The Cambridge Audio Go v2 portable Bluetooth speaker is, as its name suggests, the second version in the series, updating the Go Minx that we thought was a top-class offering when we reviewed it last year.
The "saucy" name has been dropped for round two, but the Go v2 still flirts with excellent audio given its price point. The addition of NFC (near field communication) and aptX Bluetooth does see a slight price bump to £120, so is this portable speaker as impressive this time around?
The Cambridge Audio Go v2 isn't trying to reinvent the wheel. It's very similar to the first generation model by design, meaning a plastic frame - here shown in a fetching white finish - with a large mesh front. The plastic isn't such a fingerprint magnet like the first model, though, which is a positive.
The self-standing unit - which measures 237 x 123 x 60mm and weighs 1.1kgs - doesn't have a flip-out kick-stand like its predecessor either. You can plonk it down anywhere and the straightforward design blends in with its surroundings nicely.
Up top there are five buttons to handle, power, volume up/down, Bluetooth synching and switching to Aux. The later two are new additions, and while there's no visual aid to spell out the synching process it's really easy to get a connection, audible beeps help guide the way. We've been running tunes to the Go v2 via Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and MacBook Air with no issues, bar the occasional stutter from the laptop when under software load.
In the second-generation model there's the addition of NFC, meaning a compatible smartphone can be easily touched to the speaker to pair a connection. It's a nice-to-have feature, but we could live without it.
On the back is the power input, a 3.5mm jack for direct line auxiliary input, and a USB port. Key to the product is an on-board battery so the direct current input can be used to charge and then you're free to cart the Go v2 around anywhere - we've been listening to tunes in the living room, kitchen and bedroom.
But the sound quality is where the Go v2, like the original, delivers plenty for its price point. Although for the extra cash - at £120 that's a 20 per cent hike on the £100 original (which can now be bought for £80) - there's not a great deal new on offer.
The aptX codec means CD-quality audio can be achieved via Bluetooth, but without the dynamic complexity or fuller frequency response of a pair of headphones, for example, the difference between first- and second-generation Go models isn't exactly discernible. Which means the original, for its price point, is the more sensible purchase.
The key to getting the best audio from the Go v2 is all about positioning. As the tweeters aren't angled upwards, placing the speaker in a low-lying position doesn't see the high-end frequencies projected to the ears as well as possible. Place the unit on a higher shelf and the results are much more admirable.
We found the mid-range lacked some pop which gives a flatter listen compared to our go-to headphones. In isolation, though, that's not a huge bother - we still found vocals sat well within the mix, even if snare drums lacked a bit of snap.
Unlike some pricier Bluetooth speakers one thing Cambridge Audio has given plenty of attention to is the bass. To complement the dual 50mm drivers and 19mm tweeters to the front is a bass radiator to the back. You can watch it vibrating like crazy as it thumps out those cutting kick drums. Don't expect the lowest of the low frequencies to bounce along, but at this scale and price point bass performance is well handled.
There's plenty of volume and the up/down volume controls on top of the unit work independently from the synched device - so if that YouTube stream, Spotify track or iTunes tune is a little too quiet you may need to intervene. No remote control tends to not be an issue as you can make adjustments from the paired device, so long as the Go v2's level is set right.
The battery life has lived up to expectation too, delivering on its purported 18-hours of life. We've been using the device all week in the office and haven't had to plug it back in for four days, so it's kept us happy.
The Cambridge Audio Go v2 takes the already solid foundations of its predecessor, but is the better device by virtue of NFC one-touch connectivity and aptX Bluetooth.
But it's a more expensive device, and one that almost helps to make the original and cheaper Minx Go model that much more appealing. We'd also like more snap to the mid-range for a listen with a bit more pop.
Affordable Bluetooth speaker systems needn't sound poor nor quiet, as proven once again by Cambridge Audio. If you want a slice of the best of British, albeit on a budget, then the Go v2 portable Bluetooth speaker is well worth a look.