With so many iPod speakers available on the market you have to either sound good, look good, or be both. There aren't many that can muster both looks and performance, but that hasn't stopped Geneva Labs believing its Model S is the bees knees. But is it? We got listening to find out.

It's a big box. That might sound harsh, but that's basically what the Geneva Sound System Model S is: a big box. The speaker points to the front, the controls and docking station is on the top and the power socket and connectors are at the back.

To differentiate it from other boxes you can opt to have it sitting on a pole on a circular plinth, although this only changes the appearance rather than the performance. Those not wanting the metal pole can use the four rubberised feet instead.

Connections around the back include a line-in, and FM aerial and power. There is no USB socket or digital connections to connect to your PC.

The front sports the speaker grill and within that a hidden red LED clock, which as you would expect, gives alarm clock functionality to the device as well. You can't turn the clock feature off.

The display also doubles as the main display for the device, telling you what radio frequency you are on or whether you've got an iPod in the dock above. It also gives you the volume number so you can tell whether or not need to make it louder (just in case your ears can't tell).

The top shows off a series of invisible buttons once you turn the device on, and anyone that has seen one of those LG Chocolate phones from a couple of years ago will know exactly what this looks like and how it works. Paying homage to the iPod, the volume control is a circular track pad that spinning your finger around makes it louder or quieter and its all fairly basic stuff.

Showing a little bit of flair, pressing the "mode" button to activate the iPod dock causes the dock itself to spin out of nowhere - like something in a Bond movie -  and pressing it a second time makes it disappear.

It's here that you'll probably feel slightly underwhelmed, certainly if you've had a chance to listen to the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin range or the Bose Sound Dock. It's not that it doesn't sound good, it's just that the Geneva Sound System Model S doesn't sound great. At high levels the system started to distort and we would have liked a bit more bass - but that's probably a personal thing.

You do have control over the bass via the included, rather poorly made, remote control but it doesn't seem make that much difference to the sound when we tested the two extremes. Likewise the radio performance wasn't spectacular with the included radio in the box offering poor performance compared to other radios we have tested in the same room.


It's not that the Geneva Sound System Model S is a bad system, or one that won't deliver the goods to people who opt for this speaker, it's just there are solutions that offer more connectivity, better design and sound available on the market.