German audio brand Loewe might not be as recognised in the UK as Bose and Philips, but their speaker products aimed at Apple products and smartphone market have both unique design and quality sound. To date they have delivered an AirPlay speaker in the Loewe Air Speaker and a speaker dock for the home market in the Loewe Soundbox. But with the new Loewe speaker 2go they are taking on the portable bluetooth speaker market, and doing a good job at it.
About the speaker
The portable bluetooth speaker market is very hot at the moment, as the technology allows not only Apple iOS devices to stream to the speaker, but also any other bluetooth enabled smartphones and devices, making the speakers more versatile. Loewe is entering a very competitive market with their Speaker 2go, taking on established and popular speakers, such as the Bose Soundlink, and newcomers such as the Philips Fidelio P9.
Design wise, the Loewe Speaker 2go is similar to its main competitors with its compact design. In fact, I was surprised that it was not bigger based on the specs inside the unit. For the outer shell they have used machined aluminum to give a higher end finish, and it works well. With the focus on quality components and build comes a bit of extra weight as well, weighing in at about 1.3kg.
Loewe has been able to cram in 3 drivers that combined deliver 40W of power output from a set up that includes dual combined midrange drivers/tweeters (2x10W) and a subwoofer (20W). A bass reflex tube is there to ensure enhanced bass performance. To avoid unnecessary vibrations, the rubber lines underneath the speaker helps, and the front one when pushed on, provides a slightly elevated front, giving the speaker a slightly better listening angle.
To ensure optimal streaming performance over bluetooth, speaker 2go uses the Apt-X codec, often favored when looking to bring a higher streaming quality over Bluetooth. Some of the more high-end smartphones in the market supports Apt-X streaming, and can so take advantage of the higher streaming quality, but you will still be able to stream over bluetooth from devices without Apt-X as well. For ease of use, Loewe have also added NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, making pairing your NFC enabled smartphone/tablet with the speaker as simple as a touch. Battery life is said to be around 8-hours (I got at least 8-hours when testing it), in line with other similar speakers in the market. Other features include USB port for connecting none bluetooth enabled devices (can also be used for charging), and a full speakerphone functionality for hands free call management.
Performance / review
Loewe is high-end, so their move down to a portable bluetooth speaker could be viewed as a risky one, but based on the performance and design of the Speaker 2Go, I would say that they have pulled off a great product.Yes, it is slightly on the pricy side, and the weight is more than your average portable wireless speaker. This is high-end portable audio, not throw-in-the-bag portable audio.
It excels in the sound department with a well balanced performance. There is enough bass to bring it to life, but without overpowering everything else. Having taken it through a mix of musical genres, it seems to tackle most challenges with poise. Occasionally I could have wished for a bit more mid-range strength, but that is just me being picky.
There is also plenty of power in the speaker, as most of the time I barely had to turn up much volume at all. When I did crank it up, it still maintained its poise, and did not crack even on some of the more bass-heavy tracks.
NFC makes connection very easy, not that it is complicated connecting through normal bluetooth either. The physical off switch at the back of the unit is also useful for when in transport to save battery life, as the buttons on the top could easily be pushed when carried in the included travel pouch.
There is not much negative to say about the Loewe Speaker 2Go, but when it comes to hands-free calling experience, I found the microphone to be tricky to work with. I had no issues hearing the caller loud and clear, but they had issues hearing me if I was not talking directly into the microphone from up close. Not that I tend to use wireless speakers for hands-free calling anyway, but it’s something that you would expect to be working better from a high-end product like this.