It would be safe to call ourselves workaholics as we spend most of our time in office, bringing you all the updates from the Motoring and Gizmo world. Then again, when you have a job that lets you try and test so many interesting things (and get paid for it), you’d probably want to stay in the office for most of the week. Immersing us in music while we were pinned to our chairs tapping the keyboard for the last couple of weeks was the new Harman Kardon Go + Play speaker that arrived at Gizmoids’ office. We also had a couple of really funky cars (courtesy: Motoroids) and so we decided to head out with the team for a weekend drive to the pristine beaches of Dapoli with the Harman Kardon Go + Play and boy, did we have a great time.

What is Harman Kardon Go + Play?

Visually, the Harman Kardon Go + Play is an exceptional, premium looking speaker which is very simple yet beautiful. In terms of design, the Go + Play outruns its competitors by a huge margin and we could not think of any other product that we’d pick up over the Harman Kardon. The curved top is further complemented by the stainless steel handle which also comes handy to carry the speaker around.

Inside the box

  • 1x Harman Kardon Go + Play
  • 1x Power adaptor
  • 1x Quick start guide
  • 1x Safety sheet
  • 1x Warranty card

The speaker, save for the handle and the Harman Kardon tag upfront, is mainly black. On the top are all the controls (backlit beautifully in white) – which include power button, Bluetooth search button, volume buttons (not backlit) and play/pause button that also doubles up as the forward key. The play/pause button also acts as the answer key for incoming calls. The top of the speaker also houses five LED lights, which act as battery indicators. The rear holds the USB port, a micro-USB service port, a 3.5mm jack and the charging dock. All these ports are smartly hidden under a black rubber cover.

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Dimensionally, it isn’t the most compact of the devices in the market and it does tip the scale slightly on the heavier side at about 3.2kg. But you don’t have to hit the gym five days a week to carry this around – trust us, the only heavy lifting we do is a carton of Bud pints (or that of bigger bottles if we feel adventurous) over the weekend. The weight is primarily added because of the relatively powerful hardware the Go + Plus packs.

The speaker comes equipped with two 90mm woofers and two 20mm tweeters. Then there is that 22.2Wh rechargeable battery which takes three hours to charge and is claimed to be sufficient for eight hours of playback. The speaker can charge your smartphones/tablets too but that would marginally affect the playback time. The eight hour playback time also depends on the sound levels and, on full volume, we saw the battery lights going down in a relatively quicker time. That being said, the battery did perform well and lasted long at around 50% output.

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The Go + Play is remarkably well built and simple to use. The quality is top notch, even better than some of the bigger names in the speaker segment such as Bose or Marshall. We absolutely love it and some of us are now missing the unit terribly ever since it went back.

How does the Harman Kardon Go + Play perform?

We used the Harman Kardon Go + Play both indoors and outdoors and were pretty impressed with its performance. It may not suffice for a loud dance party on the beach, but it would be more than sufficient to have you gently swaying to the tunes even outdoors. The portable speaker, however, is more than sufficient to get your friends shaking a leg in one of those impromptu house parties. Outdoors, at full volume, it’s fairly audible even at a distance of 50-70 feet, even with ambient noise (that of waves on the beach in our case) which is more than sufficient for most occasions. Press the power button and you are welcomed by a deep, bassy beat which pretty much paints the canvas about what to expect.

Press the Bluetooth button on the top to make the device visible and just select HK GO + PLAY from the list on your device. Just that, and you can play almost anything from your device. It’s simple as that. Moreover, the Go + Play can connect to three devices at the same time so you can take turns playing music. It can also wirelessly connect to two Harman Kardon Wireless Dual Sound enabled speakers for enhanced output, though we never had the units to have an opinion on them. Don’t want to use Bluetooth? Just plug an Aux cable and start playing your favorite melodies.

The speaker comes equipped with 90mm dual woofers which serve out an absolute treat for bass lovers. From Nucleya to Infected Mushroom to Pink Floyd, there is absolutely nothing that the Go + Play cannot handle. The sound output is loud and while it may not break any glasses, it would definitely rock your desk, or even your living room at full chat. To nitpick, it’s a little bass heavy if you ask us, though we’d still have it that way. The tweeters, on the other hand, handle the business just about perfectly. The speaker also comes equipped with dual microphone conferencing system which works pretty well. At Gizmoids’ office, the output level was mostly around 50% and that’s where the battery performance impressed us.

The battery, as aforementioned, is claimed to last for eight long hours but during our sting with the system at the beach, the Go + Play was losing battery faster than we had anticipated and we had to charge it again before round two during barbeque. It still managed to last for about five hours at full volume though. Charging does take a while and you’d have to wait for around three hours until the Go + Play juices up.

Verdict

As the sun inched closer to the horizon, Team Gizmoids, after a refreshing dip into the sea, sat around this nifty source of aural delight that dished out melodies in a remarkably crisp manner. The Harman Kardon Go + Play is probably the only thing that you’ll need to handle your entertainment tasks on the auditory side the next time you plan a small party. The design looks svelte and once turned on, the system will sweep you off your feet with its unusually solid bass and fantastic performance.

The pricing, at INR 25K, isn’t exactly a steal in absolute terms. But we suggest you visit a Bose store, compare the output and performance of the products on offer with this one, and suddenly you’d realize the terrific value the Go + Play embodies. For the kind of performance it delivers for the price, the kind of timeless design it features and the sort of fuss-free simplicity it has on offer – the Go + Play frankly doesn’t have a direct competition. There’s the Bose Soundlink 2 and Marshall Acton which retail couple of grand cheaper but none can hold a candle to the Go + Play, visually or in terms of performance.

If you are looking for a potent portable speaker, we strongly recommend you check this one out – you’d be blown!

Check out the complete technical specifications of the Harman Kardon Go + Play below:

General Specifications
Support A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6, HFP 1.6
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 80dB A-weighted
Bluetooth transmitter power 0 to 9dBm
Bluetooth transmitter frequency range 2402MHz to 2480MHz
Battery charge time 3 hours
Battery type 22.2Wh rechargeable battery
Bluetooth version 4.1
Transducer size (mm) 2x woofers (90mm), 2x tweeters (20mm)
Power supply 19V 3A
USB charge out 5V/2.1A (5V/0.5A when playing music)
Weight (g) 3433 gms
Frequency Response 50Hz-20kHz (-6dB)
Rated power 4x25W (AC mode)
Bluetooth transmitted modulation GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
Music playing time up to 8 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
Audio Specifications
Frequency Response 50Hz-20kHz (-6dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 80dB A-weighted
Speaker Specifications
Transducers 2x woofers (90mm), 2x tweeters (20mm)
Dimensions
Height 211.5mm
Width 417.5mm
Depth 181.5mm
Weight 3433 gms
Control and Connection Specifications
Bluetooth Version 4.1
Support A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6, HFP 1.6
Bluetooth® Transmitter Frequency Range 2402MHz to 2480MHz
Bluetooth® Transmitter Power 0 to 9dBm
Bluetooth® Transmitter Modulation GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK