Geneva Lab Model XL review

It's quite possibly the biggest iPod dock you've seen, but the Geneva XL isn't without its charms Tested at £1500.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It’s really not for everyone, but the XL’s a must-try for those with lots of money, lots of space and adventurous taste


  • +

    Huge-scale sounds with plenty of pace and detail from the mid and treble

  • +

    lovely styling if you like that sort of thing


  • -

    Ridiculous styling if you don’t like that sort of thing

  • -

    DAB wouldn’t go amiss

  • -

    stand costs extra

  • -

    bass could be a touch more controlled

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

One person's brilliant is another's ridiculous, and both words have been used in equal measure when reviewers have come face-to-face with the Geneva XL for the first time.

One thing's for sure; it certainly provokes a response. But then, how many other gigantic, 38kg, square iPod docks are out there?

You could place the XL on a table-top, but it would have to be darn large and sturdy. Much better is the bespoke stand, which is a £150 premium, but pretty essential in our opinion.

CD and iPod playback
The unit's glossy top houses a slot for CDs and a flap that conceals the dock; below, you get line-in and FM connections.

The bright display shines clearly through the top-right of the mesh-like fascia, and behind the convex centre section hide two 20cm subwoofers, two 13cm mid-range drivers, and two 2.5cm tweeters, all powered by a 600W Class D amplifier.

And, yes, it's got just as much welly as its girth suggests. It's an enjoyable noise, too. Vocals are clear and detailed, cymbals have loads of exciting sparkle, and there's tonnes of chunky bass.

The only reservation is that this bass is just a little too rounded, and even over-bearing in anything except a very large room.

Big in more ways than one
Of course, the price is a stumbling block, too, and other than the extra volume (both musically and physically) it doesn't offer much over the cheaper Model L – surely we should at least get DAB radio for £1500?

And, of course, for the same money you could put together a fully specified and rather exceptional, ‘proper' hi-fi system.

However, if you're the kind of person who finds that kind of thing a bit boring and fancies more of a stylish centrepiece that doubles-up as a party-rocking performer, you may just have found your prime candidate.

See all our five-star iPod dock system reviews

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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