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Review: Desktop/tabletop speakers

Price when rated: $199

Pros

  • Warm sound with good bass response
  • Switchable iPod/auxiliary-input modes
  • Video output

Cons

  • Audible hiss when no music is playing
  • No way to tell if system is on or off
  • Remote required to turn system on/off
  • Dock inserts not included for all older iPods
  • Slight distortion at louder volumes
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JBL Radial

4.5/5
Price when rated: $300

Pros

  • Excellent RF remote with full iPod-menu-navigation functionality
  • Unique and attractive design
  • Best “desktop” sound quality we’ve heard
  • Good bass response for a desktop system

Cons

  • Review sample produced a small spark when the AC adapter was plugged into the unit
  • Dock inserts for older iPods not included
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Price when rated: $200

Pros

  • Independent bass and treble controls
  • Wall-mountable
  • Headphone jack
  • Includes cradle for non-dockable audio players
  • Video output

Cons

  • Headphone jack awkwardly placed
  • Distortion at louder volumes
  • Easy to tip over
  • Dock inserts for older iPods not included
 Compare
Price when rated: $250

Pros

  • Rich, full sound
  • Unique, adjustable dock-cradle design
  • Unique cradle attachment for non-dockable players
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Speaker grill occasionally rattled at louder volumes
  • Volume resets to a loud level whenever you turn the unit off or remove your iPod
  • Occasional hiss during silent or quiet passages
  • Few connections and additional features
 Compare

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