iPodNN: Among numerous TV, tablet, and gaming releases, Sony also announced three new X-Series speaker docks that are fully compatible with the iPad. The XA700iP, XF300iP, and X200iP all feature Bluetooth integration, while the XA700iP and XF300iP add Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming technology. All three models will be available in March for $400, $250, and $200 respectively. Although, the XA700iP is expected to be a European exclusive.
While the CES show floor is far from an optimal testing ground for any speaker, Sony’s new X-Series models were able to cut through much of the noise without distorting the audio signal. Sony used a number of genres, including country, jazz, and blues, to showcase both the speakers clarity and versatility. During tests the XA700iP was a clear winner with strong bass and a clear mid-to-high range, however, the $400 dock is only expected to launch in Europe. Both the XF300iP and X200iP also performed well given the circumstances, although a slight distortion was noticeable with the volume turned up.
The design of each device is very sleek and compact, taking up little desk space. An LED hidden behind the grille provides visual feedback when a button is pressed, and a small drawer containing a standard 30-pin connector slides out from the bottom. Our only concern with the design is that placing an iPad in the dock may block some of the speakers and reduce audio quality; however, no iPad was on hand to test this.