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CES 2013: best speaker docks

Got an iOS device? Like sound? Then you may want to cast your eyes over this little lot of speaker docks, all unveiled this week at CES 2013

Got an iOS device? Like sound? Then you may want to cast your eyes over this little lot of speaker docks, all unveiled this week at CES 2013.

£TBC, uk.jbl.com

JBL has launched a triple whammy of Lightning-equipped speaker docks this year. The OnBeat Mini is a portable, travel-friendly model compatible with all Lightning-equipped iOS devices. It features two full-range transducers and a built-in DSP that serves up “crisp, room-filling sound”.

Then there’s the JBL OnBeat Rumble, which totes Bluetooth and JBL parent company Harman’s TrueStream technology alongside a Lightning dock, making it compatible with pretty much any smartphone, tablet or laptop. As the name suggests, this is a hefty speaker designed to produce a booty-shaking quantity of bass.

Last in JBL’s line-up is the OnBeat Charge, which eschews a physical dock in favour of Bluetooth wireless streaming (although it does come with a USB port for topping up your phone or tablet’s battery). Designed to be taken out into the wild, the dinky little Charge sports a rechargeable battery that delivers up to 12 hours of on-the-go music playback.

JBL OnBeat Mini, OnBeat Rumble and OnBeat Charge

£TBC, panasonic.co.uk

Panasonic has unleashed a veritable torrent of iOS-compatible gear this year – far too many items to cover in this round-up – but we’ve picked out a highlight in the SC-NP10, a speaker dock designed for pretty much any tablet (the pic shows a 9.7-inch iPad, so anything bigger than that might not fit though). The device features a 2.1-channel speaker setup, and uses Bluetooth for audio streaming. It holds your tablet (or phone or, ugh, “phablet” we suppose) at a nice viewing angle, too. UK availability is yet to be confirmed, but it’ll cost around US$200 (around £125 at the current exchange rate).

£180, belkin.com/uk

The dramatically-named Thunderstorm works with the iPad 2 and 3 (a Lightning version is coming in the spring), encasing it in a snug plastic shell and pumping out its sound via an amp and a pair of front-facing speakers. There are three settings to tune the audio for different types of material. Look out for it in shops from February.

Panasonic SC-NP10

£TBC, ihomeaudio.com

This 2.1-channel alarm-clock-radio-dock is a charging maestro, boasting not only two Lightning docks but a USB output for topping up batteries on multiple devices at once! It also offers a line input for other stereo audio gear, and its clock automatically syncs with the time on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. There’s no UK price confirmed as yet, but it’ll cost around US$150, roughly £95 in the Queen’s currency.

£TBC, iluv.co.uk

Designed for the iPod Touch and iPhone 5, the Aud 5 “features reinforced bass through a passive radiator” apparently, as well as Bluetooth for wireless streaming. We’re just pleased it has a bunch of physical controls up top allowing you to control music playback without having to awkwardly prod the docked device’s touchscreen.

Belkin Thunderstorm

£TBC, logic3.com

Would you buy a speaker dock just because it has the famous prancing horse Ferrari logo on it? Probably not – but the GT1 might be worth a look anyway, thanks to its unusual “2.2.1” speaker array, which incorporates a 6.5-inch subwoofer to deliver bass lower than a F50’s engine growl (probably). There’s a pull-out dock for iOS gear, as well as Bluetooth for wireless streaming from pretty much anything.

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home

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