Boynq Sabre Review

Highs

  • Unique design; video and audio output; compatible with most iPods

Rating

Our Score 6.5
User Score 0

Lows

  • Bass lacks punch; odd placement of speakers; occasional pops from control knobs
The Sabre seems more appropriate for small spaces like dorms, studio apartments, office cubicles, etc

Summary

Boynq, a product line by “youSP” in the Netherlands, has a new iPod dock speaker system – the Sabre – available for $129 USD. With little-to-no company information available to consumers, Boynq has managed to carve out a name for itself with its unusual and often hip-looking products. The Sabre has a funky design, two 10 watt speakers and can push audio and video from 5G iPods to a TV set. Though looks are important, solid performance and superior sound quality are the ultimate goal of any speaker manufacturer. Does the Sabre live up to the hype? Read on to find out.

Features and Design

Most consumers these days are primarily interested in how products look. Function and quality sometimes take a secondary role. The Sabre certainly delivers on looks. The matte black and silver speaker system looks like an extraterrestrial croissant. It has sharp curves, rounded edges and two wire mesh speakers on its left and right sides. The front of the Sabre has a button and three analog-like knobs to control power, bass, treble and volume as well as the iPod docking bay. The rounded back side of the Sabre has line-in, line-out, S-VIDEO out, an iPod dock connector port and the power plug.

Boynq includes six (6) iPod dock adapters, so the Sabre can be paired up with 3G, 4G and 5G iPods, minis, nanos, etc.

Sadly, there is no remote control. If you want to change your music selection, you need to get off your duff and do it manually. In the slothy world of 2007, manual controls are more of a flaw than a feature.

Technical Stats

The Sabre has two 3″ speakers that put out 10 watts each (10w RMS), giving a total system output of 20 watts. While 20 watts is nothing to celebrate, the Sabre has a more impressive frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz. This wider frequency range allows for deeper bass, clean mids and higher high notes. Of course, this is relative and limited by the peak 20 watts output and the unusual placement and directionality of the speakers.

Accessories

The Sabre comes with six iPod dock connectors, a 1/8″ audio cable, an S-VIDEO to RCA cable and a 1/8″ (3.5mm) to L/R RCA audio cable. Finally, the small power adapter and an even smaller user manual are included. No remote control. No battery bay. No kidding.

Boynq Sabre
The Boynq Sabre

Setup and Use

Setting up the Sabre is pretty easy. Remove it from its packaging and set the main unit on a table. Plug the power cord in, select and install the appropriate iPod dock connector, attach an iPod, power both up and hit play. It’s that easy.

Manual controls for volume, bass and treble are unusual these days, what with most everything being fully digital (or digitally assisted). The old school knobs allow for pretty accurate corrections, though it’s entirely a matter of preference and comfort.

The Sabre has a line-in port for connecting the speakers to a laptop, desktop or any other audio source that uses 1/8″ audio cables. It also has a line-out jack for pushing audio to external speakers or to a TV. And as for pushing content to a TV, the Sabre has a built-in S-VIDEO port, allowing you to push video content from your 5G iPod to your TV set. If you have movies, TV shows or other videos on your 5G iPod, you can watch (and listen to) them on your TV.

The Sabre has a dock-connector plug on the back for connecting/syncing your iPod to your computer. You can use this feature with the iPod still docked on the Sabre.

Boynq Sabre
The back of the Boynq Sabre

Sound Tests

One of the most endearing design features is the perpendicular placement of the two 3″ speakers. Unfortunately, this design causes the sound to shoot away from the listener, leaving the sound waves to wander aimlessly before finally reaching one’s ears. By then, the sound seems thin or flat. Rotating the Sabre left, right, forward and back produce different sounds with varying power and depth. On a positive note, the left-right orientation of the speakers has a very interesting effect on multi-channel music. One can pinpoint individual notes as they exit their respective speakers, making a stereo equivalent to surround sound.

Breakdown – Jack Johnson: This song sounded pretty good on the Sabre. Bass was acceptable, mids and highs were ok, so long as the treble control was turned up no higher than 20%. Any more than 20% treble and any less than 90% bass and the song sounds like it’s coming through a tin can.

Breakdown – Jack Johnson: This song sounded pretty good on the Sabre. Bass was acceptable, mids and highs were ok, so long as the treble control was turned up no higher than 20%. Any more than 20% treble and any less than 90% bass and the song sounds like it’s coming through a tin can.

Trynna Find a Way – Nelly Furtado: This song has a fun, sexy bass undertone that is almost entirely missed by the Sabre. With the bass cranked up to 100% and the treble set to roughly 20%, there’s such a lack of critical bass that I had to check the song on another player to make sure there wasn’t a problem with the file or iPod.

One thing is for sure – the Sabre can be turned up very, very loud and it handles well. It’s other, more important areas where the Sabre shows its weaknesses, like bass and directionality of sound. When testing the Sabre, we noticed that there were intermittent pops from the power button and audio control knobs when they were used.

Conclusion

The Boynq Sabre is a futuristic-looking iPod speaker system that truly stands out in a crowd. While the looks get due praise, the overall output is hampered by the oddly placed speakers, both of which push music away from you at roughly 85 degree angles. The non-immersive sound waves seem to lack punch. There’s also no remote control for the Sabre, a fact that was poorly regarded at Digital Trends.

At $129 USD, we’d expect a more substantial and hearty experience. The Sabre seems more appropriate for small spaces like dorms, studio apartments, office cubicles, etc.; wherever sound waves can take advantage of acoustically friendly walls. In short, it’s not really something we’d enthusiastically recommend to friends or family.

Pros:

• Very unusual design
• Video/audio out for TVs
• Compatible with many iPods

Cons:

• Bass lacks punch
• Odd placement of speakers hampers music
• Occasional “pops” from control knobs