iPod Dock Review

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Why Use an iPod Dock?

The compact disc has largely been replaced by MP3 files as the format for modern music, and MP3 player speakers can allow you to listen to the music stored on your iPod or other MP3 player without the encumbrance of headphones that cut you off from the people around you. Choosing the best iPod dock for the MP3 player you use can be complicated by the fact that there are so many MP3 docking stations available. You can use the information in this review site to compare the best iPod speakers and find the ideal portable iPod speakers for listening to your music the way you want, such as the Altec iMT320, Logitech S315i and JBL On Stage Micro III.

An iPod speaker dock provides the perfect solution for playing the music on your iPod at home or on the go when you want other people to hear your music as well – at parties, social events and other situations that are ideal for background music. Plus, these devices can store and charge your iPod or iPhone when they are not in use. Most docking stations are compatible with iPhones as well as most iPod models, including the classic, Nano and touch. Most of the iPod docks we reviewed work with the latest Apple devices, including the iPhone 4.

Portable iPod Speakers: What to Look For

There are a wide range of dock accessories available in all shapes and sizes, with many different features and functions, so choosing the best iPod dock can be a bit of a challenge without detailed information on what each MP3 dock can do. We evaluated the best iPod docks in terms of their features, performance, ease of use and customer support, and ranked each one using the following criteria:

Features
Though none of the iPod docks we evaluated had all of the features we looked for, we found some common features that span the range of functionality to look for when deciding on the iPod speaker dock that's best for you. These features include: the type of dock and adapters that accommodate the most number of iPod models, remote control, integrated CD player and radio, and the types of inputs and outputs each speaker dock includes and its portability. One of our favorite features, which is only available for some of the docks we reviewed, is a video output that allows you to watch the movies from your MP3 player on a television or computer screen while your iPod is docked.

We also evaluated each iPod dock in terms of compatibility with Apple devices and other MP3 players. While all of the speaker docks we reviewed can accommodate other MP3 players with a line input jack, they generally do not charge them, and you cannot control them with the remote.

Performance
We used this category to evaluate the sound quality of each iPod dock at different volumes. Most of these devices have sound enhancement technology that creates a bigger sound field than the speakers alone are capable of producing, for better sound from a small stereo. Some of these devices even have built-in subwoofers that increase the frequency-response range for a naturally fuller sound.

Ease of Use
We evaluated each speaker dock in terms of how easy it is to set up and use, and how intuitive the design and controls are. This includes both on-board and remote control buttons and their functions for controlling your iPod through the speaker dock instead of the controls on the iPod or iPhone itself.

Help & Support
Each company offers similar options for technical support and customer service, so we used this category to rate the quality of help and support provided by each manufacturer. We contacted each company with questions and recorded how quickly they responded and how useful their answers were. We also considered the terms of the product warranties in this section.

No matter what you’re looking for in an iPod dock, you’ll find the product that’s right for you in our lineup of iPod speaker docks. For more information, be sure to read our articles on iPod speaker docks. For all the latest technology news and gadgets, be sure to check out our Facebook Fan page and follow us on Twitter @TopTenREVIEWS.

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Electronics » Home Audio » iPod Dock Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Altec Logitech JBL iHome iLuv Philips Sharp Memorex Panasonic Jensen
Altec Logitech JBL iHome iLuv Philips Sharp Memorex Panasonic Jensen
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Lowest Price
Visit Altec iMT320
$38.99
Visit Logitech S315i
$107.87
Visit JBL On Stage Micro III
$25.00
Visit iHome iP46BV
$67.62
Visit iLuv i552
$77.71
Visit Philips Fidelio SBD7500
$109.27
Visit Sharp DK-AP8P
$99.00
Visit Memorex Mi1111
$88.49
Visit Panasonic SC-HC20
$64.95
Visit Jensen JiSS-585
$79.77
Ratings
9.65
9.43
9.38
9.28
9.20
9.18
9.10
8.75
8.73
8.13
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.75
10.00
10.00
9.00
8.75
9.75
10.00
9.38
8.75
9.50
10.00
9.25
9.00
9.25
9.38
9.38
8.50
9.38
10.00
9.38
8.75
9.25
10.00
8.75
10.00
7.50
8.75
8.75
9.75
8.00
7.50
9.25
7.50
8.75
8.75
7.50
 
Features
Dock Type Universal Universal Universal Retracting Adapterless Universal Universal Spring-Loaded Adapterless Universal Universal Universal Universal Universal
Charges Device while Docked
Includes Dock Adapter(s)
   N/A
N/A
  
Includes AC Adapter or Power Cord
Works with iPhone
 
 
Auto Standby
   
 
Fold-Out Stand
N/A
N/A
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Line In
Headphone Out     
  
 
Audio-Video Out     
 
  
USB Port   
       
Remote   
 
 
Radio with Programmable Presets     
  
 
CD Player        
 
Performance
Portable
  
Sound Enhancement
 
 
Interference Protection
 
   
Batteries 4 AA Built-in Rechargeable Lithium-Ion 4 AAA Built-in Rechargeable Lithium-Ion 8 C 4 AA 4 AA None None Built-in Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Battery Life 24 Hours 20 Hours 12 Hours 5 Hours Variable 8 Hours 6 Hours N/A N/A Variable
Design
Height (inches) 4.7 5.2 2.25 3.6 7.5 4.3 2.7 6 8.44 5.5
Depth (inches) 1.8 1.85 6.63 1.9 6.1 1.6 3 9.61 4.41 5.5
Width (inches) 9.5 1.8 6.63 13 14.2 12.2 7.8 13.4 15.13 13.75
Weight (pounds) 2 2 0.8 1.8 4.2 0.6 1.58 2.6 4.6 4.73
Help & Support
Telephone
Email
 
Live Chat
    
    
FAQs
Online User Manual
 
  
Warranty 1 Year 2 Years 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year (Parts) / 90 Days (Labor) 1 Year 1 Year 90 Days 1 Year 90 Days