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Philips Fidelio iPod/iPad Docking Speaker Review

PHILIPS DS8550/10 FIDELIO IPAD/IPHONE DOCKING SPEAKER

Rating: ★★½☆☆

My first impressions were very positive, it certainly looks very slick and would look at home in most living rooms.

When putting the system to use I was further impressed by the sophisticated remote control that comes with the dock. This remote gives you full control of the iPod – giving you access to your full iPod menu. This contrasts quite significantly from the Bose SoundDock (1st Generation) I already owned. With the Bose, you can only control the volume and next/previous track.

Another benefit is the built-in rechargeable battery that the Philips Fidelio has – a great function for a docking system that classes itself as portable.

So far, so good.

However, this is where the positives began to waiver a little…

My initial thoughts of the sound were quite good. At a fairly low volume level (background music) there was a good balance of both bass and treble, meaning that both vocals and instrumentals were being played at a pleasant equal level. But, with just a slight increase to the volume, the bass would suddenly become overpowering – taking over and more-or-less drowning out vocals etc.

I experimented with a variety of different sound settings on the iPod’s equaliser – from extra-bass (unbearable) all the way through to bass turned off – which surprisingly still played out this excessive bass. I even played around with a variety of different music genre’s – from hip-hop, to dance to rock…each with a different reliance on bass, but still producing this excessive bass sound.

To qualify the above further, the majority of the time I would be listening to hip-hop (which has a heavy reliance on bass) and would usually increase the bass setting and reduce the treble. Previous hi-fi’s, my Bose system, my car stereo and even my Apple earphones seem to cope with this fine, but the Fidelio seemed unable to keep the sound true. I would go as far as saying that Philips’ promise of “Precisely tuned bass pipes for deep, tight bass reproduction” has possibly been to the detriment of higher frequency sounds.

As mentioned previously, I already had the Bose SoundDock – in my opinion, the sound quality is better with the Bose as I have never experienced this sound distortion – even with the Bose system turned right up and with a heavy bass setting selected.

Overall, I must admit that the Philips Fidelio looks very slick – so if you are looking for something to be a centre piece in the room, I think the Philips is in with a shout. The Fidelio is extremely easy to use with its iPod friendly remote and I would definitely look for this feature when purchasing future docking stations. In addition, it is compatible with the iPad and also comes with an in-built re-chargeable battery for use on the move.

Pros

  • Functionality of the remote is great
  • Built-in Rechargeable battery
  • Compatibility with iPad (although I did not test this)

Cons

  • Bass too heavy
  • Size – its quite big for a ‘portable’ speaker
  • Cost

Verdict

Given the cost of the Fidelio and my experience, I would probably stick with my Bose SoundDock, as I think the sound quality is superior – and at the end of the day, this is going to be the primary reason for your purchase. Alternatively, you could also look at the Beats Boombox Sounddock – having tested this in a store, I think the sound quality of this blows both of these out of the water. The added fact that the price of the Beats ‘box seems to be on the way down means that my money would probably go on this next time I upgrade my iPod speaker.


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