LG UltraGear GP9 Review: Headset-free game chat, bad sound

Soundbar Usually something you want to associate with a home theater. They offer most of the benefits of a wide range of sound systems, but in much more convenient packages. It’s an idea that looks like it would lend itself well to a desktop gaming rig, but a few companies have tried. LG’s efforts are still the most ambitious, but if it’s an indication of market position, it has a long way to go.

LG’s UltraGear GP9 is a 20-watt mini soundbar, spanning just 15 inches. It packs two 20-mm twins and two 2-inch uppers. It also has a 2,600-mAh battery, allowing it to act as a portable Bluetooth speaker. Most notably, it includes a built-in microphone for chatting with teammates in the game, which may be the most strikingly well-implemented feature present here.

Everything except the kitchen sink

On paper, the LG UltraGia GP9 looks like the perfect soundbar. It can plug into your computer via USB-C or an optical audio cable, and switching inputs is as easy as pressing a button at the top. Right next to these buttons, you’ll find a huge volume knob that controls the speaker’s internal volume, with a large mute button in the middle. This means that even if you can’t figure out which app is making the sound, you can quickly reduce the sound.

This is especially useful when the GP9 is being used as a Bluetooth speaker, which is one of its most beautiful techniques. Since it has a built-in battery, it can be unplugged from the wall. The sound system I’m using for my desktop can easily go to the beach with me or, perhaps, if I’m honest, it’s powerfully free to go downstairs for a board game night. I would usually need a completely different device and this is a huge factor when considering the price. Of course, $ 500 would be a lot more for a desktop speaker, but what about a desktop speaker And A portable Bluetooth speaker? Okay, that’s still a lot. But the values ​​are getting closer to reasonable.

On top of that, the GP9 pulls out another trick from its hat: it can also be used for team chats. In how The world What can it handle, you ask? Pure magic is my best guess. The microphones are inside the same soundbar that is blasting audio in your face. This is usually a recipe for reactions, echoes and noise. Yet intelligent echo and noise cancellation are able to separate your voice from the audio that the soundbar itself is producing.

I tried it and was told by teammates that I could hear clearly, without any major audio problems, which didn’t seem like a miracle. Being able to chat with your team while listening to game audio, without a piece of hardware in your head, is a future feature that usually sells a device itself.

But unfortunately, it is at this point that the reality of the functionality of the UltraGear GP9 returns to Earth. There are so many great ideas for packing this little soundbar into a single package, it has a work on everything else. From there the problem started.

Competing with the past

Photo: LG

About two decades ago, I went to a micro center and dropped just $ 100 on a 5.1 surround sound logitech desktop speaker system. Even at the time it wasn’t a top-end option, but it did come with five speakers with some real, really long RCA cable and a reasonably heavy bass that plugs into everything. I’ve stopped using the rear speaker for a long time, and I haven’t made any attempt to update or even slightly improve this system since I first bought it.

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