The Dali Katch G2 arrives at our testing facility to quite the fanfare. For the uninitiated, the original Katch sounded so good for its size and price that we gave it a What Hi-Fi? Award in the wireless speaker category in 2016 (the year of its release) and 2017. Now, Dali is looking to regain that crown with a long-awaited G2 – short for 'Generation 2' – sequel.
The all-new Dali Katch G2 brings a raft of improvements to the familiar slender, oval design to give the speaker its best shot at topping the charts once more. Right off the bat, the upgrades include even more stamina, wider Bluetooth support and tweaks to the audio design. So, is there a (wait for it) Katch? And how does the G2 stack up in an increasingly crowded market? These are the questions we’re here to answer.
At £329 / AU$749, the Katch G2 is at the pricey end of the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker, although the JBL Xtreme 3 (£300) is of a similar stature, boasts comparable features and is closely price-matched. But place the cool, matte-finished aluminium Katch G2 down, note the gold coin Dali branding and genuine leather panel (which can cleverly unhook to become a handle) across the top plate, and feel the subtly rubberised feet, and you may well think there’s still plenty of value here. We certainly do.
At roughly the width of a hardback novel, the Katch G2 feels heavier than you might imagine, at 1.1kg, but it’s still slim enough to slip into your backpack. It simply oozes class, too. In a sea of barrel-shaped Bluetooth speakers clad in fun, fabric jackets and ruggedised rubber accents, the Dali seems designed as if to point out that it looks nothing like those. This speaker has an altogether classier feel thanks to the gold coin branding, the curved lights surrounding the power button for volume, the genuine leather handle and its sound profile and battery life indication. If the branding actually read ‘Bang & Olufsen’ and the price-point was considerably higher, we wouldn’t have been surprised.
With its triangular grille pattern and rubberised cap, under which you’ll find a 3.5mm jack and USB-A charge, it's fair to say that our iron-black sample is a thing of beauty. Although if that all sounds a touch industrial, the G2 is also available in softer ‘caramel white’ and ‘chilly blue’ finishes.
Dali has ensured that, despite the G2's svelte dimensions, there's enough volume within the speaker's aluminium body for its woofers to deliver crisp, deep lows. The cabinet now has an internal wall dividing it into two inner volumes for improved channel separation, too.
The speaker's soundfield, meanwhile, is created by a two-way system powered by a pair of 25W Class D amplifiers, which feed two 21mm soft textile dome tweeters, two 3.5-inch aluminium cone low-frequency drivers and two steel cone passive bass radiators. The drivers located on both sides of the speaker help to create as wide a stereo effect as possible. It’s a solution that boasts a maximum sound pressure level of 95dB (something similar to a motorbike engine running in your living room) and it more than fills our hi-fi test room during testing.
Battery life 30 hours
Battery charge time Up to 2 hours
Dimensions (hwd) 13.8 × 26.9 × 4.7cm
Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, apt X HD
Power output 2 x 25W
USB output for device charging Yes
Stereo pairing Yes
The original Katch's 24-hour battery life would still pass muster today, but the Katch G2 extends that by a further six hours thanks to its 3300mAh battery, to boast a whopping 30 hours of playtime. Total playing time does depend on volume settings and the type of music being played, though. There's also Bluetooth 5.0 onboard with support for aptX HD, aptX and AAC Bluetooth, complete with NFC for quick transmission between compatible devices.
Other high-end touches include a dedicated mains charging port and adapter with UK, EU and US adapter plugs, making the speaker suitable for your home as well as your travel plans. Dali certainly encourages you to take it on your adventures – you even get a tactile, premium-feel drawstring pouch for transportation.
Dali has implemented a TWS (True Wireless Stereo) mode for the Katch G2, enabling users to pair two Katch G2s in stereo for increased volume and separation, with aptX HD to support better-quality streams at 24-bit/48kHz. Note, however, that you cannot stereo pair the first-generation Katch with the new G2 as the feature is facilitated by Bluetooth 5.0, and the original 2016 Katch only supports Bluetooth 4.0. Also, the new TWS mode is not meant to enable multi-room audio – the two Katch G2s should really be in the same room and will play stereo sound.
It’s worth noting that there’s no scope for further wireless daisy-chaining of multiple Dali Katch G2 speakers, which is a much-loved feature of JBL speakers thanks to their PartyBoost button.
There's also no integrated wi-fi streaming, app or voice control support, but in the realms of portable Bluetooth speakers we wouldn’t ordinarily expect such features. What you might do, Dali points out, is use the G2’s USB charge connector to hook up a Chromecast Audio dongle or Amazon Echo for home network integration – so, that handy port is good for more than just charging your phone.
The only available feature here that we didn’t enjoy is the sound mode toggle, a circular button that sits on the far right of the unit’s top plate beyond similar buttons for Bluetooth pairing power and volume – there are no play or pause buttons on the unit itself. This toggle allows you to choose between two EQ presets: ‘clear’ or ‘warm’. To keep track of which sound profile you’ve selected, the four LED lights surrounding the power button (which display battery life by default whenever the speaker is on) will glow like a half-moon – the right side lights up for ‘warm’, the left illuminates for ‘clear’. It’s something not offered by many Bluetooth speakers, but in whichever environment we test it, we find the 'clear' sound profile vastly out-performs the 'warm', which seems to draw a veil over the sound.
We cue up Rikki Don’t Lose That Number from Steely Dan’s 2021 album Northeast Corridor on Tidal, and the live recording (at Mohegan Sun Arena) comes through brimming with detail, from the abstract melodica and key progressions at the outset to the electric guitar, flugelhorn and backing vocal. More than that, the Katch G2 is able to faithfully capture the sense of audience – the background texture of a live gig.
We switch to Pandemonium by Masked Wolf, and the jangling of keys and unbolting of prison cell bars are jagged and impactful through the treble. These are expertly separated from the hard-hitting hip-hop beat too, proving the Dali doesn’t scrimp on veracity or grip when it comes to the low notes, either.
Vocals are three-dimensional and emotive. Stream Berwyn’s Heartache & Chest Pains, and while the pensive keys are accurate across the frequencies and held dutifully within the cohesive mix as the beat comes in, vocal stylings are central, textured and nuanced.
As we increase the volume, we find the Katch G2’s room-filling sound neither loses clarity nor errs toward harshness either – no small achievement from something with such bijou proportions.
Our comparison speaker for testing is the five-star JBL Xtreme 3, but in direct comparison the JBL feels just a tad over-emphasised through the bass and just slightly muddier through the low end as a result. It’s a small difference, but still noteworthy.
If you don’t care about daisy-chaining several (or a hundred) of Bluetooth speakers at the push of a button, the Dali Katch G2 is simply the classiest and best-sounding speaker of its kind you can buy for the money. You can stereo-pair two of them, and while there is no button on the G2 to automatically pause the music should you walk into the room with an urgent problem, we would advise you to simply let that accurate, clear, agile and neutral presentation soothe your cares away. Sonically, the Katch G2 is nothing short of a delight.
- Sound 5
- Features 4
- Build 5
Read our review of the JBL Xtreme 3
Read our JBL Charge 5 review
Find out how we rate the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)
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