Loewe is known for making high-end kit that isn’t exactly concerned with budget. Expensive tellies, pricey speakers – chances are you won't be plumping for Loewe unless you’ve got some serious cash to spend. A thrifty Loewe fan is about as rare as an invite to a pimps 'n' ice cream party.
Not so with the Speaker 2go Bluetooth speaker. At S$599 it really is the cheapest way to buy a piece of premium portable sound.
Solid as a rock
You only need to pick up the Speaker 2go to know it’s from good stock. Its aluminium build makes it feel solid and reassuringly weighty, but not so much that it’s a bother for any but the weediest of arms to carry around. It’s a minimalist design, but a striking one - all clean lines and a nicely machined grille, with just a smattering of buttons and an NFC tag along the top for easy pairing.
Ports around the back include an aux-in for hardwiring devices and a USB input, though this is for charging your phone or tablet rather than playing music from it. It’s still a useful feature to include on a portable speaker, although it obviously has an impact on the otherwise eight-hour battery life.
Loewe has done away with the AirPlay found in its pricier AirSpeaker and opted purely for Bluetooth instead – a clever choice since the Speaker 2go is more likely to be used away from home, when Wi-Fi might be hard to come by.
The Bluetooth onboard is of the aptX variety, so compatible phones, tablets and computers are able to wirelessly send tunes to it in close to CD quality, and you can connect up to five devices at once. We found it to be stable in playback, easy to connect and the NFC pairing is a nice touch for those with devices that play nice with it.
Look, no hands
It’s not all about music, though; the Speaker 2go also doubles up as a speakerphone so you’re able to take hands-free calls. It offers echo-cancellation for improved clarity, and a voice-optimised microphone that sits along the top.
From our experience, it’ll do for the odd call that interrupts your music, but we wouldn’t go out of our way to use it – it sounds a little on the muffled side on anything less than a perfect line, and unless you're close to the speaker, your mum won't be able to hear what you're saying no matter how loudly you bawl at her. Still, it's no deal-breaker.
The power of Loewe
Play some music and you get quite a performance out of this little box. There’s 40W of power to be had from two full-range drivers and a sub, and it’s not shy about showing it off - you can crank it up pretty loud without risking distortion.
Bass is rich and articulate, and goes impressively deep considering the wee size of the device - it never sounds boomy or out of control, either. In fact, it’s a really well balanced listen – something of a rarity in this field – and the deep bass slots in nicely with a clear, energetic mid-range and detailed treble.
That said, the Speaker's 2go's sound gets close to Bluetooth speaker perfection but falls just short. It does lack the spaciousness and articulation of the very best of its rivals meaning more complicated tracks lack a touch of clarity, and are at risk of sounding a little dynamically squashed and disorganised – especially at louder volumes.
The Speaker 2go has a hidden trick up its sleeve to help it project its sound further. To see it, press the top of the speaker downwards and you’ll reveal an integrated pop-up rubber stand that appears from the bottom.
This tilts the device up by exactly 7.5°, which Loewe says helps to disperse the music around larger rooms. It doesn’t look much, but it does actually make a difference, and helps your music sound more direct.
Loewe has done a grand job of pouring all the premium quality and attention to detail of its larger, pricier products into the Speaker 2go. It looks the part, feels well made and is quite the looker to pull out of your bag on your next camping trip, festival or BBQ.
It manages to dodge any tubbiness in the bass and steers clear of brightness in the treble to make for a well-judged, well-rounded listen – not something wireless speakers are often that good at.
Its speakerphone feature may well be best avoided, and it doesn’t quite have the same dynamic punch, clarity and subtlety of rivals such as the Philips Fidelio P9 or Ultimate Ears Boom, but it’s a thoroughly likeable, listenable sound, and at S$599 that makes it a pretty tasty buy.