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Hands-on with the Gear4 Duo: What the dock-tor ordered

Gear4's Duo is one of the most unusual iPod speaker docks we've seen, and at £150 it's not the most expensive, either. It's essentially two products in one and we're pretty taken with it

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 system for the iPod, with an integrated sub. But pull off the magnetically connected front panel and you've got yourself a portable, battery-powered speaker system akin to Gear4's own 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 works well and 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. 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 high volume the bass sounds a tad hollow, though it adds an acceptable warmth to the brightness that uncritical ears won't, er, sneeze at.

It's out on 1 June for £150.

Our review is written and it scored pretty well. We'll be publishing our 700-word adventure with the Duo next week, and you can also expect our red-hot, trousers-down, no-holds-barred video review. Until then be sure to inspect the most expensive consumer headphones in the world. -Nate Lanxon

Update: Read our full Gear4 Duo review here.