This a little difficult for me to admit, but I’ve always been jealous the docking stations available to anyone with an iDevice. So when the US$200 Phillips Fidelio Android docking station landed in the Gearburn offices my interest was very much piqued.
Admittedly most of those docking speaker I was so jealous of were originally intended for iPods. Still, the fact that someone could just plug their iPhone (a top of the line one is more than capable of handling all but the most insane music collections) into a docking station and rock away was a little frustrating.
So what of Phillips’ Android-friendly sound device? Is it the solution we’ve all been looking for, or is it a sign that we should just give up and let Apple run our lives, as it seems so determined to?
I’ll tell you one thing, this isn’t aimed at the Bang & Oluffsen crowd, with their black-framed glasses and designer Labradoodles. It actually puts me in mind of the portable CD player/ Tape/ Radio I had when I was a kid. That’s not exactly the sic-fi “Holy fuck the future is here” kind of revelation we want from our tech now is it? The most obvious difference between the docking speaker and my childhood hi-fi is that the latter had to do a whole load of different tasks, which obviously meant a whole lot of internals.
Apart from a Bluetooth receiver, a micro-USB connector, and a couple of power options, this docking speaker is well all speaker. The real action happens on your phone or tablet.
And that’s where things fall apart a little bit. There’s no plug and play here. No we live in the app economy, so there have to be apps. In the case of the docking speaker: two of them. If you want to even think about playing music anything on the docking speaker, you have to download Phillips’ Fidelio app and then Songbird. Really Phillips? You couldn’t just have stuck a little something in there that meant I could just plug my phone in, press play, and experience some awesome quality sound?
An intimate closeup of the docking port
On the other hand, once you’ve got those apps installed, things couldn’t be easier. And as I’ve mentioned previously, the docking speaker runs off Bluetooth, which means that you can wonder around the room checking all the rest of your apps while listening to your favourite music, or watching Game of Thrones. That’s pretty cool. Not exactly unique, but cool nonetheless.
As I’ve already noted, this device isn’t exactly for the hardcore sound geek — the bright green Android sticker puts pay to any such notions. It is however ideal for anyone who wants to substantially boost the sound they get from their Android device.
As such, it’s shouldn’t exactly be surprising that the sound won’t reduce you to the tears usually reserved for people who claim to have been visited by angels.
The teeny-tiny remote
What it will do is produce reasonably crisp sound right up until its upper volume levels, which are more than loud enough to piss off your neighbours. Even if they are slightly deaf octogenarians (sorry Mrs Jenkins).
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