So you can’t decide between Sony’s RDP-X500IP and Altec Lansing’s InAir 5000. Sure, they’re similar in terms of looks, but how they play music is where their similarities end. That said, both boast premium sound and along with it a premium price.
Both speakers sport a cone shaped like profile, though the InAir 5000 is the larger of the two, weighing 8.5lbs, 2.5lbs more than Sony’s. At a glance they’re both very similar looking thanks to the black mesh covering and silver accent that runs along the top. However, the Sony’s RDP-X500IP controls are perched up top with an AUX input found at the rear. The InAir 5000′s volume controls are located on the left side of the speaker, while the right side houses the aux input, the would be power switch and aux source button. And although the InAir 5000 doesn’t sport a 30-pin dock for all things iOS, it does have a USB port at the rear which is complemented by an Ethernet plug – both of these are not found on Sony’s RDP-X500IP dock.
Winner: This is a tough one, but we’re gonna give it to Sony for the quick and easy access to the controls.
Sony’s RDP-X500IP measures 15.9 x 6.4 x 7 inches and weighs 6lbs. Atec Lansing’s InAir 5000 is 7.5″ by 19″ by 7.8″ and weighs 8.5lbs.
Winner: Sony’s speaker is smaller yet still packs a punch
It’s arguable which of these docks is more versatile since they’re delivery systems are both vastly different. The InAir 5000 receives music either over your home’s WiFi connection (ala Airplay) or if you plug in your iOS device into its AUX or USB port. Sony’s RDP-X500IP on the other hand sports a built-in 30-pin dock that hides away in a spring loaded drawer system. Alternatively, it has a AUX input but lacks Bluetooth or any sort of wireless connectivity. Both include remotes and while the InAir 5000′s looks more opulent, the Sony remote provides more control, though by necessity. In terms of speakers Sony’s RDP-X500IP boasts two sets of woofers and a sub with a total power output of 60w. Altec’s offering sports a more powerful setup, which includes the same amount of speakers, but a total of 8ow of power.
Winner: Altec Lansing’s InAir 5000 since it boasts wireless connectivity along with a wired connection of two different types as well as more power.
All things relative – which is to say putting aside price for now – the InAir 5000 rocks some serious bass and is delightfully clean despite the music arriving via Apple’s Airplay. That said, Altec Lansing utilizes some DSP (digital signal processing) to minimize distortion at high volume – it reduces bass quite significantly. Conversely, the RDP-X500IP lacks the same gusto, as in amplitude as the InAir 5000, though the sound signature is still clean and full despite its smaller size. Now, keep in mind both units have stand alone subwoofers, though the InAir 5000 was a bit too heavy at low volumes.
Winner: The InAir 5000 achieves a higher amplitude and equally good sound quality to that of the RDP-X500IP. Though, keep in mind the InAir 5000 costs far more.
Sony’s RDP-X500IP costs about $240-$250 on Amazon, though the original price for the unit was $300. Altec Lansing’s InAir 5000 will cost $499 when it goes on sale.
Winner: Bang for buck, the RDP-X500IP wins.
Needless to say this was a close one. At the end of the day the deciding factor was the size of the device. While it’s not the most important of categories that we evaluate it’s still a factor and a factor you can’t help but ignore objectively.