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Review - Remote Docking Station
Thursday, February 2nd, 2006 at 9:45 AM - by
Marware's Remote Docking Station is a simple dock with a nifty name. When it comes to iPod docks, that's not a bad complement in my book.
Marware Remote Docking Station
Countless solutions exist for charging your iPod while it's connected to your stereo or TV. Basic functionality is identical across these products—they tend to work just fine, so fit and finish become the paramount difference between brands, and it's in this realm that the Remote Docking Station shines.
Marware's dock is about the same size as Apple's, which is to say quite small and unobtrusive. A single USB port powers the dock, either from your computer or the included AC adapter. The AC adapter is a fine piece of hardware in its own right: not only is it one of the smallest we've come across for the iPod, but the plug tucks neatly into the unit when traveling. Unlike many power adapters out there, this one you might even be tempted to take with you on trips just to charge your iPod (you'll need to bring your own USB docking cable, however).
A/V hook-up is similarly well executed, with an attractively designed cable sporting a single plug connecting to the dock and your standard three composite signals connecting to your television or receiver. Like the power adapter, this handy cable is practical even without the dock, as it can be used independently and be plugged directly into your iPod to put its picture on a television. For those who demand higher quality, an S-Video port is built-in to the dock as well, but like other products we've seen no S-Video cable is included.
The dock's cradle is compatible with all iPods, although the lack of any adapters means things won't fit quite as snugly depending on which iPod you use. In our testing, however, this was not an impediment at all and across a variety of iPods models and never did we experience the iPod becoming loose or losing the dock connection. A blue LED on the front of the dock shines a bit of light on the iPod itself when everything is powered up.
Our only complaint with Marware's dock is that the remote is every bit as simple as the rest of the set-up, meaning you get your standard play/pause, forward/back, and volume up/down buttons but nothing else. The remote otherwise is absolutely first-rate. Unlike the button-laden remote of DLO's HomeDock (3 out of 5), which has problems operating at angles or distances more than six feet, Marware's remote had no problem talking to the dock at distances in excess of 20 feet and from a myriad of different angles.
Marware's Remote Docking Stations scores a pile of points for its near flawless execution and then seals the deal with a price point that puts a number of other docks to shame: $75. While there's always room for improvement, there's little room to really complain about this dock.
Update As of February 7, Marware has reduced the price of the Remote Docking Station to $49.95.
Just The Facts
Pros: video cable and USB power adapter can be used independently of the dock, remote sports excellent range, well priced
Cons: remote offers only the most basic controls
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