Close your eyes and imagine, for a moment, that you've popped to town on a sunny afternoon to buy yourself a speaker dock for your iPhone or iPod. Easy, right?
Well it is until you get to the shops and are confronted by row upon row of the things. All shapes and sizes, from cheap and cheerful to those costing hundreds of pounds. Even if the store attendants encourage you to have a listen to each in turn, a noisy shop floor is hardly a good environment to make an informed choice about which sounds best.
So we had ourselves an early Christmas and collected together dozens of iPod and iPhone docks, put them through their paces and picked out 24 to tell you about.
And by put them through their paces, we mean repeated side-by-side tests - to the point that we're sick of hearing some of our favourite songs!
To make the tests as fair as possible, we switched off our iPod's EQ, although where the docks had built-in EQs, we had a play with these to see if you could boost the sound this way. None will set you back more than £150, and to help you choose, we've divided them into three categories based on price.
As always with our group tests, though, just because something isn't the winner doesn't mean you shouldn't consider it. Some offer extra features you may want, others may represent fantastic value for money. So have a think about the kind of place you want to use your dock now: By your bedside? In the kitchen? In your children's rooms? As a sound system for your TV? Bear this use in mind as you read on.
As with all things in life, you get what you pay for with speaker docks. But don't forget that the sound isn't the only factor here: some of these docks include LCDs, can be connected wirelessly using Bluetooth, have alarm clocks and other fancy features that have to be paid for, and this may come at the expense of good sound.
What we tested...
Up to £60:
01. Altec Lansing InMotion Compact iMT320 - £37
02. Altec Lansing Octiv 102 - £29
03. Gear4 Explorer-SP - £45
04. Gear4 HouseParty SmartDock - £50
05. iLuv App Station iMM190 - £25
06. iLuv Vibe Plus iMM178DAB -£55
07. Logic3 i-Station 26 - £55
08. Philips Fidelio DS3020 - £50
09. KitSound Boom Dock - £87
10. Klipsch iGroove HG - £67
11. Klipsch iGroove SXT - £70
12. Logic3 i-Station SoundBar - £99
13. Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2 - £75
14. Logitech S715i - £99
15. Sony RDP-M15iP - £90
16. ViewQuest Retro Radio - £87
17. Altec Lansing Octiv 650 - £129
18. Gear4 HouseParty AirWave - £109
19. JVC UX-SG5B - £150
20. Lenco iPT-2 - £150
21. Panasonic SC-HC05 - £150
22. Sony RDP-X60iP - £120
23. Soundfreaq Sound Step Recharge - £150
24. TEAC Mini Aurb SR80iDAB - £140