My partner actually bought this for his mum ages ago, but since his mum no longer needs it he brought it back home for us to use. I was well chuffed as I'd wanted one of these for ages, since our iPod cassette adapter became useless in my stereo's dodgy tape deck! I have an assortment of random songs on my iPod and I love being able to listen to them at home without having to use the PC upstairs or my netbook, whose speakers aren't great at high volume!
This is basically a square shape which sits higher at the back. I think this looks pretty sleek; simple yes, but nice and small and unobtrusive. It is only around 6" x 6" overall, but the rounded corners make it actually a bit smaller. It sits a little over 3" tall at the back and only 1" tall at the front. A very portable size! It also has 4 non slip feet on the base, so although it's easy to move around it doesn't skid about if you knock it a little. This is good for me, as I have it sitting on top of my stereo in the kitchen; I don't have a lot of spare worktop space and despite the fact this is nice and small if it were sitting on any part of my worktop (as my kitchen is currently), it would be in the way! I have a 'mini' stereo system and this sits on top really nicely. The dock part of this is a cut-out in the middle, surrounded by the 4 small speakers. The speakers are covered in black metal mesh, as is typical for speakers, and this goes all round the unit with a matte silver trim between the speakers and the black base. It comes with a mains plug and the cable for this is quite long at approx 4ft.
The thing I love about this is that it's so easy to use. On the dock part there is obviously the connection point for attaching your iPod, but apart from this there are simply 3 buttons - on/off, volume up and volume down. This means that choosing songs is done through your iPod which some may view as a slight disadvantage, but it doesn't put me up nor down. I couldn't tell you the technical information about the speaker quality but I am perfectly happy with the sound it gives me. I do tend to listen at quite high volumes while I'm doing the housework and most songs play perfectly well. I do of course hear a difference between this and my stereo, but then my stereo speakers kick serious a*se! Some songs don't play so well at higher volumes and these tend to be bass-y songs. You can hear a bit of deterioration here; not tinny as such but a bit distorted. I'm sure you know what I mean, as everyone has heard a song through very poor speakers before I bet! Not that I think these are 'very poor', far from it - for the price my other half paid I think this is a brilliant wee thing.
The only fault I have encountered thus far, is that occasionally I will get a song that 'jumps', much like CDs can. It doesn't skip parts of songs though, it's more like a brief pause but it happens every few seconds throughout the song. It is very annoying, and I can only put this down to the dock as when using my earphones I have never experienced this once. Pausing the song for a little while before resuming play seems to stop this happening though, as does just skipping to the next one, and there is no rhyme nor reason to it happening, it appears to be completely random.
Any iProduct should fit on this too, it is plenty wide enough to accommodate the newer iPod Touch (as demonstrated yesterday thanks to my technologically superior 18 year old cousin) and iPhone, as well as the big iPods. The thing that really puts an epic smile on my face is the fact that it charges my iPod constantly while it's on the dock - even when the dock power is off, so long as it's switched on at the wall the iPod charges. I was so pleased at this, as I am always switching my (old, and possible slightly dodgy) iPod on and there is just no battery power left at all. So this is now completely avoided, as I listen to my iPod on this dock most days so the charge is constantly topped up.
Although, I have to point out that it does not charge my other half's iPod. I have no idea what iPods we are using now, as I'm completely out of touch with all these generations (isn't there a new one every darn week?!) and things, but the other half has what I think was the first Nano. When I switch mine on, it calls itself 'iPod mini', is rather chunkier than my other half's and is matte silver instead of white (or any other colour of the rainbow for that matter). Both of the iPods we use are no longer available to buy in shops! So, if that helps you at all, this dock charges mine but not his. It also appears to charge an iPod Touch.
When this dock came to us, it was actually covered in dried soap/body lotion/something I don't want to think about - the mesh over the speakers was completely clogged and I had my doubts as to whether it was going to even work. Happily, this came away easily after a scrubbing with a bone dry dish brush (upside down) and a lot of blowing! I can only assume that small amounts of water may have made their way inside this during it's lifetime, but apart from the minor skipping issue, there are no other faults at all.
When my partner bought this, he paid around £18 for it if I remember correctly, and he bought it in Tesco. To be honest, I think less than £20 is a great price for something that overall I am very happy with. I don't need supremely awesome sound quality when I just want to listen to some tunes in the house but again, I will say I'm delighted with the sound of this and I don't think miracles should be expected for the price and the size this is. Besides, if I want to blow my ears off with excellence I have my stereo. This fits the bill nicely for when I want to listen to my iPod and has the bonus of charging it too. I would very much recommend this if you are looking for a nice, good value and affordable dock for casual use.
The iPod is probably without doubt the biggest success in personal media and has really become synonymous as a generic term for any product in this category. Does anybody actually still refer to their device as an mp3 player?
Now, we know that the bundled headphones are rubbish but for those with just a wish to listen music privately they will suffice as much as any cheap pair would do. To really hear what is going on in the song structure and to hear all tones across the production you need to invest in something a bit more special. So does the same apply when you wish to hear the music in the comfort of your room with the music filling the space? Absolutely!
Docks for iPods are available in massive numbers coming in at prices as low as £15 and all the way up in excess of £1000. So what do you get for your money at the budget end of the market? Well, personally I automatically assume that you get reasonable quality audio at moderate volume and with limited distortion. After all the term "you get what you pay for" is pretty much appropriate in most cases.
With reference to this particular Technika model it is certainly true. When I bought it in store at Tesco it was priced at £29.99. I chose it because the styling was a little different, it fitted all iPods and it had a remote control. I could write you a list of features but it would be very short indeed. This is a basic loudspeaker for your iPod and nothing more.
The main features you will find absent is as follows:
The features that are available are a line in jack at an industry standard 3.5mm, a power button and volume controls. The unit is powered by a bundled PSU and does not accept batteries. A basic remote control is also included which takes a flat cell battery (included). It serves a purpose but I personally prefer to use the iPod itself to make changes.
In terms of quality the build looks reasonable enough and the lack of features means I haven't experienced much in the way of problems. However it is on the quality of the audio on which this product should be truly judged and here is sadly falls short. And by quite a margin too.
Selecting a variety of tracks from different genres and adjusting the volume I tried to find an optimum sweet spot which I could leave as my default preference. Unfortunately the sweet spot turned out be quite elusive. The 3w speakers are of poor quality and don't deliver anything that a decent mobile phone loudspeaker would be able to manage. As a dedicated device then it doesn't really fulfill it's role.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh?
Well the sound is devoid of any character and feels limp without a subwoofer. The absence of tone controls only serves to exacerbate the problem. In a medium to large room the sound is just swallowed up and feels hollow. Increasing the volume only offers marginal improvement as the poor speaker quality is exposed with distortion and vibration.
So it's all bad then?
Not quite. If all you want to do is hear a tune you know and love then the quality of the song itself is what really matters. You can happily spend time singing along to your favourite tracks and the fun is not really diminished. It's only when you start to demand that little bit extra that the system fails.
Cheap solution for those wishing to listen to their media in the open. I have heard budget speakers that sound both loud and clear and perform well in excess of this item. As a temporary measure or for being placed in a small room then it will be adequate but I suggest you look elsewhere.
This system is available only through Tesco but there are revisions to the model with the exact same product number. Some are available that also take AA batteries for true portability.
This unit fits all iPod types and charges at the same time. The iPhone is not officially optimized for this product but will work though there may be some quality compromises. It does however charge the iPhone.
I picked up one of these on offer in my local Tesco just before I was going on holiday. Priced at a little under £20, I wasn't expecting too much, just that they worked for two weeks and played something resembling what was on my iPod. To say I was surprised at what it produced is the understatement of the year.
It is portable so of course it is going to be small. Measuring about six and a half inches by six and a half inches by one and a half inches. Coloured in black, the lower half being plastic while the upper half is covered in the mesh found on most speaker units. It is powered by four aa batteries which are included or the mains adapter. You can run it off either and it will charge your Ipod when docked.
The SP-507B has a low output consisting of 2 x 3w RMS. Now you are not going to rattle the window paynes with that, but it delivers a clear sound which you can listen to in a pleasant manner. It alos comes supplied with a remote control for making life just that bit simpler.
It is compatable with all forms of Ipod and I can certainly vouch for at least the mark 2 and the touch. Other than that, there is nothing so no radio or sound altering features. Battery life is pretty short as it charges the iPod wearing the 4aa batteries out, so my suggestion would be to use a mains connection and travel plug where possible.
It is a simple device, a speaker and no more and for the price, i'd say that is fair enough. Technika is the electronics arm of Tesco, so while it may be cheap and cheerful, it is also very reliable and durable. twelve hours in a suitcase suffering my packing and baggage handles can testify to that. It is not loud enough to hold a party or annoy your neighbours, just enough to fill your room with music at a considerate level and help you enjoy your holiday. Once that is over, my advice would be to pack it away for next year.