Review: BeoPlay A3 iPad Dock Page 3

Bottom Line

Rather than simply docking your tablet, what the A3 really does is transform Apple's device into something that B&O might have cooked up themselves: a stay-at-home luxury device, offering quirky ergonomics and good sound with a retro-modern aesthetic. It's a good sounding, great looking system that, used as B&O imagines, turns your tablet into a high-quality table radio or a tiny (albeit pricey) television set and doubles as a comfortable positioning system for touch-typing.

We've got a few quibbles - the lack of a headphone jack seems like an oversight (though since the A3 is really a personal listening device, maybe the design thinking was that it would serve, more or less, as an equivalent to headphones), and the gasket system is annoying for those uninterested, as B&O VP Henrik Lorensen suggested at the product's launch, in dedicating an iPad to use with the device.

Now, he's not totally offbase - for those upgrading from an original iPad to a New model, that approach might make a lot of sense, though the combination would still make for a pretty expensive portable TV/media center. Anyway, while the A3's price isn't stratospheric, the device clearly isn't aimed at a cost-sensitive consumer. 

Then again, there's really nothing else exactly like it on the market. The closest alternative would be something like the folding iMainGo XP speaker case, which is nowhere near as attractive, is far less compact when unfurled, and doesn't provide such a solid structure, but gives you a couple of headphone jacks and is far more affordable at a mere $119.

For a unit that more or less preserves the form factor of the iPad, the A3 does a bang-up job of providing solid audio performance: whether you're looking for improved laptop music playback or improved speech intelligibility for your tablet-based Netflixing or your Skype sessions, it certainly improves things.