Provides: Portable, rechargeable Bluetooth streaming audio
Minimum Requirements: iOS Device with Bluetooth; any audio source with a standard 1/8″ headphone jack
Availability: Out Now
Like its larger brother, the Geneva Model S, Geneva’s travel-sized Model XS is a wonderful mix elegant design, thoughtfully engineered features, and impressive sound, though obviously not with the same room-filling capacity. This pint-sized travel speaker provides precise sound with excellent midrange and treble reproduction. Bass is articulated but never felt, so if you are planning a portable dance party, the Model XS may not be your best choice (unless you will be waltzing).
What is truly amazing about the Model XS is that for such a small device, it is still packing a full 2.1 channel sound system. Two 1″ tweeters and one 2-1/4″ woofer are in this diminutive shell, and your ears will definitely appreciate the attention to detail. For listening via Bluetooth/line-in, the Model XS is powered by a digital amplifier; when using the FM radio (with the built-in antenna), the Model XS uses an analog amplifier for best sound. Both deliver 12 watts, which serve up better sound than any other Bluetooth speakers of this size that I’ve tried. Although exceptional sound is a big part of this (quite tiny) package, Geneva’s elegant design and precise focus on usability make the Model XS outstanding.
Geneva’s naming convention tells you the relative size of all their speakers, so “XS” means this speaker is “eXtra Small;” since its main purpose is for traveling, the diminutive size is definitely appreciated. The design is influenced by old fashioned travel alarm clocks, with a protective case/stand combination that relies on a nifty series of hinges.
Opening the Model XS and propping the case open with the actual speaker activates the unit, so you never need to worry about the battery draining while the XS is packed away. Geneva’s signature dimple is present both on the outside of the XS case as well as on the grille of the speaker inside, so this speaker looks equally good open as it does closed. More importantly, it is only a bit under two inches thick and about one pound heavy, so your suitcase/briefcase/purse will barely notice it.
After opening the Model XS, a convenient LED time display shows up on the front, letting you know the unit is powered. Along the top is a series of illuminated, touch-sensitive buttons that let you wake the speaker from standby, change mode, and adjust both volume/tuning for the included FM radio. There is an alarm function that, sadly, does not allow you to wake up to music from your iOS device. Your choices are a very alarming beep or FM radio. Since Apple still refuses to provide a wake-to-music alarm in the clock app, this oversight in the Model XS is hardly a dealbreaker.
The Model XS ships with a simple cloth travel case to handle the speaker itself as well as the AC adaptor for charging the internal lithium polymer battery (note the unit does not recharge via USB). Five hours is the official figure for the battery life, but in testing this figure was easily exceeded using Bluetooth streaming and line in modes – anywhere from six to seven hours at moderate volume was easily achieved. Speaking of Bluetooth, pairing is dead simple, and the Model XS clearly identifies itself in the iOS audio source menu, so getting audio to the speakers is extremely simple. Range is also excellent, with no noticeable static until you put about 20 feet between the speakers and the streaming device.
Although not within everybody’s budget, the Geneva Model XS is definitely worth every penny. If you spend a great deal of time on the road and need exceptional sound, the XS is one of your best choices (apart from a pair of headphones). Even if you just use it around the house, the Model XS delivers Geneva’s signature precision sound in a package that is sveltely designed and engineered to be both intuitive and useful.