Gear4 Duo Review
Tesco loves giving us a two-for-the-price-of-one offers, and now Gear4 is getting in on the act. The Duo is two speakers in one _ a full 2.1 stereo speaker with a detachable front panel that serves as a travel speaker. It saves you buying one big, powerful speaker set for your house and one diddy set for your holidays.
When you’re at home, you clip the stereo speakers and subwoofer together to create a single powerful unit. Then, if you’re going on a picnic or some such, you just unclip the stereo panel from the subwoofer and use it as a set of portable speakers on its own. There’s an iPod dock unit built into the front, and this folds neatly back into the speaker panel. The mains power supply plugs into the back of the subwoofer, and as well as powering the entire unit, it also charges the rechargable battery that’s built into the stereo speaker panel, so that it will be ready for when you want to remove the travel speaker and use it on its own.
The subwoofer provides 20W output on its own, with an additional 18W from the stereo front panel. The result is a solid sound, free of distortion even when you crank the volume up to maximum. It’s not as powerful as some of the larger iPod speaker systems out there, though. However, it’ll do the job for most people for listening to music at home.
The travel speaker panel is just over 1in thick, so it really is easy to carry around with you, and it has a folding metal stand to prop it up when you’re ready to listen to some music.
You can run the portable panel off the mains supply if you want, or off the internal rechargeable battery. The battery lasts for six hours if you play the speakers at around 60 per cent volume, though this drops to two hours with the volume turned up all the way.
The sound quality from the front speaker panel is very good. You obviously notice the lack of bass from the subwoofer, but the sound quality is still a match for our Altec Lansing InMotion portable speakers. Our only gripe here is that there’s no case supplied with the Duo.
Gear4 does sell a ‘travelling pack’ for _49.99. This includes both a case and a spare rechargeable battery (you can fit two batteries into the portable speaker panel at once, doubling the battery life). Fifty quid for this though is rather miserly - it’s not too much to ask for a case with a portable speaker.
The Duo’s ingenious design and crisp audio quality make it a good choice for people who need a speaker system that they can use both at home and on the road. The travel speaker is a really decent one _ so you just need to work out if the combined system is powerful enough for your home needs.