Philips Fidelio Soundring
In a word, peculiar. This AirPlay speaker is one of the odder designs we’ve seen, thanks to its huge central hole. But it’s also versatile: lift it off its base and it’ll give you three hours of wireless music or six via a wired hook-up.
In action the Fidelio Soundring is good with dynamics, and has a fast, attacking sound that’s decent with vocals. Bear in mind, though, that it won’t go very loud – and if you do crank it, the sound can get rather hard and shouty.
NAD Viso 1
This Bluetooth system has enough girth to pump out a weighty sound and a wide enough wingspan to have a decent stab at plausible stereo imaging. And besides being able to handle wireless streaming from any aptX device, it also has a rotating dock for your iThing.
Musical, fluid and engaging, the Viso is a great listen when docked. Bluetooth setup is as easy as selecting the Viso in the menu and connecting. There’s an inevitable slight drop in sound quality as you go wireless, but nothing major.
How many times have you wished for a dock clad in Italian cashmere? If you’re anything like us, the long wait is finally over. The AirPlay-enabled Live is meant to stand upright – which is what our hair also did when we saw the price.
Chic doesn’t come cheap, though, and the Live does come with a nifty app that lets you apply EQ presets and even tell the Live where it’s sitting in a room, so it can adjust its sound accordingly. It's certainly loud: with 150W of power on tap, it’ll fill even a medium-sized room pretty easily.
JBL OnBeat Xtreme
The OnBeat Xtreme’s feature list rattles on and on: Bluetooth, a rotating dock for your iPod/iPhone/iPad, USB connection, video output, a built-in mic for making and taking phone calls, five EQ presets…
Dock your iThing using the (flimsy) clip provided and the JBL puts you in the mind of a puppy in a great mood. Fast, fun-sounding and eager to please, it bounces along with anything you throw at it. It’ll go loud enough to annoy your next-door-but-one neighbours, too.
B&W Zeppelin Air
B&W’s original Zeppelin was the first dock to bring anything approaching hi-fi into the realm of docks. We’ve loved it for years. The Air is its AirPlay version, and for our money it’s still the best Airplay dock out there.
The NAD and JBL options here have the edge, though – they’ll work with a wider range of kit and sound even better.
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