Speaker docks for iPods have become increasingly commonplace, and a wide range of options can be easily found at both your local drugstore and at your favorite electronics retailer. Docks that can accommodate a larger tablet device (i.e. an iPad) are also flooding the market, and I got a chance to test a fine performing one from Sony, the RDP-X700IP. Billed as a "premium" iPad speaker dock, I was pleased to fill my office with sounds from both music and movies, as well as test the AirPlay wireless functionality.
Sony Does It Again With Design
As mentioned in my review of the Sony Vaio S laptop series, I've always been enamored with Sony's level of design. Sound systems are no less coveted, as I recall one of my earliest "boom boxes" to be a cool dual cassette Sony machine with wait for it...detachable speakers (wired, of course). Even in the last decade, when shopping for a CD player for one of my first apartments, I spent a little extra for a design oriented Sony "Hi-Fi" micro component system. Now that the CD player is more commonly found in thrift stores and garage sales, Sony has shifted some of its mobile audio focus to speaker docks, and the minimalist design of the RDP-X700IP figures to add a great looking speaker to your coffee table or bookshelf. A single brushed stainless steel control panel with only a few small buttons and even smaller indicator lights lines the top of a mountain shaped speaker. The device features a small popout tray for your iPod (most models), iPhone, or iPad to rest and connect. The tray is deep enough to accommodate most cases, so this piece was well thought out from the beginning. The rear of the speaker contains just a few input plugs (LAN, power, and auxiliary in) so overall, the design emphasizes the speaker and that's probably how it should be for a speaker dock. The compact form factor can be conveniently carried, moved, and setup in seconds in new locations, though you'll need to be close to an outlet as there's no battery in this baby.