Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS Digital Cinema

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Pros

  • Chic, compact design
  • Sparkling sound quality
  • Bluetooth and Dolby Digital decoding

Cons

  • Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi
  • Movie mode too subtle
  • Slightly fiddly remote

Review Price £399.90

Key Features: Built-in Bluetooth streaming (A2DP); 250W total power output; Dolby Digital decoding; Music and Movie modes; Supplied Control Pod and learning remote; Tabletop or wall mounting; Optical digital and two analogue audio inputs

Manufacturer: Boston Acoustics

Boston Acoustics’ SoundWare XS Digital Cinema is a 2.1 speaker system with a difference. It’s equipped with built-in Bluetooth streaming, which allows you to beam music wirelessly from smartphones, tablets and PCs – as well as decoding movie soundtracks and playing back tunes from other external sources.

Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS Digital Cinema

In the box is a pair of compact front speakers and an active subwoofer. And when we say compact we mean it – the SoundWare satellites measure a tiny 108 x 113mm, while the sub stands just 251mm tall, making it perfect for living rooms without an abundance of space.

Not only are they small, but they’re also beautifully formed. The satellites sport a highly distinctive multi-sided shape, with ridges and angles aplenty. But what makes them irresistible is the gloss-black finish that adds a sleek lustre to the design. They’re also available in gloss white if that’s more your bag. Build quality is superb too, particularly at this price, reaching a level of luxury akin to recent systems from Cambridge Audio and KEF.

The drivers are covered by a metal mesh with the Boston logo bang in the centre. When mounted on a table top, the drivers point upwards, as if throwing their sound up and into the room, but they can also be wall-mounted using the provided brackets

On the back of each speaker is a pair of metal springclip terminals, which are easy to access and hold the supplied cables firmly, but the small hole doesn’t make it easy to connect thicker cables. Below each terminal is a groove for easy cable management.

The subwoofer is the heart of the operation, and as such sports all the necessary connections on its rear panel. Although the design isn’t exactly radical, its matte black finish and rounded edges don’t put the system to shame either, allowing it to sit discreetly in a corner without drawing attention.

Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS Digital Cinema

On its rear panel you’ll find a tremendously useful array of sockets. Alongside the matching springclip cable terminals you’ll find optical digital audio, analogue stereo and 3.5mm minijack inputs, the latter allowing you to connect MP3 players and other portable devices.

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