Neat Motive 3 review

Entertainers of the highest order: sit them on solid stands, feed them a decent signal and they will not fail to deliver Tested at £755.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Entertainers of the highest order: buy and enjoy!


  • +

    A sparkling sonic presentation that presses all the right buttons

  • +

    compact size


  • -

    Not the most refined speaker on the market

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.

Think of NEAT's Motive 3s like a frisky little puppy, and you won't go far wrong. Like our furry energetic friends, they're not fully housetrained, and so can make a mess at times, but you can't help but love them regardless.

That's the Motive 3s all over. They have rough edges: that inverted metal dome tweeter isn't the most refined, and if pure analysis is your thing, they stand accused of rounding off the finest of details. Avid readers will know we're not shy about knocking off stars for such shortcomings, but in this case we don't think that's justified. Yes, these Neats aren't perfect (what product is?), but they're so good in so many other areas we can forgive them such minor transgressions.

Unbridled enthusiasm
Rarely do we come across a pair of speakers that deliver dynamics with such conviction. A piece such as Holst's Mars usually has most rivals quaking in the corner, particularly when replayed at high volumes, but the Neats welcome the vicious dynamics and complex orchestral arrangements with open arms, and deliver this excellent tester with unbridled levels of enthusiasm.

The sense of scale and low-end authority is surprising considering the speakers' modest dimensions – they're 33cm tall – and makes most similarly sized rivals seem undernourished in this area.

However, switch to something like George Clinton's latest set or the Gorillaz' Demon Days and the NEATs change from dinner jacket to casual wear. There's everything you could ask for: taut, punchy bass, crisp propulsive timing, and the ability to deliver explosive dynamics when required. And the Motive 3s hammer out Mary J Blige's latest set, the intricate rhythmic framework delivered with breathtaking precision.

So there you have it. The NEATs are entertainers of the highest order. Sit them on solid stands, feed them a decent signal, and they can't fail to please you.

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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