On paper, the Goodmans Go Dash sounds great. It’s a DAB radio with built-in battery and Bluetooth, meaning you can use it as both radio and a wireless speaker for your phone. And with a price of only £60, it has "bargain" written all over it.
But things are never as they first appear – as is the case here. Unfortunately, the Goodmans Go Dash is seriously let down by its sound quality.
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The Goodmans Go Dash’s design is best described as sensible. Most of its body is covered with rubber, which means that any amount of rough handling is unlikely to have any impact on the unit.
Size-wise, it’s also small enough to grab in one hand, removing the need for a proper handle. There is a fabric carry handle sticking out of one side, however.
While it's considerably bigger than rival Bluetooth speakers such as the Pure Voca, the Goodmans Go Dash is still fairly portable.
One of the best things about the Go Dash is that the battery is included and it's a rechargeable unit. With a Pure radio, for example, you’ll pay up to £30 for a battery pack alone; here you get a complete device for £60.
The battery can even be used to charge up your phone through the 1A output USB port on the unit's rear, which is covered by a rubbery flap which provides the Goodmans Go Dash with a degree of splash-proofing.
Under this flap is where you’ll find the micro-USB charge port and the 3.5mm aux input.
The Goodmans Go Dash is a flexible unit, packing in all the features I expect of both a DAB radio and a wireless speaker. For example, it has a proper telescopic aerial that sinks back into the body of the unit when not in use, to avoid any damage when the radio is being moved about.
On the unit's top plate you'll even find some radio preset buttons, to let you quickly skip between your favourite stations. Suffering from poor DAB reception in your area? Then there’s an FM radio too.
On the Bluetooth speaker side, NFC makes it simple to pair up the Go Dash with phones that also have this connection.
The Go Dash will work for up to 10 hours off a single charge, and while the 1A power output is a little slow for our liking (but the standard for this feature), Goodmans says you’ll be able to recharge your phone two to three times. Could this be the perfect UK holiday speaker?
In pure practical terms it gets close, although you’ll need a fair bit of room in your bag for it.
Using the Goodmans Go Dash can be a little fiddly. The big knob to the right of the top plate it used to both change volume and the station. A quick turn alters volume, but press down on it and it switches to station control. This would be fine if the button actually registered a press each time. But it seems to ignore presses randomly.
The controls feel quite cheap too and aren't particularly nice to use.
There isn't much to the two-line display either. It’s clear and includes a front light, but you can see where the single LED that provides this light sits. More expensive sets try to hide this in order to make the spread of light more consistent.
These are all minor points, but add them together and you get a radio whose finishing touches give the impression of a more basic, budget model.
All could be forgiven if the Goodmans Go Dash delivered superb sound – but this isn't the case. In fact, the poor-quality output turns this radio from a potential "best budget buy" into something I'd recommend you avoid.
The Goodmans Go Dash has two drivers, whose grilles suggest they're each around 2-inch across in size. However, from the sound quality you're left with the impression that they’re only a fraction of that size.
There’s no bass, the tone is crude and the sound is flat-out ugly at top volume. At lower volumes, it’s very thin. Over the past year I’ve reviewed plenty of portable speakers that sound way bigger than their actual size. The Goodmans Go Dash sounds smaller than it looks.
The Goodmans Go Dash offers a smart, durable design and a great set of features. With such thoughtful touches, such as the stowaway aerial, the terrible sound comes as even more of a disappointment.
If you need DAB then I'd recommend checking out the Pure One series. Otherwise, you'd do well to consider a wireless speaker with a passive radiator speaker system, such as the Pure Voca or Jam Heavy Metal.
Hard-wearing design and great features are letdown by disappointing sound.