The JBL On Stage Micro III is the most bizarre-looking iPod dock on the market, resembling a futuristic pinwheel hovercraft. Not only is it a shape you can stare at for a while without understanding, but it also produces an incredible sound that will have you furrowing your brow trying to understand how that iPod dock sounds that good. Its attention-snatching design, delightful sound, 12-hour battery life and unique USB interface earn it our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award.
The dual 1-inch JBL transducers with computer-optimized equalization housed in the dynamic JBL Weave design make an iPod dock with great sound that can fill a room with 360 degrees of sound. Atop it all sits the universal iPod dock (adapters not included) that plays and charges most iPod and iPhone models while connected to an AC power source or computer via USB. The On Stage Micro's unique USB interface is one of the best features offered by this iPod dock, and allows you to sync your device with iTunes directly from the speaker dock.
In addition to AC and USB power, you can operate the JBL iPod docking station with four AAA batteries (not included) that last for up to 12 hours of playback on a single charge. The auto standby feature and low power consumption help preserve battery life so you can take it anywhere without worrying about running out of juice.
There is a line input to connect MP3 players that don't interface with the dock or any other audio source with a line output, making the JBL a highly versatile option for people looking for portable iPod speakers. With its unique connectivity options, you have a lot of control over the content you play through your speaker dock and the devices you use – virtually any source, digital or analog. As a result, you get much more than just a set of iPod speakers with the JBL iPod dock.
You can use the onboard controls to adjust the volume or mute the iPod docking station's output. In addition to the controls on your docked device, you can easily control these JBL iPod docks' features using the compact remote control (battery included). The remote controls the volume, play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and menu scrolling and selection functions from up to 15 feet away.
As we've mentioned, this compact, lightweight MP3 dock weighs less than a pound and can go anywhere you do, probably with longer-lasting energy. By the time you're exhausted and just want to sit back and listen to soothing music, the JBL will still have plenty of battery life to let your On Stage Micro serenade you to sleep. You can easily check its energy status with the LED indicator light that shines through the transparent dock platform. Factor in the easy-to-use touch controls and remote control with a 15-foot range and you've got an iPod docking station that is far easier to operate than it is to comprehend its shape.
Let's get down to the sound now, shall we? The On Stage Micro III uses two 1-inch Odyssey transducers with an inverted aluminum dome that provides full-range frequency response for high-performance audio from a tiny stereo system. These transducers contain a neodymium magnet and four-layer voice coil for a high output power that can fill most rooms with high-fidelity JBL-quality sound.
With all the options for controls and connectivity, you might expect the On Stage Micro III to be difficult to use. The reality, however, is that it's extremely easy. The onboard and remote controls are simple and straightforward. If there's anything you can't figure out on your own, there is a comprehensive user guide that you can consult for quick answers, diagrams and control explanations.
JBL provides excellent customer support that can be accessed in a number of ways. You can contact technical support by phone or email. Their customer service team is very quick to respond, with an average turnaround time of less than 24 hours. They answered all our questions quickly and efficiently.
The JBL website is easy to navigate and has online manuals, spec sheets and FAQs for commonly asked questions and quick troubleshooting for common problems. You can also use the website to locate the nearest JBL service center for problems requiring hands-on support. The On Stage Micro III iPod dock is covered by a one-year warranty for the electronics and a five-year warranty for the loudspeaker components, so your product is well covered right from the start.
There are plenty of reasons to choose the JBL On Stage Micro III iPod speaker dock. We'd love to see JBL increase the battery life in this device or future models. Still, if you're looking to impress your guests with a futuristic iPod dock that provides killer sound and interfaces directly with a PC, then this MP3 docking station has no rival.