Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini
As you can see from the pictures, the Mini's iPod connector is raised above the upper edge of the speaker unit. B&W supplies a range of clip-on sleeves to fit a number of iPod and iPhone models that help you connect your player smoothly. They're not essential, but they do give the player more support when it's rotated through 90° to activate Apple's CoverFlow feature - the pivot is a nice touch for which B&W should be commended.
Keep it in its comfort zone
We tried the Mini with an iPhone 3GS, from which it won't amplify and relay radio noise as some, cheaper speakers do. It'll also work with dockable iPods from the Classic onwards - Nanos have to be generation two or later. Other models - and other brands - can be connected through a 3.5mm jack. The Mini also has a USB 2.0 port so you can sync in situ.
Whatever musical genres float your boat, the Mini will deliver them to you with aplomb. At any volume level, the speakers' output is clear and crisp, without distortion. The bass comes out best when the volume is in the middle: there's not quite enough of it at the very low or very high settings.
The Mini has the volume to fill a big room, but it doesn't feel comfortable doing so. It's at its happiest pumping out tunes into a bedroom, study or small living room, somewhere where you'll want the volume at listening rather than hoofing level.
Keep the Zeppelin Mini in its comfort zone - not too loud, not too quiet - and out of cavernous rooms and you'll thrill to its lively presentation. Two speakers set so close are never going to give you spacey stereo, but the Mini more than compensates with clarity and volume. Our only real concern is the price: £299 isn't unreasonable, but Bose's equally impressive SoundDock II is £50 cheaper. ®
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