Mobile / Hands-on Review

iPod Speaker Docks


Of all the technical innovations that Apple has added to their iPod line over the years, perhaps the dock connector is the most overlooked. Its design has remain unchanged since it was introduced in the 2nd generation iPod, and is present on all models save the shuffle. The dock connector has standardized the connection for accessories, and has served as an interface for digital audio output, FM radio tuners and transmitters, external microphones and external battery packs over the years.

An extremely popular dock-based accessory for the iPod is the venerable speaker dock. The speaker dock is a simple idea: a set of powered speakers that can play audio from your iPod. Because the dock also carries control information and supplies power to the iPod, you can often control playback via the speaker dock and it will also ensure that your iPod stays charged.

Sony ICF-C7IP Clock Radio

Sony’s ICF-C7IP Clock Radio is a great option for iPod and iPhone owners who want to wake up to music—their music. It is a fully functional alarm clock, AM/FM radio and speaker dock. Time is displayed on its large LED display, and a remote control is included for easy operation.

You can set the alarm to buzz, play the radio or play a song from your iPod. The time sets automatically, and it automatically changes between Standard and Daylight Savings Time. Thirty presets are available for your favorite radio stations. Best of all, when you are awakened in the morning to the sound of your favorite song, you’ll be happy to know that your iPod or iPhone has fully recharged while you slumbered.

Altec Lansing inMotion Classic iPod Speaker System

The inMotion speaker dock from Altec Lansing is compatible with iPods and iPhones alike. Stereo speakers provide room-filling sound, and a wireless remote control is included. The dock itself also features audio controls, and a built-in digital FM tuner allows you to use it as a radio. An LCD shows song information and allows you to change stations when listening to radio.

In addition to operating on standard AC power, the dock can run on battery power. A built-in rechargeable battery can provide up to five hours of playback, making it a great option for outdoor parties and barbecues. A built-in handle makes transport easy. There is also an auxiliary audio input jack, allowing you to use it with any music player that features a standard headphone jack—just use an optional 1/8” male to male cable!

Pioneer XW-NAC3-K Double Dock

Pioneer’s iPod and iPhone-compatible XW-NAC3-K sets itself apart from other speaker docks by virtue of one immediately noticeable feature—dual dock connectors. You’ll be able to dock and charge two players at once, which seems superfluous if you’ve only got one iPod, but a huge convenience if you've got two.

It also is compatible with Bluetooth audio devices that support A2DP streaming. This includes the iPhone 4 and many other popular smartphones. If you have Wi-Fi at home, you can stream Internet radio through the speakers, and support for the DLNA standard allows the speakers to play music stored on your home computer or NAS storage device.

Composite video output allows you to connect the dock to your TV. You can then watch videos stored on your iPod on your TV. iPhone and iPod touch owners will be able to play YouTube video and output it to the TV via this connection as well. And, just in case you were wondering how you would control all of the bells and whistles that adorn the speaker dock, a wireless remote control is included.

Only a Handful

These are only a few of the dozens of iPod speaker docks that are available at B&H. Please browse our selection to find the one that is right for you!