Many of you may have never heard of G-Project, but you definitely should. G-Project makes speakers, many of which are of the Bluetooth variety, but with some big twists. They’re made to be rugged, loud and low-cost. But being low-cost has never stopped the speakers from sounding good. This review will be on the G-POP, one of two tiny and super portable speakers in G-Project’s lineup.
Battery life: 8 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5mm using proprietary cable
Charging port: Micro USB
Dimensions: 3.2” x 2.7” x 2.9” (WDH)
What’s in the box: G-POP, combination charger/line in cable
At less than three and a half inches tall, this speaker is truly tiny. It’s round with a body covered in ridges and made almost completely out of plastic. It also weighs under 8 ounces. It’s definitely an interesting design, but it makes it really easy to handle.
On the top is where all the action is. You see the single speaker exposed to the elements, only covered by two transparent strips of plastic. Nothing big is getting in there, though smaller particles might.
The front has a rubber strip going down it, hosting most of the controls. The top features the classic three LEDs that grace all G-Project devices. The white LED shows that the speaker is on, the red center LED shows when the battery is dying or charging, and the last blue LED shows Bluetooth status. The first time you turn on the speaker, the LEDs make their purpose obvious.
Below that is the multifunction button, which plays and pauses music. It also doubles as a call answer button, because this little guy is also a speakerphone. Under that are volume up and down buttons. These buttons have to be held to change volume significantly, as pressing them does almost nothing. This speaker has a huge number of volume levels. Luckily, holding down a button changes volume fast. And at the bottom, there is a charging port under a flap to prevent dirt getting in there. This also doubles as an auxiliary port, so the cable that came with this speaker will be needed to use devices without Bluetooth.
On the other side you’ll find a small flip out metal loop, along with the G-Project logo. This loop is for attaching
the speaker wherever you want, like your backpack or belt loop using a carabiner. The rest of the sides are completely unadorned.
On the rubberized bottom you’ll find the last two controls. The switch has three positions: Off, AUX and Bluetooth. This is how you select the input method. Then there is a pair button, which I truly believe every device needs. Many devices are so cumbersome to pair with your device, but a pair button makes it extremely easy.
Plastic instantly brings a grimace to the faces of many, but it shouldn’t be that way. Plastic can often be better than other materials. Aluminum is a soft metal–it scratches and dents easily. Oftentimes, plastic is the way to go. Since G-Project makes rugged devices, the plastics the company uses are top notch.
The G-POP feels incredibly solid. It doesn’t creak or even budge when squeezed. It feels like the sides are made of very thick plastic. The only part that bends is the speaker grill, or what are basically two strips of plastic over the speaker itself. If I were to drop the G-POP, I’m extremely confident that it would survive the fall with no damage. And having treated G-Project devices roughly in the past, I’m sure it’s up to the task of handling the outdoors.
So it’s a tiny, $40 speaker. A good chunk of cash went into making the body very solid. So what’s left for audio? The curse of tiny speakers is often terrible sound quality, and despite expecting a lot from G-Project in general, I didn’t have very high expectations for this little guy. Boy was I wrong.
After connecting the speaker to my Galaxy Note 3, which took surprisingly little time, I fired up a random song. The speaker started playing at a volume louder than I expected this speaker to produce at all, and there was very little distortion. I was shocked. This speaker is seriously loud for its size, and pretty dang loud in general. It won’t be filling up an entire room with sound, but it packs a punch. And surprisingly, the audio quality is really good, all things considered.
At medium volume, there is a very good amount of detail produced by the solitary speaker. It also offers some impressive bass for such a tiny package. I’m used to hearing tinny, bass-less music from speakers bigger than this, and this actually produces some bass.
Of course, at full volume, you’ll get distortion. During electronic, rap, or other such music, there is not much distortion at all. If you plan to listen to orchestral power metal or other complicated types of music, you’ll start to hear more distortion as the speaker starts struggling to produce the large amount of instruments. Turn it down a bit, and you get clear sound once again at a very respectable volume.
Seriously, you should give one of these little speakers a try. I think it will surprise you with its sound quality. The fact that G-Project fit such a high quality speaker into such a small package, and at only $40, shocks me.
The battery life is rated at 8 hours, and so far, I have no reason to doubt that claim. I charged it up almost a week ago now, and it hasn’t died after significant use at loud volumes. Most speakers have a 6 hour battery life, so it’s nice to see speakers trying to improve on that. And considering the weight, it’s even more impressive!
The G-POP features something only more expensive speakers have: speakerphone capabilities. This feature is sadly absent from many speakers I see, though I’m very happy it’s included here. However, it’s not perfect.
When calling someone, the audio is great on my end. The microphone seems to be good too. People have reported the audio to be crystal clear while I talked through the speaker, but you might want to keep the microphone facing you (the side with the metal loop).
The line in feature allows you to plug in devices lacking Bluetooth, but you can’t just use a standard 3.5mm cable. The included multifunction cable has a micro USB plug on one end to go into the speaker, and both a full size USB and a 3.5mm jack on the other. This is used for either charging the speaker, or playing music using line-in. It’s unfortunate that you have to keep this cable around and can’t use a standard 3.5mm cable.
The G-Project G-POP is definitely a surprising speaker. It’s also fantastic by my books, pumping out some serious sound in a tiny and cheap package. It comes in black, silver and a nice metallic aqua.
If you want an even cheaper option, G-Project sells the G-ZIP for only $20. It features the same speaker, but drops the Bluetooth altogether. That speaker has a retractable 3.5mm cable as the only input option, which also means a lack of music control and speakerphone capability. But for $20, that’s an insane deal.
If you want to purchase one for yourself or as a gift for a friend, you can find the devices on Amazon, Target and online on the G-Project website. If you need a companion for the great outdoors, or just a nice and small speaker to rock out, this is the one for you.