Reviews related to : iPod docking stations

Apple did more than create the most popular media players in the world when they launched the iPod range, they created a whole industry producing accessories to allow people to get the most from their latest gadget. Docking stations were an obvious and early addition to this range of products. The iPod was great at storing your entire music collection and letting you take it with you on the move, but many people also wanted the freedom to use that same music collection indoors and from a decent speaker system. Why compromise on sound quality?

We've review many such products here at GadgetSpeak including those from Logic3, Intempo, Kensington, Gear4, Logitech and Altec Lansing.  The products range from the low-end ultra portable to high-end systems that would rival the quality of the best component hi-fi systems of only a few years back.


This is a stereo Bluetooth speaker unit built almost like a triangle – without coming to a point – meaning that the speakers have a larger surface area to height than would otherwise been possible in a unit of this size and shape.
I saw this at another of the numerous Christmas in July events, strangely although it was connected I could hardly hear anything and it was not that noisy a room. However I was listening to something on my audio unit when I unpacked this and plugged the supplied 3.5mm lead in, I immediately had to turn the sound down 25% on my audio device to avoid being deafened, so nothing wrong with sound output on my unit.
This next product is available from the web site.
The “thumbsUp!” Retro Touch Speaker is described on the packaging as being a wireless one touch, bedside smartphone speaker that can double as a USB phone charger.  I have to state right from the start that the appearance of the product in question, does not live up to this multi-tasking description.
This is another version of the recently reviewed item from thumbs UP that got the highly desirable and very rarely awarded 5x5 award. It has the same great volume increase ability to turn a low volume from and speaker into something desirable.
It is somewhat larger and also has a separate volume knob, it can show video on the screen if placed correctly and lets the sound come out of the speakers, yes I said speakers so there is stereo and while it can be run on batteries it is also possible to run on mains power. It is also possible to charge your playing device via USB while in situ. On the basis of what I have said above this surely is worth another 5x5 award.
689113 Orbitsound T9 Soundba

Orbitsound M9

I have previously reviewed several offering from Orbitsound. However unless my memory is failing this is the first with a sub-woofer and is certainly a first for a wirelessly connected sub-woofer, the main unit can be connected several ways.
Recently I attended an event devoted to Bluetooth. Perhaps it should have been called an event for iPhone and iPad. Anyhow of the few companies present who had items available that did not require an ‘i’ device this was the only one who has so far come through on their promise to send an item or items for review. Orbitsound have two new models the M9 and the M12, both should be available by the time you read this review.
This is a wireless (Bluetooth) speaker system that can also import via 3.5 jack and ‘i’ device dock. Pioneer is one of the better names in audio and the 30 watts output may convert you to this unit. So have they shrunk size to compete in this competitive area?
Pioneer XW-BTS3 bluetooth speaker measures 33x10x16cm, the last figure is without anything in the iPod device dock. My unit was white but they also do it in more standard black. Bluetooth is the main selling point here; it was easy to link to a range of devices. You can also use the ‘i’ device dock which of course will also charge your device while in place provided you keep the power lead connected to it.
686578 Roberts Sound70 Digital Sound Syste

Roberts Stream 70

As the front of the Instruction Manual calls it, CD / USB / SD / DAB / FM Digital Sound System with dock for iPod and iPhone. As I would say a proper audio system to suit everyone apart from those who still play LPs.
The main unit is 17x14x24cm with cables inserted in the rear. The first figure the height would need to be increased by the height of your ‘i’ device as this sits above the height mentioned and a couple of centimetres to allow insertion of CDs. The pair of provided speakers are 17x12.5x7cm each. They are hard wired with a 2metre long lead to a double plug arrangement that fits into the back of the main unit, so the maximum spread of the speakers is 4metres.
Imagine, if you will, a section of interior tubing that has been designed to bend (I was tempted to say “it like Beckham” but resisted) around an obstruction and you will have some idea as to the general shape of the Samsung DA-E550 product. This piece of kit is a Bluetooth, one-piece, audio speaker system with a docking facility.
Decked out in a high-gloss white coating, the DA-E550 unit has dimensions of 462.7 x 122.3 x 151.8mm (W x H x D) and weighs 1.6kg which does take it out of the range of a portable device.  Situated at each end of this curved cylindrical tube are the speaker’s cones which display fixed and flexible silver meshes with a silver phase plug protruding from the centre.  Arranged near the right speaker is an array of touch sensitive controls for Bass, volume and play/pause.
681945 roberts fusion radio ipod doc

Roberts Fusion

This is a DAB/FM radio and ‘i’ device player. That is the bare bones of a quiet stylish device, not the least of these is the ‘i’ device placement. Certainly I have never seen one in a similar place or one that comes up in such a way.
The main body is 32x10x15cm, however when the metamorphic ‘i’ device holder rises it adds 10cm to the 15cm height and 5cm to the 10cm depth, so the overall in ‘action’ size is 32x15x25cm. The height will be more with an iPad. It comes with a 5x8.5cm remote control that has 22 buttons however virtually everything can be done from the 14 buttons on top of the unit. These are bar type with one end doing one thing and the other end something else.
For those looking for a portable speaker for their work area, Yamaha has developed a unit that also provides iPod docking facilities.
If you are going for a distinctive look for your products, why not go all the way and design a unit that could easily be mistaken for something totally different.  When it comes to speakers, especially those that might be considered portable, this might cause a difficulty as the market is brimming with speaker units in an assortment array of shapes and colours.
Just over a couple of months ago I told you about the smaller sibling the Sound 100, here the slightly larger offering from the Roberts brand that does almost everything connected with Audio & in this case it includes Recording.
The Roberts Sound 200 measures 35x27x11cm, the last figure increases by 60cm when the six piece rod aerial is fully vertically extended from the back. You can record to SD Card and USB Stick. You can record from DAB, FM and CD as well or of course listen to them. It also has a dock so you can throw your iPod or iPhone into the equation mentioned for recording or listening.
This is a single powerful speaker sold by a company who make musical instruments and amplifiers to professional standards. So while you could say this is just an ‘iPod Dock’ you know to expect that it could give more.
Certainly this is not designed to blend in with the lounge furniture with its black colour unusual shape and heavy chrome handle and fittings all set off with the large holed metal grill all of course give it the effect desired. It is 20cm across around 30cm tall with iPod in place and around 25cm deep with cables protruding from the rear.
Here a dock that can ramp up the volume even without mains power, in fact it can work even if the ‘i’ device is not even docked in the unit. Yes in this form it is Bluetooth enabled even though it mentions Wireless, so connected or not.
The HouseParty Portable is 34x14x7cm and weights 1221grams with your ‘i’ device which can if required be docked. While most iPods can be docked using the standard connector later iPod Touch and the Phone and iPad can all also connect Wirelessly. Let me state here that ‘Wirelessly’ means without visible connection as it uses Bluetooth.
Even after the clocks went back most people are having to rise for work in darkness and while most will still be reluctant to get up in daylight you often need another pressure – other than your bladder – to get you from your bed.
For those with limited space this small unit may be ideal. It is 23cm wide at the face and 17.5cm at the rear, a maximum of 7cm tall at the face and 4cm at the back these figures are without your ‘i’ device inserted in the dock. Overall it is 8cm deep with leads inserted inset in the rear. The hard wired wire radio aerial is 1.4 metres long. Without your ‘i’ device it is an alarm clock radio controlled by two ubiquitous joystick controls on the units top.
674936 Roberts Sound100 CD DAB FM Dock iPod iPhon

Roberts Sound 100

Maybe it’s the wooden case but as soon as you take this from the box you feel quality. It is not just a DAB and FM radio it also supports iPod and iPhone as well as Auxiliary input and for dinosaurs like me it also has a CD player.
It is 32x21x10cm, the middle figure the depth is taken at the point where the mains lead enters as this is the deepest point. You can control it either from the buttons on top of the unit or from the provided landscape shaped remote control. There are four lines of three well marked buttons on the top centre of the unit, the ‘i’ dock is behind this. The central area of the face has the 6.8x2.5cm white on blue display, either side of this are the stereo speakers of the unit.
This is an ‘i’ dock but it can and does do far more. It has a built in FM Radio and clock with alarm it also has a sleep countdown timer so although it does support most ‘i’ devices everything mentioned in this sentence is built in.
The Gear4 AlarmDock Halo2 measures 15cm wide, 14cm deep and 18cm tall. The depth is only for the first 2cm – base – the top with the display is only 3cm in fact it is an ‘L’ shape with the front being the lower corner and you are looking above any ‘i’ device at the back. It is even more intelligent should you have more than one iPod Touch or iPhone using a free app available from App store.
With its passion for all things music and strong support for the Apple family of devices, it is not surprising that Gear4 has developed offering that combine these two elements in a single product such as the HouseParty Rise.
This Gear4 product is an app-enhanced alarm clock radio designed specially for use with the iPod and iPhone.  It also has Bluetooth wireless connectivity that expands its range of linked devices.  The HouseParty Rise has a stylish modern look.  Its overall shape has the appearance of an elongated squashed circle.
A visit to one of the increasingly popular Christmas in July events brought a Bluetooth speaker unit to my attention.
For a long time if you had wanted to add external speaker capability to a mobile device, you would have needed to make the necessary connection using an appropriate audio lead, unless, of course, your mobile device belonged to the Apple family of mobile devices.  In such instances you could mount your iPod, iPhone or iPad on to a docking station that would both charge the unit and give you access to the audio content.
The first allows you to connect your device Wirelessly, the second is a speaker dock for your iPod or iPhone that can be powered by ‘AAA’ barriers or mains. The first in traditional black, while the seconds come in four striking colours.
While I think ‘Street Party’ is a little optimistic for the use of this small unit, it can certainly enhance the sounds from a device connected to it either wirelessly or via a 3.5mm lead. You can even answer phone calls on it. It is 19x10x7cm the last figure the height is at the front the sloping back nature means the rear is only 6cm. If you are taking around and about then weight is important and that is 560grams, a good bit of that is its inbuilt battery.
Recently I have been coming across more and more speaker products that rely on Bluetooth technology as the main method for delivering audio content to them.
Continuing my look at product line-ups available for the festive season, Gear4 takes central stage.
While Christmas comes but once a year, the month of July often see a proliferation of events that are labelled as Christmas in July by various companies.  The reason for the temporary time-shifting of the festive season is so that interested parties get the chance to view the goods that manufacturers expect to feature, and hopefully be placed at the top, on the must-have lists of consumers.