roundabout way of doing things. Updating the soundbar's firmware, tweaking the equaliser, and selecting the colour of the RGB lighting are all done in the app. The app is very responsive with barely any latency. However, the RGB lighting options feel slightly undercooked for a gaming soundbar. You can select the colour and adjust the brightness, but there are no RGB effects. The soundbar itself is fairly chunky at 1.5kg. I don't see anyone bringing it to a BBQ despite its 5hr-rated battery life.
Sound quality is a hit-and-miss — great for gaming, but average at best for everything else. While I could feel the vibrations of the soundbar through my desk, the bass seemed strangely absent, especially at lower volumes. While it improved when I upped the volume, the bass became boomy and messy. The soundbar can get rather loud and the trebles were distinct enough. But overall, it was just not what you'd expect for the price tag. The GP9, though, shines when it comes to gaming audio. Every pop, crackle, and footsteps sounded clear and detailed. I could make out my team mates voices even in the heat of the fight. LG's proprietary 3D Gaming Sound tech does a decent job at widening the soundscape to my left and my right, but the soundbar can't really replicate rear speakers.
The LG UltraGear GP9 Gaming Speaker has an impressive list of features, many of which cater to its intended gaming audience. But the firm seems to have prioritised the gaming features over the audio. Perhaps its relatively compact size and portable battery feature limited its audio output. Gamers will probably appreciate the RGB lighting, built-in microphone and good game audio effects. But at S$699 (on Lazada and Shopee), the GP9 costs much more than competitors that offer similar, if not better sound.
Note: Review unit provided by LG.
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