Ten... wireless speakers
In the air tonight
Product Round-up The iPod can take credit for creating an entirely new market for compact speaker systems, yet iPod sales are now starting to taper off as people move their music onto smartphones and tablets.
No one wants their phone or tablet to be out of action while it’s docked inside a speaker system, so manufacturers are now adding wireless capabilities to their speaker systems too. Now you can stream songs from your handset even though it stays in your pocket.
Bluetooth is practically ubiquitous among smartphones and tablets, so that’s the main technology currently being used for wireless speakers, but we’re also seeing the higher-quality Apt-X codec starting to gain ground too, along with Apple’s AirPlay, which claims to provide ‘lossless’ audio quality over your home Wi-Fi network.
Altec Lansing inMotion Air
The inMotion Air is one of the cheapest speakers in this group, but it provides good sound quality and some handy features. The speaker doesn’t have an iPod dock at all, with only a solitary 3.5mm line-In socket providing a wired connection. Instead, it uses Bluetooth to connect to most mobile devices, along with support for the Apt-X codec for those devices that support it. There’s also a separate USB dongle to provide wireless connectivity with Macs and PCs.
The audio quality’s very good for such a compact device, with firm bass and enough volume for a dinner party or summer BBQ. It’s got a rechargeable battery too, and is light enough to easily pick up and carry from room to room.
Reg Rating 85%
More info Altec Lansing
Audyssey South of Market Audio Dock
Audyssey brings its experience of high-end audio systems to this impressive home speaker system. The distinctive pedestal design houses side-facing woofers and tweeters, enabling it to fire a really rich, solid sound into the air all around it. There’s a small dock on the front for an iPod or iPhone, and it also includes a microphone so that you can use it as a speakerphone, as well as audio input and output so that it can be used with VoIP applications on a desktop computer. It’s a classy bit of kit but, at over £350, still a bit pricey for what it delivers.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Audyssey
Next page: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
Don't know if its just me.....
But I just *hate* superfluous features.
I don't have an iPod or iPhone and, while many of these speakers will work with the non Apple kit I *do* have, it just grates my sensibilities that there is this prominent "dock" that I'm never going to use.
Even when they can be hidden away, you still know its there, but can't be used so, for me, the dock-free Altec Lansing has to be the clear winner.
You could have said "*iPod* wireless speakers". I thought this was something interesting.
From a tech site, I'd have liked to hear how many of these support DLNA's "Play to..." function, to be useful with non-Apple kit too.
Of jacks and docks
I can use the audio in jack if I want to. I can use it with just about any audio source I can find.
I can use any of the buttons on the dash if I want to.
I can't use the iThing dock because my phone isn't an iPhone and my music player isn't an iPod.
To continue your car analogy. You can buy cars with built in bike racks. You can sling pretty much any bike onto them. It doesn't matter if I don't use the rack, my bike will fit it if I want it to.
If the rack was custom designed to fit the bikes from a certain manufacturer, and my bike is from a different manufacturer, then its not a matter of "don't use", its a matter of "can't use" unless I buy a new bike from that certain manufacturer.
What I would have to do is fit an after-market bike rack and ignore the factory fitted one, which would be an arsingly stupid situation.