POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 16, 2012
» What it is: High-end travel speakers (a woofer, two tweeters), an FM radio and an alarm clock that fold into an upright position like a retro travel alarm — an attractive one — with a clamshell case.
» The good: For anyone accustomed to the shallow, often tinny sound of many travel speakers, this will blow you away. The bass is rich; the higher pitches are true, and at 1 pound and about the size of a fat paperback novel, it's still compact enough to carry even if you avoid checking bags. This is the first travel-speaker system tested that was capable of being too loud. Plus you have the benefit of FM radio and a travel alarm. But the rich sound is why you would spend the money. It's almost like Sinatra and Nelson Riddle were there in the bed-and-breakfast with me. This has Bluetooth wireless capability, with a range of about 30 feet, and a short cable is provided for non-Bluetooth devices. The rechargeable internal battery makes it fully portable.
» The bad: If you don't read the directions until after pushing every available button, you might coax the box into a "mind-of-its-own" moment, where it hesitates and blinks for a bit, apparently trying to figure out what to do. The solution is to turn it off and start over.
» Cost: List is $250, but shop.
» Available from: genevalab.com, amazon.com and crutchfield.com (where it was $200 at press time).