Harman Kardon Go + Play Micro review: Harman Kardon Go + Play Micro

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Go + Play Micro's stunning design, iPhone compatibility, video output, and a remote control add up to one classy boom box.

The Bad No built-in radio, underpowered speakers, and a high price hold the Go + Play Micro back from greatness.

The Bottom Line Harman Kardon resurrects its premium boom box, but skimps on some of the features and sonic details that made the original so exceptional.

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A great boom box is more than a just a way to hear music, it's a declaration. It's a way to tell the world to put down those anemic-sounding speakerphones and the cute fold-flat iPod docks, and make room for a portable sound system with substance.

Making its debut in 2006, Harman Kardon's Go + Play transformed its user into an instant public nuisance. With its head-turning design and 120 watts of menacing power, it was a feast for both the eyes and ears. Unfortunately, the iPhone, iPod Touch, and subsequent generations of the iPod broke compatibility with the original Go + Play, or simply wouldn't fit in the dock. The titan of iPod boom boxes eventually phased out.

Reborn as the Go + Play Micro, Harman Kardon is putting a new spin on its iconic premium portable speaker system. But don't let the word "micro" fool you; the size of the boom box is nearly identical to its predecessor, losing only a half-inch in depth and 1.5 inches in width. There's also nothing small about the $399 retail price.

The sad truth is, the only things that have shrunk in the Go + Play Micro are the sound quality and the features. Some changes have been made for the better, and overall the Go + Play Micro still succeeds as a top-tier portable audio solution. Still, we couldn't help reminiscing over the Go + Play's former glory.

Design
Like its predecessor, the Go + Play Micro has an unmistakable alien beauty coupled with a durable construction. The bulk of the system is housed in matte-black plastic, with brushed aluminum accents for the speaker grilles, buttons, and feet.

The most striking aspect of the design is the metal handle that arcs over the full length of the boom box. Not only is the handle aesthetically beautiful, but its inch-thick diameter is easy on your hands. Considering the Go + Play weighs in at around 8 pounds, a comfortable grip really helps.

One of the few gripes we had over the design of the original Go + Play was the horizontal iPod dock, which effectively blocked you from seeing the screen. The Micro solves the prior design problem by placing the dock at a forward slant, keeping your iPod or iPhone screen in full view while still keeping your device relatively secure. An adjustable screw within the dock helps to ensure a snug fit for whatever model of iPod or iPhone you're using. The downside to all this snugness is that the side walls of the Go + Play Micro can't accommodate the extra thickness added by iPhone or iPod cases (with the exception of the iPod Nano). If the thought of taking the case off your iPhone gives you a panic attack, then this isn't the speaker for you.

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Where to Buy

Harman Kardon Go + Play Micro

Part Number: HKGOPLAYMICRO

Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color black
  • Speaker System Type portable speakers with digital player dock
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 60 Watt
  • Nominal Impedance 10 Ohm
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Type Audio Dock
About The Author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.