The PC speaker market has been rather neglected in recent years, so we were quite excited when we saw LG has decided to enter the market with a high-end gaming soundbar. Originally priced at a whopping £500, it’s currently discounted on Amazon at a more palatable price of £330.
Featuring a quad-driver design with two passive woofers on its rear, the GP9 includes a USB Type-C input for your PC and Bluetooth for your phone, laptop or tablet. It also boasts DTS virtual surround sound support, a headset output and a microphone, allowing you to use the speaker for calls and in-game chat. The big news, though, is that it’s a portable Bluetooth speaker as well. Its 2600mAh (7.2V) internal battery will provide up to five hours of music playback on the go.
It’s quite the feature list and, given its high price, you might expect it to be a hefty unit akin to a TV soundbar. However, it measures just 376 x 86 x 108mm, although it’s reassuringly dense and weighs 1.5kg. It’s also sturdily built, with thick and stiff plastic used for its frame, and it’s finished in a rough texture that adds further to the rugged vibe.
It has that cliched angular gamer-aesthetic styling, with LG’s gaming logo glowing in the centre and RGB lighting shining between the front speaker grilles. The styling isn’t to our liking, but you can switch off the lights or change to a muted colour at least.
The setup process is plug-and-play for PC use. However, to change any of the speaker’s settings you’ll need to connect the free LG XBoom mobile app via Bluetooth. This provides options for adjusting the lighting and EQ, tweaking input and aux out gain, auto power-off management and an option to turn off UAC 2, so the speaker works properly with the Sony PS4 and PS5.
Along the top are buttons for power, input, headset on/off, FPS virtual surround mode, RTS surround mode and a user EQ setting. In the centre is a large volume knob, with a button that mutes the microphone when connected to a PC, or brings up your virtual assistant when connected via Bluetooth to a phone. Around the back are the ports, all of which except the headset jack are covered by a large dust flap that just hangs open when the speaker is plugged in.
For all its promise, though, sound from this speaker was disappointing. There’s plenty of volume for PC listening but there’s a distinct lack of bass power, making for a forced and messy delivery once any bass kicks in. More delicate sound is handled with a decent amount of clarity, but it’s outclassed by basic sub-£100 PC speakers.
Meanwhile, the virtual surround modes do fill out the soundscape a little, but it’s not enough of an upgrade to make much difference for gaming. You’ll still want to reach for a headset to get meaningful sound cues in games. It works great for watching movies on your PC though.
LG UltraGear GP9 pros and cons
- Versatile portable design
- Easy setup
- Doubles as a microphone
- Cheesy gamer styling
- Severely lacks bass
- Surround modes can’t compete with a headset
LG UltraGear GP9 specs
- Weight: 1.5kg
- Dimensions (mm): 376 x 108 x 86 (W x D x H)
- Speaker config: 2 x 2in woofers, 2 x 20mm tweeters, 2 x bass radiators
- Buttons: Power, input, headset, volume, mute, FPS mode, RTS mode, EQ
- Connections: Mains power, USB Type-C input, optical audio input, auxiliary out, combi headset jack
- Stated battery life: Five hours
- Extras: RGB lighting
LG UltraGear GP9 price
Price: Expect to pay $475 USD / £330 GBP
We like what LG has attempted with the GP9, creating a crossover device that can boost your PC’s audio while also giving you a portable Bluetooth speaker. However, its audio quality isn’t a patch on conventional PC speakers for a fraction of its price. The GP9 just about gets away with its current £330 price on Amazon, thanks to all its extra features, but we’d steer well clear of it at £500.
LG UltraGear GP9 rating
An intriguing, versatile design let down by audio quality that’s well below what you would expect for its asking price.