- Great battery life
- Warm, natural sound
- Solid build with rubberized base
- No NFC pairing
- No obvious battery indicator
In an age where our smarter phones are increasingly being outfitted with smart speakers that connect to music streaming services on their own, does the humble portable Bluetooth speaker still have a place? What if that speaker offered pretty great audio quality for hours at a time, no matter where life might take you? That's the promise being put forth by the LG Music Flow P5 Bluetooth speaker, an affordable solution for flowing music on the go.
Let the Music Flow P5 Through You
At its most basic level, the LG Music Flow P5 certainly isn't trying to reinvent the wheel. It's still a brick-shaped stereo Bluetooth speaker that you can use to connect to your smartphone or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. There's also the 3.5mm audio jack if you want to use it with something that doesn't have Bluetooth. No real surprises there.
Measuring about six inches long (don't make the obvious joke), 2.3 inches tall and 2.3 inches deep, the Music Flow P5 has a good amount of heft. It feels really solidly-built in the hands (don't make the obvious joke) with a rubberized base, both for stability and for sound dampening so you don't rattle the surface of wherever you place this unit. The stereo speakers have an output of 10 watts, which is about right for something this size.
All of the controls are located on top of the unit, giving the appearance of a click wheel. It's not touch sensitive and it does not spin. Instead, you get five buttons. The round power button resides in the middle, the volume up and down buttons are at the top and bottom, and the Bluetooth and play/pause buttons are on the left and right, respectively. Press the play/pause button twice quickly and it'll advance to the next track.
Unlike most other Bluetooth speakers that came before it, the Music Flow P5 doesn't feel the obligation to stay monogamous. It's a free-flowing spirit like that. This is because you can pair this Bluetooth speaker with two devices at the same time, but obviously only one audio source will be active at any given time.
If you decide to invest in two of these, you can take advantage of something called Dual Play. In effect, the two speakers can then operate as a stereo pair to create "even bigger stereo sound." You can also pair the speakers with your Bluetooth-compatible LG TV if you want, though I'm not convinced the audio quality would actually be that much better.
How's the Sound Quality?
Remember how I said this little 1.3 pound speaker had some heft to it? This really comes through when you listen to the audio it produces. Music is surprisingly natural and full-sounding, not the usual "tinny" sound profile you get with smaller speakers like this. It's not terribly loud, even at max volume, but it is decidedly natural and the well-rounded bass was a pleasant surprise.
No, it's not going to compete against something like a Sonos smart speaker, nor is it meant to. The idea here is that you can take this with you, to the beach, to your campsite, or anywhere else. And you'll get far better sound than any smartphone or tablet is able to produce.
Officially, the built-in rechargeable battery in the LG Music Flow P5 is rated at up to 15 hours of music playback on a full charge. In practice, I got about 11 hours in total, spread out over five sessions of between one to three hours each. Most of these were played at near max volume, paired to a single device. If you were to run the speaker continuously for one session and at a lower volume, the theoretical maximum sounds like it could be within reach.
One challenge I did encounter, though, is that the audio would cut out for a second or two every once in a while. There was no apparent problem with Wi-Fi on my phone for Google Play Music or Spotify, so there may be some weakness in the Bluetooth radio connection.
MEGATechie Rhythm Nation or MEGATechie Just Another Speaker?
The problem that you'll encounter with a lot of portable speakers is poor audio quality. They always end up sounding too shrill, too tinny. That's not the case here. The sound is surprisingly clean and natural and it gets loud enough for most of your basic purposes.
I would have liked the inclusion of NFC for ease of pairing and a more obvious battery indicator would have been much appreciated too. As it stands, this speaker works largely as advertised and is a good solution for a better music experience while on the go.
You can find the LG Music Flow P5 for as low as $59.95 online, though the other colors (white, lime and orange) tend to sell for a little more.