Skip to navigation

Apple iPod Hi-Fi review


Some good design touches and decent sound quality, but a staggering price tag

Review Date: 1 Jun 2005

Reviewed By: Ross Burridge

Price when reviewed: (£249 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Apparently, Apple felt that third-party manufacturers were failing to meet the potential of the iPod as the primary music source of the home. The result, the iPod Hi-Fi, is about the same size and price as the mini systems that Apple hopes it will replace.

Mounted in the speaker baffle are two 80mm cones, with a dual-ported 130mm woofer in the centre. Each driver is separately enclosed and the whole construction double-skinned to reduce vibration-related distortion. The quoted maximum sound pressure level is a respectable 108dB at 1m (or 102dB when running on battery power).

A universal iPod dock sits on top, with seven inserts supplied to accept all models bar the shuffle. Soft-touch volume controls are placed in front of that. At the rear, there's a mains input and a 3.5mm audio input able to handle both analog and S/PDIF signals. An infrared receiver and status LED are located underneath the baffle.

Bizarrely, the supplied Apple remote will only allow you to skip tracks and adjust the volume; for instance, to select a specific album you have to get up and prod at the iPod itself. Once there, you'll notice a new 'speakers' option on a connected iPod's menu. This offers tone control (normal and bass/treble boost), plus options for backlight and album art, which can be set to display in full-screen mode.

Sound quality is better than you might assume. The soundstage is surprisingly wide, but the stereo sweet spot is strictly limited. On the plus side, there's a commendable lack of distortion and the frequency response is full and balanced. The bass response is tight, and the top end sounds clear and airy. But mid-range, while crisp, lacks any real warmth.

To make claims of audiophile quality is stretching the term, particularly as it's all compressed music in the first place. But there's some good design here, from the lavish packaging to the battery enclosure. Even putting the baffle on and off is a joy.

Battery life on six D-cell alkaline batteries was just over three hours at mid-volume, after which the unit dropped the volume and played for another two hours. You've got to question the portability when it weighs just under 8kg fully loaded, but at least there's the option.

Despite the clever design touches, the iPod Hi-fi won't replace even a semi-decent mini-system. Given the price, as an overall experience it's mediocre.

Author: Ross Burridge

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
Be the first to comment this article

You need to Login or Register to comment.


Latest Category Reviews
Roku Streaming Stick review

Roku Streaming Stick

Category: Network media streamers
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £50
Apple TV (3rd gen) review

Apple TV (3rd gen)

Category: Network media streamers
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £99
Roku 2 XS review

Roku 2 XS

Category: Network media streamers
Rating: 3 out of 6
Price: £100
Belkin ScreenCast review

Belkin ScreenCast

Category: Network media streamers
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £98


Most Commented Reviews
Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing


Sponsored Links


Your email:

Your password:

remember me


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.