KATCH G2 Portable Speaker
AUD $749 RRP
When I reviewed DALI’s first portable Bluetooth speaker – the original KATCH from 2016 – I commented that it was surprising that it took this Danish speaker maker so long to launch it. The market was already crowded with such products, and at $699, it was a steep ask for all but the most devoted fans of the brand. But the company backed up the asking price with serious sound, drawing on over three decades of engineering know-how.
DALI delivered on form factor, style, build quality, and most importantly, sound quality. Our KATCH is still in service and has travelled with us on vacations across the country, been abused by clumsy kids, and spent many hours in the Australian sun by the pool when confined to the boundaries of our homes through the not-forgotten lockdowns.
Rolling forward nearly six years, we are presented with the updated KATCH G2, pitched by DALI as “a natural evolution of the original award-winning Bluetooth speaker”. At first glance, the updates are subtle, including the obligatory new logo. The original colour options have been updated for a choice of three refreshing new colours, including Caramel White, Iron Black, and Chilly Blue.
Battery technology has also improved remarkably in this time, with a 25% bump up to 30 hours of playback now reported, compared to the 24 hours of its predecessor. Another highlight is the ability to pair two units for True Wireless Stereo (TWS) mode, although sadly, I only had one review sample, so I could not explore this option.
All other specifications remain the same. Weighing in at just over 1kg, the new 269x128x47mm (WxHxD) G2 is ideally sized for packing into an overnight bag or suitcase. It still feels weighty and substantial in hand, giving a sense of being a well-built portable product. The leather carry strap sits neatly in a recess to one end and slides out with a slight push of the thumb. Oh, and I can now vouch for it being robust, too – remember those clumsy kids?
The driver complement remains unchanged, with dual passive radiators, two 3.5-inch aluminium coned woofers, and twin 21mm lightweight, soft dome tweeters. And just like the original KATCH, the passive radiators produce an impressive bass response that’s surprisingly good for such small drive units. DALI has retained the Class D amplifier providing 25 watts of power per side. It has also undoubtedly optimised the DSP implementation to maximise each driver’s bandwidth and timing, resulting in a linear frequency response that delivers a balanced sound across its range.
The sound quality improvements that I hear now are most likely the result of the move from Bluetooth 4 to version 5, a technology now enjoying its 24th year of existence! With this comes a massive range increase, twice the data transfer rate, more stability, and Qualcomm’s aptX HD codec for compatible devices. This supports audio up to 24-bit/48kHz, and AAC. Of course, the 3.5mm minijack has also been retained for hard-wiring external sources.
Two EQ presets are available via one of the top-facing buttons. This button toggles between a ‘warm’ and ‘clear’ sound. The former seems to add a little boost to both the bottom and top end of the frequency spectrum. Like the original KATCH, I seemed to prefer this setting in an open space, but it’s nice to have the latter option when placing the G2 on a shelf or close to a wall.
While I was impressed with the original KATCH, there are only good things to say about the new G2. Streaming Spotify, Qobuz and TIDAL, the midrange is enjoyable while not edgy, sharp or shouty. Vocals and percussion extending into the upper frequencies are accurate, and a little less brittle than the previous Bluetooth implementation. Bass lines remain tight, timed correctly and tonally enjoyable, which is remarkable given the tiny physical footprint DALI’s engineers have to work within.
The portable audio market only continues to grow, and every day, there’s another ‘me too’ product release. Another consideration when researching and then committing to purchasing a new product is that many are superseded within months – hello, Apple? However, given that it’s been six years since the KATCH release, and G2 remains much the same – albeit with some technology and styling upgrades – you can rest assured that DALI’s new KATCH G2 is a sound investment. Although far from the cheapest such speaker system on the market, it is one of the best at or anywhere near its price.