In terms of design, the 1010is are compact and simple speakers, and while they don't offer glossy cosmetics, they do look pleasing in situ. Their straightforward looks and finishes (black, beech or cherry) allow them to easily blend into the room, while the centre speaker fully justifies its larger size by the quality of the sound it delivers.
The biggest and best surprise of all is the Q1000Si subwoofer's performance. Its ability to respond to sudden bass surges with a crisp sense of precision and speed, as well as enough sheer weight to offer resounding low-end muscle is breathtaking. It all adds up to a stunning performance that will quickly induce amnesia about how little you actually paid for it. Loves the actionAction movie soundtracks benefit from startling clarity and detail in the midrange, as well as a cohesive soundfield between all the speakers that is solid and well-knitted together.
Dynamics, also, belie the speakers' size and price. Big action moments deliver all the crash and swagger you'd expect for the money (and a little bit more), while a test with some multichannel music shows the 1010is making a good fist of negotiating their way around the subtle micro-dynamics of a jazz vocal or piano solo.
Sure, they're not the very last word in refinement and insight, and nobody should be deluded that you won't get a more subtle performance if you open your wallet a little wider.
But the truth is, this package sets a new standard at the £500 mark, a standard that combines smart, sensible design with fabulous performance and budget pricing, to create a product that we can only describe as stunning value. Given that, it really is hard to find fault.