Pioneer XW-NAC3 mini hi-fi
Pioneer XW-NAC3 review: A mini hi-fi stereo that has two iPod docks and good sound
- Dual iPod docks useful for shuffling between music on two iPods, great sound quality
- We're not sure how often you'd use both iPod docks, no Wi-Fi, no FM radio
Pioneer's XW-NAC3 mini hi-fi is full of innovative features. Even if you're not using the dual-iPod shuffle feature, the second dock might be useful for charging your iPhone while listening to music on an iPod. Internet radio is also available (although there's no wireless networking support) and Bluetooth streaming works well. We think that given the range of features on offer the Pioneer XW-NAC3 is worth its asking price.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The Pioneer XW-NAC3 is a mini hi-fi that takes the unusual step of incorporating two iPod docks — if two iPods or iPhones are plugged in, you're able to shuffle between music on both devices seamlessly. It's also got everything you'd expect in a $700 hi-fi system, apart from the baffling lack of FM radio and no Wi-Fi.
Pioneer XW-NAC3 mini hi-fi: Design and features
The Pioneer XW-NAC3 is well designed, as far as iPod docks go — we've seen far less conventional layouts before. The low placement of the XW-NAC3's screen on the front might be a minor concern if you plan to keep it on a low-slung coffee table or kitchen counter, though. All the buttons are arranged on the mini hi-fi's top around the two iPod docks and are clearly labelled. An input selector button switches between iPod playback, Bluetooth streaming, USB, and Internet radio (once it's set up).
Dual iPod playback is the XW-NAC3's defining feature. If you have two iPods or iPhones plugged in — in our testing we swapped between a iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and a 5th generation iPod Nano — you can play music off either, or press the centrally placed shuffle button to play music off both. Songs from both devices' music libraries are played: When a song finishes on the first device, the XW-NAC3 cross-fades into a song from the second. You can also use a smart shuffle feature that plays the first ten seconds of a song and then moves on, letting you quickly pick a song from either iPod.
USB playback is simple, with a top-mounted port that is hidden by a cap. The range of files played back by the Pioneer XW-NAC3 is impressive — as well as support for MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC formats, the FLAC format is supported, allowing high-quality lossless audio to be played on the XW-NAC3.
If you plug the Pioneer XW-NAC3 into your router via Ethernet — annoyingly, there's no integrated Wi-Fi — you're able to access tens of thousands of Internet streaming radio stations. We appreciate the inclusion — you've always got something to listen to — but in a $700 product we would have liked to see Wi-Fi included for ease of setup and use. We're also unsure why FM radio wasn't included.
Bluetooth audio streaming — we used an iPhone 4 — works well with no drop-outs in streaming while we were within around 8 metres of the Pioneer XW-NAC3. Sound quality isn't as good as directly connecting a device for music playback, but in a pinch it's OK. Pioneer has a range of equaliser and DSP settings that make compressed audio sound a little better — bass and treble are slightly tweaked to make tracks played over Bluetooth a little less muddy.
Pioneer XW-NAC3 mini hi-fi: Sound quality
The Pioneer XW-NAC3 has excellent sound quality for its size — we'd put it on par with the audio from the Sonos Zoneplayer S5 and Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, with warm and rich sound that could easily fill a medium-sized room. The XW-NAC3 doesn't have particularly strong bass, but treble is clear and mid-range tones are detailed and not at all muddy.
We were able to push the Pioneer XW-NAC3 all the way to its maximum volume without encountering any speaker distortion. The warm sound remains constant all the way to full volume, as well — it doesn't become harsh or booming. The Pioneer XW-NAC3 also presents a wide sound-stage, with good separation between its stereo speakers. Music sounds as if it's coming from a larger hi-fi system rather than a little single-cabinet speaker.
Pioneer XW-NAC3 mini hi-fi: Conclusion
If you're an iPod junkie, if you've got your digital music collection stored in a range of formats and devices, or even if you're looking for a convenient charging station for a couple of Apple devices at once, the XW-NAC3 makes a compelling argument for itself.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 2 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 3 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 4 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- Google eyes remote content controls for parents in YouTube Kids app
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- TPIT PMO LeadNSW
- FTPeopleSoft Technical Campus Solution DeveloperNSW
- CCEnd to End Project ManagerVIC
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerACT
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- TPICT Customer Support Officer - MurwillumbahNSW
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerVIC
- FTEnterprise ArchitectVIC
- FTSenior Drupal DeveloperQLD
- FTProject Control Analyst - PMOACT
- CCProject Delivery LeadQLD
- TPSenior Sitecore Developer (.NET)QLD
- TPAgile Projet AdministratorVIC
- CCBusiness Change ManagerNSW
- CCMaster Data Officer - SAPNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerQLD
- FTSolution Architect - Datacentre / StorageVIC
- CCSplunk Software DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior Communications Advisor - Australian TelcoVIC
- FTPrincipal Consultant / Account Delivery Executive.NSW
- CCSSIS / SSRS DeveloperNSW
- FTBusiness Intelligence DeveloperSA
- FTsolution ArchitectNSW