Rating: ★★★½☆

Pros:

  • Great bed side companion to the iPad
  • Dock rotates 90 degrees left and right
  • Aux input for non iProducts

Cons:

  • Sonic abilities just ok in this price range ($149.99)
  • Dock connector has a tendency to disconnect when jostled
  • Remotes additional menu buttons are pretty much useless

Altec Lansing’s Octiv Stage is a simple as pie speaker dock system for the iPad.  The base of the dock contains two 2-inch full-range neodymium drivers hidden behind a mesh grill. A set of buttons (power, volume +/-) along with a power indicating LED light runs along the trim of the Octiv Stage.  On the back you’ll find a power port and Aux input for other devices that don’t sport a 30-pin dock.  While intended for use with the iPad – there is an oversized cradle that rotates 90 degrees to accommodate the tablet device – iPhone’s and iPods will also work.

Unlike some recently reviewed docks this one doesn’t include an accompanying app, at least not one that is specific to the device.  However, Altec Lansing does offer two iPhone apps (Alarm Rock and Music Mix) that if one so chooses could be used with the Octiv Stage.  With that said, the feature set of the device doesn’t extend beyond the already mentioned buttons (it power/recharges any docked devices), which depending on your penchant for complexity may be a good or bad thing.  That leaves me with little to review; sound and build quality.

While the Octiv Stage is far from a bass thumping system – the iA100, Sound Platform and Tango TRX all outperformed the device in sonic abilities – the Octiv Stage does pull enough weight to provide some convenience in your every day life.  For instance, me and some family members sat about 6 feet away one morning and listened to the morning news using the iPad’s NPR app.  The Octiv Stage’s sonic capabilities might be best described as sufficient, but most certainly won’t serve as an appropriate device in the event of a 20+ person party.

The design of the Octiv Stage probably best plays to that as a bed side companion.  It’s foot print measures only slightly wider than the iPad and is heavy enough to prevent the whole system (iPad docked) from toppling over even from the most heavy handed of users.  The cradle is your basic ABS plastic and has been molded to perfection to fit the iPad – inserting the tablet takes little effort.  Occasionally the dock’s connection can be a bit iffy and any sudden jolts, such as relocating the device and placing it down, can result in a disconnection, though physically the iPad was still very much be docked.  Slightly removing and reinserting the iPad resolved this problem and since most people won’t be moving the device with the iPad in place I don’t see this as a concern.

Altec Lansing includes a pocket sized infrared remote for controlling both the volume and power of the device, as well as the iPad’s iPod from afar.  The additional iPod controls (menu up/down/left and menu) worked to navigate to a song but that’s it.  Hitting the actual Menu button did nothing while playing a track, and unlike the other controls these functions were slow to respond, which is more a result of the iPod player than the Octiv Stage.  The other controls, power and volume, worked with no issue, provided of course I had line of sight to the device.

At $149.99 the Octiv Stage is no drop in the financial bucket.  Sonically it lacks the gusto we’ve seen from other comparably priced docks, though on the flip side (pun intended) it accommodates the iPad in ways others haven’t, such as the ability to rotate the iPad from landscape to portrait mode.

The Altec Lansing can be bought from Amazon for $149.95 or from one of the vendors below.



Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."