When Gear4 told us it was holding its most exciting product launch to date, we knew we were in for a little treat. It came to show us its swanky new Duo in private, weeks before said launch, so we've had a chance to form a solid opinion already.
It's called the Gear4 Duo and it's pretty unusual. At first glance it looks like a compact 2.1 speaker unit for the iPod, with an integrated sub. But pull off the magnetically connected front panel and you've got yourself a portable, battery-powered system akin to Gear4's StreetParty Size 0. It's got two user-replaceable lithium-ion batteries, its own line-in and power supply, and a fold-away kick stand.
When you want to re-dock the front speakers, just push it up against the sub's face and the magnets hold it in place, and your music continues without fuss and, more importantly, without wires. It's hella handy if you're listening to a lengthy podcast in your bedroom, then go downstairs to cook a roast, feed the cat, or fire up a scented candle.
Sound quality's not too shabby either. When connected to the sub, the overall tone is acceptable; we call it "bedroom quality," as it's got no place as a main system in your lounge. The high end's a little abrasive and at loud volume the bass sounds a tad hollow, though it adds an acceptable warmth to the brightness that uncritical ears won't, er, sneeze at.