As battery-life, bluetooth technology and mobile devices themselves continue to upgrade, so does the peripherals that work with them. The market saw an incredibly large influx of portable speakers and headsets over the past year, with each company finding their own niche on a scale of affordability to performance.
The new Geneva Sound System offers plenty to get excited about, a great looking, easily adaptable speaker set, tucked away inside a minimal design and available in either white, red or black. Although we reviewed the most-portable XS size, there are several versions of the design that you can choose from, ranging from the XS portable to the home-entertainment sized XXL model.
All of Geneva’s designs typically fall into a simplistically modern, or retro industrial design category. The company prefers bright, piano-lacquered HD composite; offset with chrome details. They are low-impact, carefully crafted devices that you can easily add into any bag, or home-design depending on which model you are looking at.
Inside the seemingly low-profile square box is a plethora of features, including an FM radio, the alarm clock system, the actual speakers and an amplifier. All tucked away inside a small case, that doubles as the device.
The speakers are a 2.1 speaker system, there are two 1” tweeters in each model, accompanied by one 2¼” woofer. Most people are looking for portable speakers that are wireless, because most people will be using them on-the-go either in the backyard, the balcony or at the beach. The Model XS offers an easy Bluetooth connection for all of your wireless audio streaming needs, but also offers a line-in mode as well. It’s important to mention the line-in function because not all companies give you that option. The line-in is perfect if you are looking for a portable system that would also support a PC, DVDs, a game consoles or even a television. A convenient adapter cable is included in the box for a stereo mini line-in to connect to a standard line connection from a larger device.
Both the Bluetooth mode and the line-in mode utilize the digital amplifier, the FM mode is powered by an analog amplifier, which is consistent with other brands since FM isn’t as high-quality as an actual source like an iPhone.
The battery-life of portable speakers is crucial when picking one out, since portable radios are usually run non-stop in the background of other events. We clocked the XS Model between 4.5 and 5.25 hours, on both Line-in and Bluetooth. This is consistent with the company’s claims, and should be more than enough time for day at the beach.
If you are on the audiophile side of interested consumers then you should know that the device offers Digital and analog amplifiers (Class A/D) with 12 (2 × 3, 1 × 6) watt output. The device itself operates in a frequency range of 80 Hz to 20 kHz.
The device is on the higher-end of portable speakers as per their performance, but of course a more stationary system will offer better quality.
Geneva-Sound-System-XS-InsertSmaller features only add to the device’s overall functions, a small digital clock is shown on the face of the speaker when opened, offering you a handy timepiece on the beach, or to be used as a nightside alarm by your bed. It is even more subtable for traveling, offering you a familiar alarm and sound-system, when you are away from home. The digital FM radio tuner features an auto-search function, which again is perfect when you are away from your local stations.
Other displays include LEDs for volume, the mode you are in, and the frequency you are on. The TouchLight controls are all backlit, allowing you to see them in the dark easily, and are all touch-sensitive.
Regardless of what source-device that we tested the Model XS on, we were impressed with the sound. In its class, the portable category, it’s very impressive and should be a welcomed advantage over and standard speakers that come built into an iPad, Google Nexus or other mobile device.
Samsung, Windows, Sony, Apple, there are a dozen companies that the device works with. We tested the device on Alienware, Macbook Pros, iPhone 5s and a Nokia Lumina, all with terrific results. From sharing YouTube videos for all to see, to making the break-room a little more bearable, setup and playing through a connected device only took a few moments.
The only small issue I had was the device turning itself off, it was because I did not have the XS in the proper setup required when open (the lid actually has to rest on the top forming that tent-shape you see in the photos) if you also have that problem, it’s a design choice not a flaw.
Overall any situation that we put the XS in it performed rather well, never distorting or fading out. Either outside or at a desk, it’s a wonderful option to have over constantly wearing headphones and we love how simplistic the design was, offering simple-function and modern design over other company’s overbearing facade or grilles.
At $199 the speaker comes in at the higher-end of the spectrum, but like most electronics it’s the quality that you get out of it that you pay for. Other items may be cheaper, but battery-life, construction or compatibility may have been sacrificed to meet that price-point.