Review: GEORGE by Chestnut Hill Sound

Review: GEORGE by Chestnut Hill Sound

Jan 24, 2008

Who's George? GEORGE is an all-in-one stereo system that allows you to dock your iPod and listen to your music. Chestnut Hill Sound has packed 5 speakers and a sub-woofer into one minimal package that comes in an industry standard white, with customizable skins and speaker covers to fit any d├ęcor. Your digital music collection is complemented by an AM/FM radio and an auxiliary jack to connect additional devices. It is a single unit with detachable remote, which features an iPod-like interface and an alarm clock.

We gave one of these away during our December Gift Bag, and the folks at Chestnut Hill Sound sent us one to test out for ourselves. Curious what we thought? Click through to see our thoughts on the George, as well as a video of it in action.

What makes it stand out?
The remote is what really makes GEORGE shine. We spoke with Chestnut Hill Sound's co-founder, Rob Friedman, who said GEORGE's strength lies in its powerful remote. While other iPod docks include remotes, no one replicates the mobile iPod experience in the home and downgrade the technology, controlling the iPod like a cassette player. We loved to be able to scroll through our iPod and control our music from across the room. This is useful in a variety of environments, from your desk while you are working, the kitchen counter while you are cooking, or during a party in your living room. An optional remote dock, allows it to charge remotely and could sit anywhere in your home. The remote's buttons are very intuitive and we love the traditional dial to control the volume (or scrolling through songs.) We also found the navigation jump buttons a big help (allowing you to jump through the alphabet or radio dial without having to scroll through every number or letter.)
All of the software on GEORGE is updated through regular firmware updates. The ability to update the system, demonstrates Chestnut Hill's counter attack on disposable technology. GEORGE includes a USB port which allows you to download updates to your computer and Rob told us that all new features will be available to GEORGE users for free. Rather than re-buying an iPod dock every few years, GEORGE is an investment, and is built to be flexible and grow with you and your lifestyle.

So, why would you want GEORGE for your small home?

It's small. They've packed an entire audio system into a small package that could sit unobtrusively in any room of your home. Adding a remote cradle allows you to store the remote elsewhere and control GEORGE from wherever you choose. The white aesthetic is a little austere for our taste, but we love that you can customize its look by adding wood veneers or colored speaker covers. The ability to change the look of GEORGE allows you to update it to fit your needs, so if you decide in a few years to move it to another room, you can revive its look, as well. GEORGE may be small, but it has strong sound in that small package. It's loud. Chestnut Hill brought on a team of audio experts, from the keyboard player for the Rolling Stones, to industry veterans, and the former Dean of the Berklee College of Music to test out their prototype. The final product is a force to be reckoned with. We blasted the heck out of this thing, and it could be heard loud and clear throughout every room in our 1000 square foot apartment. (So loud in fact, that our boyfriend admonished us that he could hear it as he came up the stairwell on the opposite side of our building. Hey, it was all in the name of science.) It's multi-functional. Every small home needs things that can do double duty, and GEORGE is no exception. A stellar alarm clock, all-in-one sound system, or even a set of speakers for your modest television setup, GEORGE delivers.

Final Thoughts
Much more than an overgrown alarm clock, GEORGE gives you all that you'd want from an iPod dock, and more. Its sound quality and functionality makes it the perfect all-in-one device, whether it be for your modest home theater, your home office, or your next party, this little system does the job.
It runs on the high end of the cost spectrum, at $500. And, despite its small footprint, GEORGE has a hulking power supply.

How to Buy:
Available online at Chestnut Hill Sound, and also available at Best Buy, nationwide.

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