Packed with extras
Slightly high price
When judging iPod speaker docks for the home, there are two major points to consider: sound quality and price. Secondary factors, such as style and extras, also factor into the equation.
When judged on these criteria, the Boston Acoustics i-DS2 iPod speaker dock is a terrific success. It boasts excellent sound quality in a small package and is jam-packed with extras, and though its price may be on the high end and its styling plain, the overall experience it delivers is top notch.
Great-Sounding iPod Speakers
The most important question when it comes to speakers is, of course, how do they sound? In this case, they sound great. The i-DS2’s twin 3.5-inch speakers produce clear, detailed sound that let you pick up all the nuances of your music. Even at very loud volumes the speakers maintain fidelity and don’t distort the music.
Some smaller speakers tend not to produce great bass response, but the i-DS2 does. Bass is rich and deep, so much so that, in my testing, it created a deep vibration in the legs of the table I placed the speakers on. Pretty satisfying.
The i-DS2 is designed to work with all iPods with dock connectors, but can also work with other music players through a line-in jack and with the iPhone when the phone is in airplane mode. IPods are charged while docked in the i-DS2.
The included remote control lets you turn the speakers on and off, move back and forth within playlists (but not navigate the iPod completely), and control volume.
iPod Speakers Packed with Extras
Great sound will always set speakers apart from the pack. The i-DS2 is set even further apart, though, because of the many extras it includes.
While the built-in dock connects the iPod to the speakers and charges the iPod, if you use the included USB cable, you can even connect the speakers directly to your computer to sync your iPod. While this isn’t strictly a necessary feature, it’s a nice touch.
Another nice touch is the addition of a video-out jack to the back of the speakers. Since many iPods have video capabilities, adding the ability to play video from the iPod on a display with audio through the i-DS2 is neat.
Though these features might not be employed by all users, I expect that those who do use them will really appreciate them.
Limited by Style and Price
The i-DS2’s few drawbacks come in the areas of style and price. The speaker dock is a 5-inch-tall by 12-inch-wide block of black plastic whose full face is taken up by the speaker grill. There’s just no interesting styling here and the curve and bevel where the grill meets the back of the dock just doesn’t look that good. Though Boston Acoustics will sell you different colored speaker grills (for $15 each), a color change doesn’t save the looks of the i-DS2. It’s just too blocky and plain.
And the plainness of the styling is an issue given the dock’s US$179 price tag. While that price isn’t bad for speakers that sound this good, I’d like either to see better style at this price or a slightly lower price (maybe in the $150 range).
Still, the i-DS2 sounds great, and I don’t expect that people looking for great sound will be turned off by spending a few extra dollars.
Despite these small issues, the Boston Acoustics i-DS2 iPod speaker dock is full of useful extras and, most importantly, produces great sound. Any iPod user who’s looking to get a big, terrific sound to fill a room or two should give the i-DS2 a look.