Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Review: Harman Kardon Go + Play iPod Dock

Device: Harman Kardon Go+Play iPod Dock
Manufacturer: Harman Kardon
Rating: 4 out of 5

I don't need much in my speakers: amazing sound, amazing looks, simplicity, and plays with my laptop.

With that in mind, this sexy beast is the perfect thing for me.

First, the looks. It looks beautiful. Look at it making love to my iPod Touch. The stainless steel arch, the matte black finish. Simple, yet so elegant. If there was ever a boombox for the arty, this is it. Its retro-futuristic style is what I expect from Harman Kardon, which is known for making some of the best-looking speakers out there.

Second, the sound. Out of the box, it sounds amazing. Out of any of the portable iPod docks I've heard, this is the best. You don't need to adjust anything. The sound balance is just right. That's just as well, because you can't adjust the treble and bass levels from the speakers itself. There're only three buttons: the power button, and the two volume buttons. This might be a problem for some, but for me, it's too minor. It sounds awesome to begin with, you don't really have to change anything. This thing is much louder than my JBL Creature II (which I love to bits), and sounds much better.

Third, the features. It's got an RF remote, which means you don't have to point to the speakers to use it. The plastic feels a bit cheap compared to the speakers, and when you try to navigate through your iPod, the whole thing turns into a complex mess. But then it's got a compartment at the back for the remote, which hides it if you give up trying to learn how the iPod navigation works.

One thing that annoys me is how my iPod Touch doesn't fully fit into the dock. It's supposed to charge most iPods, and from what I've heard, it does. But the charge function doesn't work on iPod Touch. Which sucks, because that's what I happen to have. And because it's supposed to lie down in the dock, you can't see the iPod menu from faraway. Which renders the iPod remote navigation useless. And even if you look at it from a bird's eye view, the handle gets in the way. The handle also gets in the way when you want to navigate through your iPod with your hands. But you can connect the system to your computer and sync your iPod through the system.

Overall, this is an amazing system. A bit pricey for some people. After postage and VAT, I paid about £180. And that's the cheapest I could find. The simplicity will attract some, and repel others.

If you have the money to spend and looking for a super-stylish, beautiful audio and an iPod dock (note: it does not charge iPod touch) that does not require complex setting-up and knob fiddling, this is for you.
Included with the device:
A/C Adapter
RF Remote
3.5mm auxilliary input with cable
8 iPod dock adaptors, for all iPods
iPod Nano and iPod Mini plastic safeguards
S-Video port (for watching anything from your iPod on a TV)
Can run on batteries

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