Hercules XPS Lounge 2.1 review

It is pretty astonishing what you can get in the iPod world for only forty quid, though you can certainly get better sound if you'll spend a little bi Tested at £40.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

In performance-per-pound terms, this is a lot of iPod system for very little cash


  • +

    Comprehensively equipped package

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    ludicrously low price

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    respectably decent sound


  • -

    Considerably better sound can be had if you spend more

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.

Hercules iPod speaker systems don't typically fit the dictionary definition of Herculean: ‘having enormous strength or size'. Yes, this system is relatively large, but where it really comes into its own is in the fact that its price-tag is anything but Herculean.

And, no, that's no typo – this really is an iPod dock with two pleasingly fashioned speakers and a subwoofer for just forty quid. If there was an ancient god of great-value budget products, we'd like to think this system would be named after him instead.

The XPS Lounge 2.1 is attractively designed: the stereo speakers have an attractive curve that'll look good on your desktop. It's all easy as pie to get up and running, and when you do, the big surprise is how good it sounds for the cash.

Somewhat soothing top end
We were expecting a treble sound fashioned from broken glass and killer wasps, but were surprised when we heard a top end that's fairly solid, smooth and mellow. The little subwoofer backs things up with a deep thump. It's not the most accurate or well-integrated bass in the world, but for £40 quid, it's actually rather good.

Of course, there's a (strong) argument that to get a decent performance you should simply spend more than this. And the obvious flaws here – lack of detail, realism and integration – lose the Lounge a star, even at this price.

However, we do admire this system for what it achieves at the price. If you're after an iPod speaker system, and you really want to spend as little as possible, give it an audition.

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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