G-Project's G-Boom is pretty easy to sum up: While it may not necessarily be the most attractive-looking portable Bluetooth wireless speaker on the market, it is one of the best values, outputting big sound and big bass for $99.99.
At first glance, the speaker reminded me a little of an IED (improvised explosive device), complete with three LED lights on the front when powered on. However, thanks to the integrated carrying handle, more people will probably think it's some sort of modern riff on a lunchbox. Either way, the G-Boom, which has four drivers (two tweeters, two woofers) and dual bass ports on the back, has some heft to it, weighing in a 5.7 pounds, and is well suited to both indoor and outdoor use.
It seems pretty well built, with a rubberized bottom -- G-Project calls it a "protective elastomer base" -- that helps prevent the speaker from moving around on slicker surfaces. On top of the unit, there's a full set of playback buttons along with a button that allows you to toggle through a series of equalizer presets. (While you tend to control playback from your smartphone or tablet, many people like to have controls on the unit itself in case they set their devices aside, so this is a plus).
You can stream audio from your Bluetooth-enabled device from up to around 30 feet away. On back you'll find a line input for connecting non-Bluetooth audio devices (a 3.5mm cable is included for this purpose). Battery life is rated at 6 hours, which is OK but not great, and you charge the unit with an AC adapter rather than a USB cable (the speaker does not charge via Micro-USB like some smaller speakers do).
There's no built-in speakerphone (no integrated microphone), but the one nice extra is a USB port on the back that you can use to charge your smartphone.
The big story here is the amount of sound you get for the money. Typically, $100 Bluetooth speakers tend to be small (the JBL Flip and UE Mini Boom, for example) and thin on the bass. For $100, you'll be hard-pressed to find another Bluetooth speaker that delivers as much bass as the G-Boom, which goes deeper than the Oontz XL and also plays louder.
The one area where the speaker falls short on is clarity. You're just not going to get the more crisp, dynamic sound of higher-end speakers of this size (I'm thinking of something like the Sony SRS-BTX500). Also, you may experience some distortion at higher volumes with certain tracks. But for $100, it should exceed most people's expectations.
Conclusion The G-Boom is geared to a more youthful audience or anyone who wants a decent wireless speaker for an affordable price. From a design standpoint, it has its pluses and minuses -- some people will dig it and some people will think it's plain ugly.
I vacillated between those two viewpoints, but the more you think of this speaker as one you plan on moving around a lot instead of keeping stationary, the more appealing the design will be, particularly if you intend to bring it outdoors frequently.
I can't tell you how well it will hold up over time baking in the sun throughout the course of a summer, but it seems pretty well built and plays loud, with a good helping of bass. It's not often I make that statement about portable Bluetooth speakers, particularly ones that cost $100.