Hands-on with the Digital Innovations Speaker Dock for Android (review)

Summary:The new Digital Innovations Speaker Dock for Android lets you connect just about any Android device and enjoy audio while charging your device.

If you own an iPhone, you know how overwhelming the accessory market is for Apple's iOS products. On the other hand, with the extensive number of different Android devices and varying form factors it can be tough to find lots of accessories for your particular device. The folks at Digital Innovations just launched a new universal Android accessory with ThinkGeek. The Universal Speaker Dock for Android is shown in my image gallery and in the embedded video below.


Image Gallery: Check out some photos of the di Speaker Dock for Android.
Image Gallery: Speaker Dock retail package
Image Gallery: SONR app

In the box and first impressions

The di Speaker Dock for Android arrived in a rather large cardboard box with a white retail box inside for the dock. The dimensions of the Speaker Dock are 12.5 x 4.2 x 5 inches. Inside the retail box you will find the Speaker Dock, remote control, universal A/C adapter, and a Quick Start Guide. The remote uses a CR2025 battery that is included inside the package.

The all black Speaker Dock is constructed of durable plastic and felt good in my hands. The remote is very light with round buttons that have decent tactile feedback.

Walk around the Universal Speaker Dock

There are two stereo speakers behind a cloth grille in the front of the Speaker Dock. In the center you will find a glossy black plastic area with the di labeling in white and blue indicator light in the center to show you when it is powered on. Behind the glossy plastic piece you will find the pocket for your Android smartphone with 8 inch cables for the 3.5mm headset jack and microUSB cable.

The 3.5mm headset jack is used for audio out, obviously, and the microUSB cable is used to power your Android smartphone. The pocket allows you to set your Android device in the dock in portrait or landscape orientation. My Galaxy Nexus worked well in landscape with the two cables connected on the bottom, the left in landscape mode.

To the right of the pocket on the top you will find six buttons to control the Speaker Dock if you do not wish to use the remote control. There are buttons for volume up, volume down, back, forward, play/pause, and power.

You will find the subwoofer opening on the back with the port for the DC plug.

Specifications

The specs for the Speaker Dock include the following:
  • 6 watts of treble provided by two front facing speakers
  • 10 watts of bass delivered by a rear sub-woofer
  • microUSB cable, about 8 inches in length
  • 3.5mm audio cable, about 8 inches in length

SONR app

In order to use the remote control, you need install the free SONR Labs App. After it is installed, you then launch the app and select the music app you wish to use. On my Galaxy Nexus, I have Spotify, Slacker Radio, Google Listen, Google Music, and Amazon MP3. After that the SONR app appears in the notifications area while you use your Android device in the dock.

Usage experiences and pricing

I spent the last couple of weeks using the Universal Speaker Dock for Android with my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, including a couple versions of the SONR Labs App as it was refined and updated, and I find it to be an excellent accessory for Android users. You can purchase the Speaker Dock now for $99.99 and the great thing about this accessory is that it is phone upgrade proof as you transition through future Android smartphones.

On a whim I actually plugged in my Windows Phone devices and iPhone 4S and they both worked with the speaker too. As you can see in my video above, the iPhone 4S probably sounded better than any of the three devices I tested out. You cannot control the dock with the remote (there is no app for the dock controls on these platforms) and you need to control volume and playback on the phone, but if you are a multi-device owner like me this capability makes the Speaker Dock an even better value.

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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