Rating: ★★★★½

Jawbone’s Jambox owns the market when it comes to an ultra portable Bluetooth speaker.  But that  leaves plenty of room for the bigger, but still portable speaker docks.  Case in point is the Philips Fidelio DS7700 Bluetooth Docking Speaker.

Before we get into the review, I’d like to point out that I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the Philips brand, at least in terms of their line of consumer electronics.  They’re not the brand I think of when I need to purchase a new TV, or in this case a speaker dock for my iPhone or iPad.  However, that’s all about (it already has) to change thanks to the Fidelio DS7700 Bluetooth Docking Speaker.

Design

The Fidelio DS7700′s magnetic cover to keep debris out – click to enlarge

The Fidelio DS7700 measures 12.2-inches long, about 4 inches wide and weighs just over 2lbs.  So it’s not tiny like the Jambox, but it will fit in most medium sized backpacks, though after sometime 2lbs can begin to feel beleaguering, especially if you do a fair bit of walking.  While is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad, there is also an AUX input to accommodate non Apple branded devices.

Included is a magnetic cover, which unfortunately doesn’t automatically power the speaker off.  A cool feature nonetheless that will keep lint and other debris from interfering with the iPhone dock and entering behind the speaker grill.  A red power switch sits on the edge, while a set of buttons to control volume and toggle Bluetooth on/off are situated just below the dock.

A built in stand, which opens simply by pulling on it angles the 14 watt Neodymium powered speaker at 45 degrees and simultaneously activates an iPhone stand that stabilizes the device in the 30-pin dock.  It’s finished in a rubber to help reduce vibrations.

While the Fidelio DS7700 scored well in terms of aesthetics and layout, it’s not the most remarkable speaker dock, but clearly well built.  However, I was a bit surprised to see that it doesn’t use a micro-USB or mini-USB port for charging.  Instead Philips opted for a 10V round AC charging port.  So it loses some points in not only the convenience category, but eco department.

Performance

The Fidelio DS7700′s power switch – click to enlarge

It might be a bit of an understatement, but the Fidelio DS7700 can easily keep pace with iPhone docks in the same class and even sonically out performed some wall plugin docks I’ve seen from iHome in recent.  As with any speaker dock, connecting via Bluetooth diminished the sound quality, but the Fidelio DS7700 does a good job minimizing the loss, enough so that switching between the two inputs had me guessing which one was playing.

I tested the dock with a variety of music, ranging from hip hop to classical, and couldn’t perceive any noticeable shortcomings given its relatively small size.   Bass was deep, highs we’re crisp and the mids maintained a solid timbre throughout playback.  In short, the Fidelio DS7700 rocked my socks and blew my hair back.

Battery life is spec’d for 10 hours.  While I didn’t ever run low on juice thanks to the fact that you can power it off a wall wart, I’m willing to estimate that you can chop that number in half when amplitude is maxed out.

Conclusion

Philips Fidelio DS7700 AUX input and power port – click to enlarge

The Philips Fidelio DS7700 Bluetooth Docking Speaker packs a serious punch that will have contenders in the same class and heavier second guessing their product.  It delivers meaty bass for a dock of its size, boasts solid battery performance and is compatible with the full range of iOS devices.  What more could you ask for?

You can buy the Philips Fidelio DS7700 Bluetooth Docking Speaker from Amazon for $199.99

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality for a portable speaker; deep bass, solid highs
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Works with the full range of iOS devices (and others thanks to the AUX in)

Cons:

  • Doesn’t use a micro or mini-USB charger; not Eco friendly in that respect
  • A bit large for every day commuters, unlike the Jambox
  • If you don’t have the Philips app installed it demands that you do so

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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."