Review: Vizio Crave Go Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Though known predominantly for its displays, Vizio has ventured into the realm of portable sound with its Crave Go ($199.99) portable Bluetooth wireless speaker.  Did the company imbue it with the level of quality and functionality that Vizio is known for? Read on to find out.

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On the surface, the Crave Go looks like just another Bluetooth wireless stereo speaker. The slender rounded housing stands upright via a rear kickstand that is located in the same place as the input power, output charge, auxiliary in, and the on/off button. The grill wraps around the back in a nice continuous machined aesthetic, giving the Crave Go a nice grip for holding in your hand. Located on the right side of the unit are the Bluetooth pairing, volume rocker, and play/pause push buttons. Even though the buttons are recessed, they are far enough apart to be able to identify them by touch in the dark.

The most notable feature that the Crave Go offers beyond most Bluetooth wireless speakers is its support for Google's Chromecast streaming protocol. As such, you can configure the speaker to connect to your wireless network and iOS apps that have built-in Chromecast support (such as Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and several other notable audiovisual programs available in the App Store) can stream from those apps directly to the speaker. Unfortunately, Airplay is not supported, but given Apple's entry into this market with its forthcoming HomePod, it's not surprising Vizio has opted to pass on Airplay in its Bluetooth speaker.

Another bonus of the speaker's WiFi connectivity is its multi-room pairing ability, along the lines of a Sonos or HomePod setup. While I was not able to test this feature with the single Go unit I had for review, it promises to offer an alternative to those previously mentioned platform-bound competitors. Adjusting the speaker's bass and treble as well as while multi-room paired speaker to is done via Vizio's SmartCast Mobile app.

Most importantly, how does the speaker sound?  Pretty good.  In fact, it is better than most wireless Bluetooth speakers I have reviewed recently. The volume does not get that loud, which actually does a great job minimizing distortion. However, this volume increase brings quite a bit of vibration to whatever surface the Crave Go is sitting on, so avoid placing it on thin metal trays unless you enjoy the rattle of unexpected added percussion in your audio output. This occurs even though the rubberized bottom of the speaker is designed to keep the speaker from sliding when propped up by the rear kickstand also attempts to dampen the speaker's rumble.

Battery life on a single charge is a fair six hours, slightly lower than average compared to other wireless speakers I have reviewed. This is offset by the solid build quality and higher-grade speakers in the unit. 

Final Verdict

A person would invest in a Crave Go more for its multi-room pairing and cross-platform Chromecast support than for its battery life or volume output. Considering the price of Apple's upcoming HomePod, you could conceivably outfit two rooms with Crave Go's for the price of one HomePod. However, I would advise that you start with a single Crave Go and evaluate its audio quality before outfitting your home with additional units. Overall, the Crave Go is a great sounding speaker with additoinal features that justify its price tag compared to other wireless speakers available today.

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.