So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
The Sony ICF-C1IPMK2 iPod dock looks good but its sound is unimpressive.
- iPhone and iPod compatible, stylish design, good iPod menu control via remote control, AM/FM radio tuner
- Low audio quality, LCD panel cannot be turned off
The Sony ICF-C1IPMK2 is a clock radio and iPod dock that is versatile and attractive. Unfortunately the audio quality lets the device down.
Price$ 189.00 (AUD)
The Sony ICF-C1IPMK2 iPod dock and clock radio has a nice design and provides excellent iPod menu control via the remote. However, we weren't impressed by the sound quality and overly bright LCD.
The Sony ICF-C1IPMK2 has a sleek black body with symmetrical button controls on its top that are functional and easy on the eyes. A knob on the back of the unit can be twisted to extend and retract a small plate that helps hold an iPod or iPhone in place.
The controls include a large snooze button and five radio preset buttons. One of the buttons on the Sony ICF-C1IPMK2 controls the brightness of the LCD, but the display's glow can't be turned of. This may be annoying for some users.
The docking station sits atop the LCD panel on the front of the dock and is capable of taking all iPhones and iPods with a standard docking connector, including the latest Apple iPod touch (2nd Generation). Controlling the iPod or iPhone is simple thanks to the excellent remote control.
If you don't have an iPod, then a line-in port can be used to connect a media player with a 3.5mm jack.
The Sony ICF-C1IPMK2 can receive both FM and AM radio; the latter is a relatively rare offering in iPod docks at this price point. But if you plan to tune into the dulcet tones of AM talkback radio hosts, make sure you're happy with the sight of a plain-looking loop antenna next to your attractive clock radio (the aerial is detachable).
The quality of the sound is this iPod's dock main problem. At medium and high volumes sound can distort, and the two 3W speakers don't provide much depth when it comes to bass. When we played "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, the bass guitar and drums sounded largely the same thanks to the muddy sound that lacked definition.
Mid-range was not much better, with a tinny quality tainting voices and classical instruments. Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" lacked the richness that it should have had, and distortion plagued treble notes. The quality of treble is acceptable for a device at this price point, but it sounded hollow in several of our electronic/dance test tracks.
Sony has included a function called MEGA Xpand that is designed to increase the soundstage. Although it manages to do so, the reduction in audio quality is so great that most treble and bass notes end up being uncomfortably distorted.
While the $189 price tag places this iPod dock towards the cheaper end of the market, this can't excuse the device's poor sound quality — especially when similarly priced devices like the Gecko Soundbase, the Amethyst iPig iPod Buddy and the Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus have much better sound.
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