On first sight. there’s a lot to like about Qdos’ Genesis speaker system. A white (or black) pedestal, it carries an iPod dock at its summit and hosts four tiny 3W speakers.
The speakers are concealed within the central core of the device, situated equidistantly around the circumference of Genesis. This means you get an unusual approximation of quadrophonic sound – it’s the kind of system you could put in the middle of a table and know everyone around will share the same listening experience.
Genesis delivers acceptable sound for a system of its size, indeed, with a total sound output of 12W it offers more punch than some other portable systems out there. But where it does fall down slightly is its lack of a bass woofer, meaning that if you haven’t set your iPod up correctly for the system, the music sounds a little trebly, with bass-heavy music suffering most. It’s easy to make the best of this, all you need to is access the equaliser settings on your iPod and choose the ‘Small Speakers’ option. Doing this means the iPod will do its best to ensure the sound it feeds Genesis is handleable by the speakers, and you will hear the difference in terms of sound balance and the overall mix. Despite its lack of bass, the system does offer a relatively pleasing sound, and while it isn’t designed as a system to replace your existing home entertainment setup, it can be an effective solution if you just want to be able to listen to your iPod in a spare room, a hotel room or wherever else you end up when on the move.
The system is created to be both portable and elegant. The cylindrical design is made up of three parts – the inner core, containing the four speakers and an elegant, blue-lit combined on/off and volume dial; and the two halves of the cylinder. When not in use as a speaker you simply press the two halves together, and they snap shut tight, securely protecting the inner core. When you want to use the system again, the lower section of the cylindrical exterior has a little button. Press this, and the two halves spring apart, revealing the inner speaker system. It’s a good concept, and I think a lot of people will instantly warm to Genesis because of its nice implementation of the design ethic behind the product. The inner core also carries a line-in port for other music players and the iPod shuffle, and a USB port, so you can choose to use Genesis as a dock for syncing your iPod. The system ships with a selection of dock inserts and a black travel bag, to help prevent the gadget becoming scratched.
As a whole, the all-in-one system measures just 11.5cms in diameter and 8.5cms in height when closed (12.5cms high when open and the speakers are in use. Genesis can be powered by either a mains adaptor or four AA batteries, which slot into the underside of the unit. The company promises eight hours of music on one set of batteries, but in use we found that what volume you choose to play your music at will affect that duration. The device works with any dock connector-equipped iPod, including the iPod nano and iPod mini. Pre-3G iPods and the iPod shuffle won’t work directly, you’ll need to connect these using the 3.5mm line-in port. The compact system weighs just 0.8kg. Genesis will recharge a docked iPod when drawing power from mains electricity.
The decision to make the device cylindrical makes it easy to pack into even the tightest travel bag, and helps this speaker system stand out from the traditional rectangular form factor found in most iPod speaker systems. Most manufacturers, it seems, remain compelled by the way traditional rectangular HiFi speaker systems look. When folded for travel, this system looks more like a large tub of cosmetics, which instantly helps it cross the psychological barrier to becoming a personal effect you won’t want to leave home on a journey without.
Build quality is good, though the little button that triggers the separation of the two halves of the cylinder seemed a little loose on the test unit. We also noted that the top of the device where the iPod dock is housed seems easily scratched, but not to the extent that Genesis loses any aesthetic advantage. The company has clearly applied plenty of attention to detail in constructing the product, even adding four rubberised feet to its underside to help boost its grip.
This is a classy-looking system that’s built for travel. While the absence of a dedicated bass woofer means it lacks a little punch, its 12W of total sound output and eye-catching design help the Genesis to stand out. All the pieces of the device have been so well thought out, proving the company has looked deeper than exterior appearance. Worth a listen.