Wires and wired connections are for old people, the mentally challenged and the Amish -- all the cool people are using wireless stuff. Wireless technology is the connectivity of choice in today's prisons since, unlike Ethernet, it's virtually impossible to kill yourself using Wi-Fi.
Okay, fine, wires are actually better than wireless for most things until 802.11n and WiMax (or similar) become mainstream. But Bluetooth has a high adoption rate and Gear4 is exploiting this ubiquity to the max. Its most recent Bluetooth speaker system, the Blackbox, is a rectangular, touch-controlled, 24W, glossy black speaker system.
Along with having A2DP stereo Bluetooth compatibility to stream choons from your phone, it's got a 3.5mm line-in socket and a little bass reflex port for that added oomph. Although best powered with the mains adaptor, the system can be run from four size C batteries. For some reason, Gear4 requires you to use a screwdriver or coin to unscrew the fastener locking the battery compartment. Someone, somewhere, got paid to make this decision. The mind boggles.
Anyway, it's a solid, well-built set of portable speakers, though it's hella prone to fingerprints and smudges. Sound quality's not too bad, though generally slightly muddy. Each speaker driver is mounted on either end of the Blackbox, producing quite a wide sound, but it does seem to somewhat negatively impact the overall quality of audio reproduction.
Pairing a device over Bluetooth was easy and must be done within 3 minutes of being switched on. The trippy LED visualisation on the front of the system looks pretty neat in our opinion.
The Blackbox is set to retail at £99.99 when it goes in sale later this week and you can check out our full review very soon. In the meantime, click through for some snazzy photos of this quaint little chap.
Update: A full review of the Blackbox is now available. -Nate Lanxon