As distinctive and striking as Teenage Engineering's OP-1 Portable Synthesizer is, it wouldn't be unreasonable to mistake it for a toy at first glance. The tiny speaker, the large, brightly colored knobs, the big, bold print and labeling — its physical characteristics can give off the vibe of "my first synth." So seeing CEO and head of design Jesper Kouthoofd strap it on with the brand-new “guitar strap” accessory, attach a small plastic crank to one of the knobs, and perform a synthesized "guitar solo" (complete with whammy bar dives thanks to the OP-1's accelerometer) is quite a sight to behold. He certainly looks the part of the beginning-to-age European punk rocker, unkempt hair flying — though his axe of choice is not a Fender or Gibson, but a tiny, futuristic-looking keyboard.

The performance sums up two things about the OP-1, as well as Teenage Engineering itself. For starters, the toy-like appearance of the synth is not an accident. This company values fun above nearly all else — head of sales Tobias von Hofsten told me that "fun is one of our guidelines in everything we do." Secondly, the OP-1 is a high-quality, professional-grade tool that brings something unique to the synth market, despite its playful appearance.