Engadget: We haven’t heard much about Sony’s HomeShare wireless networking protocol since the initial buzz in 2008, but based on today’s announcements, it’s fairly clear that Sony intends to ramp things up in 2011. The SA-NS300 and SA-NS400 are two new wireless network speakers designed to broadcast tunes from a variety of sources such as DLNA-enabled PCs or BRAVIA internet music services found on Sony’s latest Blu-ray players. iPhones and iPods can join in on the streaming fun when placed in HomeShare compatible NAS-SV20i and NAC-SV10i docks. Since all of these components go beyond the realm of your average IR controller, Sony has kindly released the HomeShare-friendly touch screen RMN-U1 Wi-Fi universal remote, too. Using its activity-based control options, the remote allows those invested in the HomeShare system to send music throughout their network and a view a variety of eye-candy — you know, like album art. Even more interesting is that Sony says all of the components will be available this March for between $200 and $300 depending on the device, which is far below the four figure price points of its early HomeShare gear.
T3: iPod/iPhone docks offer high-volume playback of your music library, charging your device at the same time. Most have a remote control but some offer wireless connectivity so you don’t have to leave your Apple docked. They all claim to have audiophile-grade sound but who’s telling the truth? Court is in session…
Love: Smart, timeless design. Superb sound. Eight-hour battery life
Hate: A little expensive. Wi-Fi dongle costs extra
Arman rCube pics I Arcam rCube review I Link: Arcam
Best: Easy Listening
SoundFreaq Sound Platform
Love: Groovy retro styling. Effective Bluetooth connectivity. Useful online app adds iPhone control. Reasonable VFM
Hate: Speakers lack projection and distort
SoundFreaq Sound Platform pics I SoundFreaq SoundPlatform review I Link: SoundFreaq
TEAC SR-100I Aurb
Love: Powerful audio. Good value. Interesting elliptical design. Useful CD and USB playback
Hate: Some may find the boomy bass a bit much
TEAC SR-100I Aurb Pics I TEAC SR-100I Aurb review I Link: TEAC
Geneva Sound S
Love: Very cool styling. Powerful, seductive bass
Hate: Not much in the way of extra connectivity
Geneva Sound S pics I Geneva Sound S review I Link: Geneva
B&W Zeppelin Mini
Love: Potent sound from a small dock. USB input
Hate: Lacks the bass warmth to fill a big room
B&W Zeppelin review I Link: B&W
Gizmag: There’s no denying that the Zeppelin and Mini from Bowers & Wilkins are handsome and powerful ways to dock your iPhone. While the Koostik dock can’t hope to compete in the amplification stakes, there’s something about the simple design and natural wood finish that makes it just as pleasing to the eye – and more than a little cheaper, too.
To project the sound from an iPhone placed in the central cradle to any assembled admirers, the Koostik dock channels the output from the smartphone’s own speakers into left and right hollowed out, hemispherical sound chambers. This is said to acoustically amplify the audio by up to four times, the effect likened to the sonic difference between playing a solid-bodied and a hollow-body guitar acoustically.
The upside to being a completely acoustic delivery system is that there’s no power requirement. That being the case of course, the Koostik dock won’t be able to charge an iPhone while it pumps out the tunes. In fact, there’s no hole cut out for a charger’s cable either, as this would interfere with the channeling of the audio to the sound holes.
The designers do point out that the 8.5 x 3.5 x 2-inch (215.9 x 88.9 x 50.8mm) Koostik dock wasn’t designed to compete with the amplified power of electrified systems (so if you like loud heavy rock then this probably won’t be for you) but “if you like intimate vocals and instrumentals in relaxed settings, Koostik will blow you away (gently of course).”
The wonderfully lo-tech Koostik acoustic iPhone dock is hand-made in six different solid wood combinations – Cherry face and body, Walnut face and body, Cherry face and Walnut body and Walnut face and Cherry body for US$85, with a couple of Birdseye Maple fronted versions being a little more expensive at US$90.
Those at Koostik say that whatever finish you choose, the sound produced should be about the same, so your choice is entirely down to which version you find most aesthetically pleasing.
Gizmodo: It’s not the first Zune dock (I believe Altec Lansing has the honor there), but this ZN90B one from iHome features an all-important alarm function and fits both Zune and Zune HD models.
The ZN90B dock is available for pre-order now, for $100, and has AM/FM presets, EQ controls and iHome’s “Reson8″ speaker chambers for what they’re calling “astounding clarity, depth and power.” It takes a pair of AA batteries when you’re on the move, otherwise is charged via the AC charger. Available sometime this month, it’d make a nice buy for anyone who wants to charge their Zune while playing music—otherwise, you’re probably better off just plugging the Zune into your existing audio set-up via the 3.5mm jack