Speaker dock reviews

Take a bus ride these days or walk down the street and nearly everyone you pass is tuned in to a portable music player.
 
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02.Results

The following models scored the best results in our test 

What to buy
Brand Price
XtremeMac Tango # $299
Teac SR-Lxi-B # $199

The tested speaker docks can be used with most iPods (Apple's MP3 player), however, some early models may not fit. All docks except the Bose have an auxiliary input jack so you can connect other sound input sources such as a CD player, radio, computer or another brand of MP3 player.

Without an auxiliary line input, the Bose can be used only with an iPod. We think this is pretty limiting, especially as this model cost a fair bit more than the others in our test. It scored well overall but because of this limitation we’ve excluded it from the What to buy list (below).

The XtremeMac performed best in the test. The Teac scored lower for sound quality but is cheaper to buy.

About our test

The XtremeMac dock was the only one that our expert panel thought produced enough bass for dance music. It scored 73% for sound quality overall, whereas the others ranged from 40% to 67%.

Three of the four docks that scored 45% or less for sound quality were among the lightest and smallest in the test. Such low bulk can come at the cost of sound quality. They simply lack the power to fill a larger size room with good quality sound — some started to distort the sound when played at higher volume.

Energy use of the smaller docks in standby mode was generally good, but it can show how underpowered they are. Most only used about double their standby power when playing rock 'n' roll music.

 

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Results table

Full results for all models are showin in the table below 

  Performance Features Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Sound quality score (%) Ease of use score (%) Standby power score (%) Price ($) Rechargeable dock Recharges MP3 player when docked Line in for everything else Other stereo features Dimensions (mm, H x W x D) Weight (kg, incl. dock and power cord)
XtremeMac Tango #
www.xtrememac.com
75 73 90 60 299 2.1 (subwoofer) 129 x 363 x 251 3.3
Teac SR-Lxi-B #
www.teac.com.au
71 63 98 70 199 182 x 321 x 72 2.9
Bose SoundDock #
www.bose.com.au
70 67 90 50 449 169 x 304 x 165 2.5
EDS SP250 #
02 9666 5888
68 64 90 50 250 3D sound processor 239 x 454 x 165 6.6
Logic3 JiveBox MIP100K #
www.logic3.com
68 60 89 80 299 2.1 (subwoofer) 193 x 180 x 180 3
Altec Lansing inMotion iM600 #
www.alteclansing.com
66 57 93 70 199 SFX 153 x 283 x 119 1.2
Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere#
www.logitech.com
58 45 95 70 230 StereoXL 94 x 333 x 62 0.9
Cyruslink Link Dock #
02 4351 9663
56 45 88 70 149 97 x 206 x 114 1.3
JBL on stage III #
www.jbl.com
55 42 93 70 330 52 x 191 x 191 0.7
Philips Docking Entertainment System AZ1330D #
www.philips.com
53 40 95 60 210 Dynamic bass boost 145 x 351 x 256 3.6
 

Table notes

#Discontinued, but may still be available in some stores.

Prices are recommended retail, as of March 2008.

Overall score This is made up of:

  • Sound quality: 70%
  • Ease of use: 20%
  • Standby energy: 10%

Features See Useful features for more details.

 
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