Compact, affordable speaker system with separate sub-woofer
No dock for iOS devices
£69.99 (standard); £89.99 (wireless) + shipping
Gear4 has been coming up with some interesting speaker designs just recently, and the Xorb speaker for iPhone, iPad or other audio source is another attractive addition to its product range.
The Gear4 Xorb’s distinctive spherical design looks quite neat, but it’s also very practical. The Xorb is large enough to house both stereo speakers and a separate sub-woofer, but compact enough to fit comfortably onto a shelf or desktop without taking up too much room.
There’s no dock for your iOS devices, though. Like many manufacturers, Gear4 has decided that the best way to deal with Apple’s new Lightning connector is to simply ignore it altogether and create a ‘universal’ speaker that will work with any type of audio device.
You’ve actually got two options with the Xorb. The basic model reviewed here costs £69.99 ($105) and has a conventional 3.5mm audio jack on the back so that you can connect your iPhone, iPad or any other audio source (and there’s an audio cable included in the box too). Or, for another £20 ($30), you can get a wireless model that includes Bluetooth as well.
The Xorb’s sound quality is very good for a speaker in this price range. It’s not the warmest or most textured sound we’ve ever heard but the higher frequencies are clear and detailed, and the sub-woofer does its job by providing a good, solid bass sound. There’s a volume control on the back of the Xorb, and a separate bass control so that you can tweak the bass for different types of music.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice
The Xorb’s 30W output is fairly loud, but its compact design means that it doesn’t produce the most expansive sound. It’s probably not quite beefy enough to be used as the main speaker system in your front room, but it’s a good, affordable choice if you need a compact speaker for your bedroom, or for a small studio apartment.