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LG XBOOM 360 XO3 review: Stylish, 360-degree sound

Our Rating :
£239.00 from
Price when reviewed : £300
inc VAT

The LG XBOOM 360 XO3 delivers impressive 360-degree sound, but it’s not quite a total success


  • Arresting design
  • Room-filling sound
  • Atmospheric lighting options


  • No mic or power bank capabilities
  • Could be louder
  • Ineffective EQ customisation

Save £100 on this top-notch Bluetooth speaker

The LG XBOOM 360 XO3 combines style with sonic substance and is currently available for just £200. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it going for that kind of money – LG was running a similar deal at the time we reviewed it – but this offer expires on Tuesday, 19 September, so you don’t have long to pick it up at a hefty discount.

LG Was £300 Now £200 View deal

LG’s family of portable Bluetooth speakers has expanded rapidly in recent years, but the XBOOM 360 XO3 is the most unusual addition to the range yet.

Equipped with a three-way speaker arrangement and soundwave reflector, it delivers impressive 360-degree sound while offering mood lighting options for every occasion.

It doesn’t go as loud as you might want, nor can it double up as a speakerphone or power bank, but its omnidirectional sound, eye-catching light show and water-resistant design lend it an elegant and unconventional appeal.

LG XBOOM 360 XO3 review: What do you get for the money?

The XBOOM 360 XO3 has a list price of £299 but has been selling for significantly less at various retailers. At the time of writing, it was available for £200 direct from LG.

The design is unique. Wrapped in a fetching two-tone fabric, the distinctive, vase-shaped silhouette doesn’t resemble your average Bluetooth speaker. The sound reflector on the top of the speaker bounces both sound and light around the room, and the RGB LEDs hidden inside can be configured to produce everything from a gentle ambient glow to a flashing multicoloured riot.

Despite the unconventional design, the XBOOM 360 X03 is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The IP54-rated design is protected against dust (but isn’t dust-tight) and capable of withstanding water splashes from any direction, so it’s an attractive option for summer days in the park and garden parties.

It is a fairly big speaker, measuring 165 x 165 x 327mm (WDH) and weighing a hefty 3.2kg, but it’s still portable. The XO3 comes with a fabric carrying strap that can be attached to a bar hidden under a bung on the rear of the speaker. Those wanting something truly ultraportable should check out the XBOOM Go line instead, which includes the Go XG7 and Go PL7.

Bluetooth connectivity comes courtesy of version 5.1 and there’s support for the SBC and AAC codecs along with Bluetooth multipoint, allowing you to remain connected to two sources simultaneously. There are 3.5mm and USB-C charging ports under a second rubber bung near the power button at the base of the speaker, too. Battery life is stated at up to 24 hours at 50% volume with mood lighting and EQ options turned off.

The XBOOM 360 XO3 is one of two XBOOM speakers capable of 360-degree sound. The other XBOOM 360 speaker – the RP4 – is larger (248 x 248 x 514mm), heavier (5.8kg), and has a carrying handle built into its top panel.

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LG XBOOM 360 XO3 review: What do we like about it?

The 360 XO3’s design is a hit. The reflector looks great and, crucially, delivers on the promise of delivering room-filling sound. I had doubts about how effective the glass reflector would be in creating 360-degree sound but, wherever I sat or stood, the LG provided consistent audio quality.

The overall audio experience was impressive. My colleague Matt Reed criticised the XO3’s stablemate the Go XG7 for a lack of mid-range clarity, but that wasn’t evident here. The 2in mid-range driver dishes out plenty of detail, with the vocals on Alison Goldfrapp and Claptone’s “Digging Deeper” sounding clear and well articulated. That driver is ably assisted by the up-firing tweeter, which produced ample amounts of crisp, controlled treble frequencies.

Bass in the Standard EQ mode was too restrained for my liking, but engaging the Sound Boost mode resulted in a far more satisfying low-end. The bassline on Alex Reece’s “Pulp Fiction” is always a good test of a speaker’s low-end credentials and with Sound Boost on, the X03 served up enough depth and weight to keep the minimal track bouncing along nicely. Sound Boost should definitely be your go-to mode for parties and gatherings as it boosts the overall volume while adding some necessary low-end oomph.

The reflector that facilitates the XO3’s 360-degree sound also delivers some rather fetching mood lighting in the same radius. It’s not the brightest LED lighting you’ll see on a speaker, so don’t expect it to completely illuminate a dark room, but it’s suitably atmospheric and highly customisable via the LG XBOOM mobile app.

There are three main modes: Party, Ambient and Nature. The lights dance along with music and cycle rapidly through three colours when Party mode is engaged, a single colour shines continually in Ambient mode, while Nature mode sees two colours breathing slowly. Each mode features three preset colour schemes to choose from or you can pick your own colour combination from an RGB wheel. Brightness levels for Party and Ambient modes can be adjusted individually within the app but Nature mode has its luminance fixed.

Other options include “Party Strobe”, which causes your phone’s torch to flash in time with music when in Party mode, and Ambient mode’s “Candle Effect”, which flickers like, you guessed it, a candle. Given the options at your fingertips, it’s easy to create lighting setups that work for different circumstances. Alternatively, you can turn the lighting off entirely and extend the XO3’s battery life.

A second battery-conserving method – “auto power management” – can be found in the XBOOM app and turns the speaker off after a certain period of inactivity. It’s one of a handful of useful options found in the app alongside “auto power-on” and the Sleep Timer. The former powers up the speaker automatically if it’s plugged into the mains and an external device tries to connect to it, while the latter lets you use the speaker as a night light that will switch itself off after a set period of time.

There are also “Wireless Party Link” features you’ll only be able to take advantage of if you own two XO3s, other compatible LG speakers or an LG TV released after 2020. “Dual mode” enables stereo audio playback across a pair of XO3s and can be used in conjunction with newer LG televisions, while “Multi Mode” allows you to connect to multiple XG9, XG7 and XG5 speakers to produce a much bigger sound. As I was only sent one XO3 I was unable to test any of this functionality but it’s all nice to have if you’re invested in the LG ecosystem.

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LG XBOOM 360 XO3 review: What could be improved?

While the X03 disperses sound evenly around a room very effectively, it doesn’t go particularly loud, even with Sound Boost engaged. This isn’t an issue for general listening, but if you’re planning on throwing a bashment, you’ll need something with a lot more muscle – or at least be advised to pair the XO3 with other LG XG speakers to boost the total output.

The custom EQ option also needs to be looked at. Here I have to echo the sentiments in our LG XG7 review. First, engaging the custom EQ reduces the already underwhelming maximum volume even further. Second, changes made on the six-band graphic equaliser have a negligible effect on the overall sound. Fortunately, the XO3’s two other EQs are good enough to carry the speaker, but EQ customisation feels redundant as it stands.

I’d also like to have seen LG incorporate a proximity sensor for the lights on the touch controls found on top of the speaker. The individual buttons for pairing, cycling through the lighting modes, play/pause, volume up and volume down illuminate when touched, but working out which is which in a darkened room is rather tricky. If they lit up as your hand got closer, manual control of the speaker in low-light environments would be far easier.

Finally, the LG XO3 could be improved by adding an internal microphone and USB-A port capable of charging other devices. The absence of a mic may be due to the speaker’s unique construction, but if it had one, you’d be able to use the XO3 for making and taking calls as well as talking to your phone’s voice assistant. The benefit of power bank capabilities is obvious and it’s not an uncommon inclusion on portable speakers costing quite a bit less than the XO3, so its absence here is a little disappointing.

LG XBOOM 360 XO3 review: Should you buy one?

The LG XBOOM 360 XO3 is one of the most stylish Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested, with an aesthetic that’s perfect for modern living spaces. The LED lighting can be customised to create an atmosphere to match various moods or events and the 360-degree sound works incredibly well.

It’s not flawless – more volume, a better EQ and a few more features wouldn’t go amiss at the price – but those quibbles only prevent it from receiving a full five stars. The LG XBOOM 360 XO3’s well-rounded sound and unique design are still more than worthy of recommendation.

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