Genius' SP-Tempo 350 is billed as a portable speaker - and it is quite diddy. But with foldable or superslim iPod speakers a common occurence these days, the SP-Tempo 350 seems quite chunky.

However, the Genius SP-Tempo 350's travel credentials are helped immensely by a smart-looking carry case. Open up the SP-Tempo's box and the system will be all wrapped up in a foamy carry case, that has room for the included USB lead and AUX input lead. However, no matter how hard we tried to force the issue, we couldn't get the mains power lead into the carry case, which seems a bit daft.

The Genius SP-Tempo 350 can be powered via the mains, or using four AA batteries. It has a little groove in the back that makes it easy to pick up and cart around. However, the buttons feel a bit cheap - they give off a big ‘click' when you press them.

The controls are also rather basic - the four buttons on the Genius SP-Tempo 350 are for volume up/down, power, and for switching between the iPod input and the AUX channel. These controls are replicated on the big-buttoned remote control, alongside basic skip forward/back controls.

There's no fiddling with EQ settings or anything in the iPod's menus, so you're stuck with the iPod's EQ presets in that respect. The Genius SP-Tempo 350 also won't charge the new iPods (nano 4G, touch 2G, and classic 120GB).

The sound is good, especially when you consider the Genius SP-Tempo 350's £35 price tag - the size of the unit means the sound isn't as tinny as some travel speakers. Audio is clear, but sounds a bit dull if you're really listening. It goes pretty loud for a portable speaker, though.

OUR VERDICT

At just £35, the Genius SP-Tempo 350 sounds pretty passable, if a bit lifeless. It’s bigger than most travel speakers, so it’s not really one for the backpacker - but it’ll serve you well if you want to shove it in the car for a weekend jaunt away.