Gear4 BassStation review: Gear4 BassStation

The Good Price; physical volume controls; average sound quality.

The Bad Design; no bass reflex port; no USB port; no TV-out.

The Bottom Line Very much an entry-level bit of kit, but at a good price for what it offers performance-wise. It's perfect for a teen's bedroom and although there are serious oversights regarding design, it's a pleasant system

6.5 Overall

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With the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin on the market for £400 and the Bose SoundDock selling for around £300, you couldn't be faulted for going googly-eyed over a 2.1 iPod speaker system for around £100. Gear4's new BassStation is just such an eye-opening system, with stylings akin to Apple's old iPod Hi-Fi.

Are you better off saving for something from a hi-fi specialist or is settling for a more affordable perfectly adequate?

At first glance, you're not getting B&W-class stylings. You'll find chunky plastic, enormous white rims and minimalist qualities in this system. Even though Apple made this look trendy, there's not much to see here. It's a weighty setup, but tapping the enclosure with your knuckles produces reverberations of budget build-quality. Considering this system's price range, it's not too surprising that it sounds hollow.

Volume and power buttons sit on top below the iPod docking station. Around the back is a headphone socket, stereo audio inputs and a power socket. The two front-mounted drivers sit behind a speaker grille that sadly can't be removed. There's also no reflex port for the subwoofer to breathe through. For a system with "bass" in its name, this is a huge disappointment: the reflex port could've added deeper tones and added bass oomph.

Any iPod with a docking connector is supported, including the iPod touch and the iPhone, or you can jack in any audio source via stereo cable. The unusually decent little remote control lets you browse through the iPod's menus and adjust volume, too.

What you won't be able to do, however, is output any video to a TV -- something you're able to do using Tannoy's i30, for example. You won't find a a USB port either, which could transform the BassStation into a glorified dock for iTunes. Again, not a crucial feature, but another sign of what you get for staying in sub-£100 territory.

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