Review Round Up: iPod Docks Page 4

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Key Features
$150 logitech.com
• Speakers: two 3-in mid/bass drivers, two [1/2]-in tweeters, four 2-in passive radiators
• Amplifier: N/A
• Remote control
• Connections: minijack audio input 
• Dimensions: 15 [1/4] x 5 [1/4] x 2 [1/2] in
• Weight: 1[1/2] lbs

Logitech S715i
The iPod and iPhone are first and foremost portable devices. So why not make a dock that's portable, too? Logitech designers asked that question and then answered it with the S715i, a dock that runs on AC power or its own rechargeable Ni-MH battery, rated for 8 hours of playback time (depending on volume level). It is big enough to work as a desktop at-home player, but small enough to tuck into an included cloth travel case that holds the player, power supply, and remote.

The dock, which is quite attractive in an upscale-boombox sort of way, uses a punched metal grille (the same type found in some automobile sound systems) to protect the speakers. The small chassis holds no fewer than eight speaker elements: a pair each of woofers and tweeters, and four passive radiators. The S715i's slickest feature is a hinged plastic cover that folds back to reveal the dock connector. It protects the connector when traveling and - when folded back, pressed down, and snapped into place - forms a sturdy stand to keep the unit upright.

The only buttons on the chassis are the power and volume controls. One complaint: The power button can get accidentally turned on, possibly running down the battery during travel. This is an annoying flaw in a battery-powered portable device. Cleverly, a multicolor LED provides a plethora of information including power on/off, charging mode, and battery life. Another nice touch: When using battery power, the dock automatically turns off when you turn off your iPod. A tiny remote control (if it slips behind the seat cushions, you may never see it again) provides simple playback controls.

I was shocked when I first listened to this dock. I said to myself, "This thing actually has some bass response!" Yes, the S715i has some unwelcome midrange coloration and lacks high-frequency sparkle, but it has an overall warm and woolly sound that stems from the substantial bass. This dock's wide stance even provides good stereo separation. It also plays surprisingly loud, albeit with increasing distortion when pushed toward maximum volume. As noted in the owner's manual, sound quality is somewhat reduced when using battery power to improve playing time. Although the difference is audible, the reduction in quality shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Logitech's S715i is a neat little dock. It is highly portable, and its clever features and sturdy build quality show that someone put thought into its design. Throw in a rechargeable battery and delightful sound quality, and you have the perfect traveling companion. Personally, I've been looking for a low-cost dock for travel. I'm glad I found this one.

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