Creative ZiiSound D5x
The D5x is an updated version of the D5 speaker that we rather liked last year - and which is still available at a reduced price of £230. The D5x looks and sounds very much the same as the D5, producing a crisp, clean sound via Bluetooth and a fuller, more detailed sound when using the Apt-X codec - there’s an Apt-X adaptor included for iOS devices, with an optional USB adapter also available for £40. However, the key difference is that the D5x can be used with an optional wireless sub-woofer, which costs £140. You can also link multiple D5x units with the sub-woofer, to create a wireless 2.1 or even 3.1 system.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Creative
JBL On Air
JBL has really gone to town with its new On Air speaker. As well as supporting Apple’s AirPlay wireless technology, the On Air also includes an FM tuner and an alarm clock. It’s even got a small LCD screen that displays the time, menu settings, and album artwork too. The sound quality is good – very clean and clear on higher frequencies, and with respectable bass given that the speaker itself is actually quite compact. However, the maximum volume is relatively modest, which really means that the On Air might work best in the bedroom rather than as a main speaker system in your front room – which makes it fairly expensive for an alarm clock.
Reg Rating 80%
More info JBL
Next page: Libratone Beat
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.
Re: No "affordable" options?
Yeah, I'm with Tim here. Even a bit in the box at the top of the first page indicating the price range would have been handy. As it is, I had to click through five pages of kit and read all the summary boxes to find out there wasn't a single model that I could even begin to afford.
I mean, it's only a wireless speaker. I have a San Francisco Smartphone and a no-name chinese Android tablet that, combined, cost less than the cheapest of these speakers. And I guarantee I'll get a lot more use from the phone and tablet.
No "affordable" options?
I know "ten eye-wateringly expensive iPod speaker docks, some of which might have AirPlay" is more of a mouthful than the title you chose, but it would've arguably been more accurate :-(
Just for starters: if you want to round up some "wireless" speakers, where are the Bluetooth models? They're not all tinny £30 jobbies - Creative's D100 puts out surprisingly good-quality output over Bluetooth (A2DP), and if you shop around you can find it online for under £50. (I saw the D100 on sale for a short time in our local Currys for £35, and having tried one out in the store, I'm still kicking myself that I didn't go for it.)
Personally, I've never seen the point of an iPod dock that costs three times the price of the iPod docked into it, but maybe I just lack imagination...