Is there really any room left in a saturated marketplace for another iPod speaker combo? Genius seems to think so with its chunky boombox the Genius SP-Tempo 800.

On first impression, the  Genius SP-Tempo 800 throws some unusual shapes with its quirky loaf-of-bread design. It looks a little like something that wants to come from the Bose or Bang & Olufsen stables, but initially doesn’t quite pull it off.

But while up close the  Genius SP-Tempo 800 is not a great looker, put it up on a bookshelf in your living room and it at least looks inconspicuous with its black and silver styling and cute LED buttons.

The  Genius SP-Tempo 800 works with every iPod apart from the shuffle and there’s a selection of docking cradles included. Plumbing it in is quick and easy – just attach a couple of cables and you’re in business.

Then comes the biggest revelation. Far from being a primitive sound box, the SP-Tempo 800 turns out to be a cracking performer. We were immediately impressed by the quality of sound. With 20W of speaker capacity and a rugged case construction, the  Genius SP-Tempo 800 delivers excellent sound throughout the range.

Punchy bottom end, decent middle frequencies and fine-sounding treble makes the  Genius SP-Tempo 800 a decent all rounder with no hint of distortion, even with the volume cranked right up. A brace of 70mm drivers inside the casing are more than up to the job.

Four buttons along the top of the Genius SP-Tempo 800 allow control of various functions, but rather more convenient is the natty black remote control that comes with the unit.

It runs off the mains, however, so portability is limited to the length of the power cable, but for sharing your music around the house the Genius SP-Tempo 800 makes good sense for both performance and value for money.


The Genius SP-Tempo 800 is full of surprises. The styling may not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for rock-solid audio performance then this keenly priced speaker system is the business. It’s far from sophisticated and doesn’t boast any groundbreaking technology, but it gets the job done brilliantly. And at under £60, that’s hard to beat.