Apple iPod Hi-Fi

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Apple iPod Hi-Fi
  • Apple iPod Hi-Fi
  • Apple iPod Hi-Fi
  • Apple iPod Hi-Fi
  • Expert Rating

    2.00 / 5


  • Apple styling, Works with every iPod, Produces decent bass


  • Sound quality, Price, Size and weight, Dock-insert removal

Bottom Line

If the iPod Hi-Fi wasn’t marketed as producing audiophile-quality sound, then perhaps we’d be inclined to be a little more lenient. At this price, we can’t recommend this system to anyone.

Would you buy this?

Well, it took much longer than we expected, but Apple has finally decided to jump into the accessories market for their famous iPod. Enter the iPod Hi-Fi; a "crystal-clear, audiophile-quality sound in a clean, compact design." Well, at least that's what the gurus at Apple marketing are telling us. Unfortunately, we disagree. Wholeheartedly.

Basically, the iPod Hi-Fi has been designed and marketed to replace your current home stereo set-up. Apple's motto seems to be "Why keep CD's when you can store all of your music at your fingertips?" In theory, this doesn't sound too bad at all, but in reality, the iPod Hi-Fi doesn't come close to delivering the quality sound of a dedicated CD based home stereo system.

Apple has marketed the iPod Hi-Fi as "compact" despite measuring 431.8 mm x 167.5 mm x 175.3 mm. While we agree that it is smaller than your average stereo component, it still is quite chunky and isn't really as small as Apple would like us to think. The handles on either side of the unit are hinting at portability, but weighing 6.6 kilos, this is somewhat wishful thinking and we can't see anyone lugging such a unit very far at all.

The design of the unit is what we've come to expect from Apple - simple, stylish and quite attractive. Finished in an all white plastic with a removable black mesh speaker grille cover, the iPod Hi-Fi definitely wouldn't look out of place in your lounge room or bedroom. The rear of the unit houses a compartment with space for 6 D size alkaline batteries. This is locked by a coin operated slot lock, making it thoroughly secure in case of any accidents. There is also a combined analog and digital optical input jack that allows you to connect the iPod Hi-Fi to your computer or to any other device with an audio output.. We appreciated the fact that unlike similar units, the Hi-Fi doesn't require an external power brick; the power supply is built into the unit itself.

The iPod Hi-Fi uses clip-in pieces of plastic which slot into the dock insert on the unit. There are ten of these included in total; one for every model of iPod ever released. This ensures your iPod fits snugly and securely into the Hi-Fi and that the dock connector isn't damaged by unnecessary movement. These dock inserts are fine if you are only planning to use one iPod in the Hi-Fi, but if you plan to constantly swap them over, removing them is quite a hassle. We found ourselves using a small screwdriver to do so and this isn't really convenient.

Apple has bundled a remote control with the Hi-Fi, and this is the same remote that is included with the new range of iMacs. Basically looking like a miniature iPod Shuffle, the remote allows you to access most of your iPods features, including Menu, Play/Pause, Next/Previous Track and Volume Up/Down. You'll still have to change play lists etc. from the iPod itself, but most of the other functionality is possible with the remote. An excellent feature of the Hi-Fi is the speakers menu that appears on your iPod (this feature only works with the iPod nano and iPod Video) when it is plugged in This menu allows you to adjust Tone Control with three presets; Normal, Bass Boost and Treble Boost. Depending on where the Hi-Fi is placed and what your music tastes are this may be worthwhile adjusting.

To say we were disappointed when we quickly fired up our iPod into the Hi-Fi would be an understatement. We were waiting for crystal clear sound, but what we got was a lack of treble detail that made higher frequencies difficult to hear. Any complex music pieces, such as classical tunes, were overpowered by instruments in the midrange, which is not what "audiophile-quality sound" should be. Furthermore, there was an obvious hissing sound when the volume was cranked up to higher levels and this does affect your listening experience.

What we like about the Hi-Fi is the bass it produces; definitely ideal for heavier tracks and something that should please a lot of people. But this is where the good points end. You may think we're being harsh, but the fact remains that Apple is advertising the Hi-Fi as "audiophile-quality" and this is far from the truth. At a hefty $549 at the time of release, the Hi-Fi is one of the most expensive speaker systems on the market and unfortunately, it doesn't live up to its billing. If you're going to spend this much, grab the Bose SoundDock instead - you'll walk away with a far better system and change from $500.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?