LG UltraGear GP9 review: Headphone-free chat, bad sound

Amplifiers Generally something you associate with home theater. It offers most of the benefits of an elaborate audio system, but in a more convenient package. It’s a concept that seems to be a good fit for a desktop gaming device, but few companies have tried. It’s LG’s most ambitious attempt yet, but if that’s an indication of where the market is, there’s a long way to go.

The UltraGear GP9 from LG is a small 20W speaker, just under 15 inches wide. It has 20mm woofers and 2″ woofers. It also includes a 2600 mAh battery, allowing it to act as a portable bluetooth speaker. Notably, it includes a built-in microphone for chatting with fellow gamers, which may be the most well-executed and amazing feature found here.

Everything but the kitchen sink

On paper, the LG UltraGear GP9 sounds like the perfect amplifier. It can be connected to your computer with either a USB-C or an optical audio cable, and switching inputs is as easy as pressing a button at the top. Next to these buttons, you’ll find a huge volume switch that controls the internal volume of the speaker, with a large mute button in the middle. This means that even if you can’t find the app that’s making noise, you can lower the volume real fast.

This is especially useful when the GP9 is being used as a Bluetooth speaker, and it’s one of its finest tricks. Since it has a built-in battery, it can be detached from the wall. I am very pleased to know that the sound system I use for my desktop can easily take me to the beach or, more likely, if I’m honest, downstairs at night for board games. I usually need a completely separate device, which is a big factor when considering the price. Sure, $500 would be a lot for desktop speakers, but what about desktop speakers And Portable bluetooth speaker? Well, that’s still a lot. But the value is close to reasonable.

On top of that, GP9 pulls another trick out of its hat: it can also be used for group chats. how in Globalism Can you manage that, you ask? Pure magic is my best guess. The microphones are located inside the same loudspeaker that broadcasts sound to your face. This is usually a recipe for feedback, echo, and noise. However, smart echo and noise cancellation are able to distinguish your voice from the sound that the speaker itself is outputting.

I gave it a try and my teammates told me it sounded clear, with no major audio issues, which sounds like a miracle. Being able to chat with your team while listening to the audio of the game, all without a single piece of hardware in your head, is the kind of futuristic feature that usually sells the whole machine on its own.

But unfortunately, at this point, the reality of UltraGear GP9 performance is down to earth. So many great ideas like these little speaker packs in one package, it has one job to do over all the others. This is where the problems started.

Compete with the past

Photo: LG

Nearly two decades ago, I walked into the Micro Center and dropped nearly $100 on a Logitech 5.1 surround sound desktop speaker system. It wasn’t the best option, even at the time, but it came with five speakers with some really long RCA cables and a reasonably big bass everything plugged into it. I’ve long since given up using rear speakers, and haven’t tried to update or even marginally improve this system since I first bought it.

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