If you have all your music on your MP3 player it makes logical sense to invest in a set of active speakers that allow you to access it in your room and allows you to get rid of your current stereo.
The Gear4 BlackBox allows you to do exactly that, either through a wired 3.5mm jack directly from your player, or by using Bluetooth.
The first thing that strikes you is the look: a high-gloss black finish with bright blue control light even brighter LED lights for the equaliser on the front.
Controls are kept to a minimum, covering volume, play/pause, track skip along with an LED that cycles through three different display modes. Finally, there is also a control for pairing Bluetooth devices.
A small remote is included in the package that offers the same functions as you’ll find on the unit itself.
The stereo speakers offer 24 watts of power, which should be more than enough for the average bedroom. We found the sound quality nice and loud and while the speakers don’t allow you to change treble or bass, we found they didn’t overly distort, even at high volume.
Sadly, the Bluetooth aspect of these speakers didn’t live up to expectations. We found pairing the speakers with a PDA and a mobile phone was fairly simple but the results less than acceptable. Sound quality is poor and whenever our devices dropped into standby, the controls on the Gear4 misread them and the quality dropped or it stopped altogether.
The Gear4 BlackBox is a great looking device and when used as a standard wired set of speakers, delivers a great sound. We’re just not convinced the Bluetooth side is a long-term option.