Review: boynq’s iCube II and Sabre “gender specific” Speakers for iPod - Macenstein

Review: boynq’s iCube II and Sabre “gender specific” Speakers for iPod

Everyone knows girls like pink things and men like black things, right? Well, boynq does, and has decided to take the traditionally gender neutral iPod speaker system back to grade school with their “Boys vs. Girls” colored iCube II and Sabre speakers.

boynq iCube II
Top: boynq’s sabre iPod speakers. Bottom: the iCube II.

boynq, makers of a wide range of unusual-looking (in a good way) speakers has created an entire pink/purple/white “Pour Femme” line to compliment their manly “Pour Homme” black/gray/chrome offerings. The two speakers we got a chance to review (the iCube II and the Sabre) were of the manly variety, but Pour Femme models are available. Aside from looks, the speakers are identical.

boynq iCube II
Above: A size comparison between the Sabre and iCube II.

The Sabre

First up is the $79 ( Amazon) Sabre, whose design reminds me somewhat of a futuristic dune-buggy. Your iPod rides up front in the docking cradle, and the speakers face outward to either side. Controls are minimal, with power and bass knobs to the left, and treble and volume to the right.

boynq sabre
Above: boynq’s Sabre iPod speakers, in manly black.

The Sabre delivers decent sound for its price point through the two 10 watt, 3″ speakers that dominate the rear of the unit. By combining treble and bass adjustments with a mid-range reducing EQ preset on your iPod, you can get some nice sound from the Sabre, but you’ll likely find yourself with the bass pinned at the max setting for most songs.

boynq sabre

The Sabre surprised us a bit with the range of extras that come with it. First, you can of course charge your iPod while docked in the Sabre, but thanks to the female dock connection in the rear, you can also connect the Sabre to your computer via either FireWire or USB and use it as a docking/syncing cradle for your iPod (I had hoped that with the Sabre acting as a “bridge” between the FireWire cable and a 5th gen video iPod I would be able to sync it via a FireWire cable, but alas, you still need a USB cable to sync newer iPods). You cannot play music out of the Sabre when connected to a computer via a dock cable, however there is also a line-in jack for connecting to audio sources such as computers or MP3 players like the shuffle. One thing to look out for on the dock cable; it is positioned too close to the power cable, so it makes it difficult to pinch in the two release catches on the dock cable without unplugging the power cable.

The Sabre sports the “Made for iPod” emblem, and includes 6 different docking cradle adapters to fit pretty much any pre-6th gen iPod. Another nice feature at this price point is the inclusion of video out, via either composite or S-Video connections (cables included). This is a nice touch, as you can use the Sabre serve as a bridge for watching your iPod videos on a larger screen. I’m not sure how many people will take advantage of this in practice, but it’s an added bonus for those people who do not want to run out and pay for an iPod AV/cable.

boynq sabre

The iCube II

The $49 (Amazon) iCube II is the cheaper (yet to my mind) the better looking of the two. Its “old school” design harks back to the 20’s or 30’s and just plain looks cool. You power the unit on by pressing the large round volume knob in the center. When pressed, a very cool looking orange glow surrounds the ring, and the boynq logo glows as well. On the “female “Pour Femme” model a pinkish light surrounds the knob).

boynq iCube II
Above: boynq’s iCube II.

Like the Sabre, there are controls for both treble and bass adjustments, and like the Sabre you’ll find you’ll have the bass knob pinned to its maximum setting, wishing it went to “11”. In short, the two 5 watt speakers look better than they sound, but the somewhat midrangy quality is to be expected given the iCube II’s size and price. The iCube II lacks the video out of the Sabre, but has the same audio out/line in and female docking ports as the Sabre, meaning it too can be used as a docking cradle for your computer.

Our only concern with the iCube II was the giant power/volume knob felt a bit flimsy, and while it held up well in our testing, we wonder what a couple months of daily use might bring.

boynq iCube II


Available in both pink and black, the Sabre and iCube II both present interesting and compelling designs that will likely catch the eye of budget-minded speaker shoppers this holiday season. The Sabre is the better sounding of the pair, but not by much, and the iCube II is the better looking. If video out is not a concern for you, but price is, we’d recommend picking up the $49 iCube II.

boynq Sabre

Price: $79 ( Amazon)

Pros: Great price, unusual design, fits most “older” iPods, has line in for newer models and shuffle, can charge iPod as well as sync to computer, sports video out, cables included, available in both “boy” and “girl” models

Cons: Sound is decent, but at the end fo the day sound sliek a $79 speaker

boynq iCube II

Price: $49 (Amazon)

Pros: Great price, cool design, fits most “older” iPods, has line in for newer models and shuffle, can charge iPod as well as sync to computer, cables included, available in both “boy” and “girl” models

Cons: Sound is decent, but at the end of the day sounds like a $49 speaker

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