The Good The Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 speaker system is one of the most compact and stylish systems we've seen. It sounds much better than you'd expect given its size, and it's very affordable.
The Bad The Boston's cramped speaker-wire connectors are difficult to use. And if you don't need extremely small speakers, you can find better-sounding (and still stylish) speakers for the same price.
The Bottom Line The Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 is an exceptionally compact system and sounds great for its size--although larger systems sound even better.
SoundWare XS 5.1
As good as the SoundWare XS 5.1 system is for its size, it can't defy physics. The Pioneer SP-PK21BS sounds much, much better, but it's also a much, much larger speaker system. And even if living room decor is your priority, you should seriously consider the larger (but elegant) Energy Take Classic 5.1 system, which sounds considerably better as well. However, neither of those systems can compete if space is at a premium, and the petite SoundWare XS 5.1 ($500 street price) is an excellent, affordable option with solid sound quality.
Design and features
The SoundWare XS is a six-piece system that comes with five identical cube satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The system we tested is black, but it's also available in white. Boston Acoustics also sells additional SoundWare speakers in a variety of colors for $100 each.