Over the past year I’ve gone through a change when it comes to how I perceive certain tech companies and their products, most notably with Vizio. I found Vizio’s devices to be cheap looking and performing, but that all changed last year when I reviewed the excellent and very affordable M50 4K display. I found a new appreciation for the Vizio brand thanks to that device, which I still enjoy and use to this day, and my awakening to Vizio’s new commitment to quality was bolstered yet again this past summer when I reviewed the new 5.1 wireless surround sound soundbar. I truly am impressed by these two devices, so it’s no surprise that Vizio’s latest SmartCast enabled gadget — the SmartCast Crave Go Multi-Room Speaker — has also reinforced my belief in Vizio being the top affordable tech brand out there these days.
The SmartCast Crave Go Multi-Room Speaker (Crave Go for short) is a very robust portable speaker. It takes advantage of SmartCast technology and Google Home features to create a simple to setup multi-room speaker system that also sounds great and is highly portable thanks to the diminutive design. It packs in six hours of battery life, up to 88db of sound and 75hz of bass, DTS technology, an AUX port, onboard controls, a kickstand, and a USB charging port to charge a device while you listen or charge the speaker. It weighs in at just around three pounds, so like I mentioned earlier it can be easily transported around if you want to use it outside of your multi-room sound setup.
Thanks to the SmartCast technology built into it, setup is a breeze and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. All you need is the SmartCast mobile app for iOS or Android and you’re off to the races. Once it is paired to the app you can toggle the speaker’s settings with the app, or you can get right to listening to music or other sounds by casting from a SmartCast enabled app like Spotify to it. If you have multiple SmartCast enabled speakers, such as the new 5.1 surround sound wireless soundbar from Vizio, you can create groups in the Google Home app (free for iOS and Android), which in turn allows you to cast music and or other sounds to every speaker in your house at the same time.
Of course you can also stream specific audio from apps to individual speakers in your house too, but I found the Home group casting to be my favorite aspect of this mobile speaker. I just really appreciated being able to walk from one room of my house to another one far off from my current location and still be able to walk into the space hearing the same music I was listening too in my previous location. I found this feature to be especially handy while spending time outside on my deck with my family on the weekends, which usually required me blaring my main stereo loud enough for us to hear it outdoors, or leaving doors and windows open to hear just a sliver of the audio while outside. With the Crave Go setup in Google Home, we could transition from inside and out of the house without missing a beat, and the seamless sound effect is potent enough that I’ve considered buying additional Crave Go speakers to fully deck out each main room in my house with SmartCast enhanced speakers.
SmartCasting isn’t the only way to steam sound to the Crave Go either. It also supports standard Bluetooth connections, so it’s compatible with most every modern portable device that can play music and sounds remotely with the technology. The speaker also has an AUX port built-in, so even if you have an older music playing device that does’t support wireless streaming technologies, you can still make use of this highly functional mobile speaker.
The Crave Go’s abilities to stream sound from multiple sources using multiple wireless streaming technologies are strong, but in the end it’s how it sounds that really matters. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this mobile speaker sounds great, especially when you consider its size and transportability. It’s small enough to keep in a handbag or backpack, and depending on how wide your pockets are, you could possibly even cram it into your pants. Don’t be fooled by its size though, because this thing can blast out legitimate sound that can fill a room and has enough bass to not sound tinny and hollow. Now the Crave Go doesn’t get as loud or as bass shaking as say Vizio’s recent new 5.1 surround sound soundbar, but for devices of comparable size it easily produces sounds that would make any audiophile content with their purchase.
If you were like me and used to consider Vizio and its products to be inferior and unworthy of your hard earned money, then I beg you to give the company a chance with one of its new SmartCast enabled products. If you already use those types of devices, then the Crave Go speaker will fit right into your existing setup and it will definitely enhance your home’s audio capabilities. If you’re big on Google Home or Google’s Assistant, this device, which can be voiced controlled using the Assistant hardware, becomes even easier and more essential to your home audio needs. It’s a breeze to setup, it sounds great, and it really can turn your home into a multi-room audio enabled living space for much less money than you may expect. In fact, Amazon currently has the Crave Go for $50 less than its retail price, so you can snag one or more of these speakers for $149.99! There’s no better time to join the Vizio SmartCast revolution than now, so don’t be like me and give this affordable, yet very high-quality producing tech company a chance before you discount it on name alone.
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Review Statement: The author of this review was provided a sample unit by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.