The traditional iPod/iPhone speaker dock has lost traction among Apple device owners in recent years thanks to the increasing popularity of Bluetooth speakers - but don't write them off just yet. If you want to enjoy streaming music and charging your device at the same time, they still offer the most convenient solution for your home.
In fact, you'd be surprised at just what you can pick up for under $200 / £150 / AU$250, including some multi-function units by recognized brands that have stood the test of time and still pack a punch. Read on to check out seven of the finest iOS speaker docks for your bedside, lounge, or even the beach...
Note: we've ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.
- Need a new phone to go with your dock? Check out our iPhone 6S review and all the latest news on the iPhone 7
1. VQ (Formerly View Quest) Retro ColourGen Radio
All the colors of the rainbow and then some
Weight: 2.3kg | Dimensions: 170 x 300 x 100mm | Bluetooth: No | Colors: Cream, Black, Brown, Red, Mustard, Emerald Green, Teal, Blue, Radiant Orchid, Hot Pink, Purple, Polka Dot, Sampler, Black Toast
Add a little sunshine to your mornings with this brilliantly colored radio alarm dock. Its leatherette detailing surrounds a pair of classic retro cream white grilles, a clear OLED display and responsive function buttons, which include DAB, DAB+ and FM radio, dual alarms and snooze.
A closer look reveals a wooden inner chassis which does wonders for the audio reproduction and offers a wide, surprisingly expansive range - crisp and loud, without tinniness or boom. Available in 14 slick colors all of which come with an auxiliary out to connect any other devices you have, the VQ looks ace on any bedside cabinet - whatever your wallpaper choice.
2. Sony RDP-X200iPN
Lots of features at a low price
Weight: 2.2kg | Dimensions: 356 x 168.1 x 155.8mm | Bluetooth: Yes | Colors: Black
No one said it was new, but six years on from its original release and still winning admirers, this dock has staying power - and punchy bass to boot. In fact, the 40W sound quality is as good as the robust build, which houses an OLED screen that shows speaker mode, FM radio frequency and EQ presets. You even get a remote in the box, with responsive buttons for EQ modes, volume and playback.
The very latest iPhones work well and the dock charges them up in a jiffy. There's also room for connecting an iPad, plus there's an auxiliary cable tucked in the rear. Given the dock is available at less than half the price of its original RRP, there's no reason to be ageist against the RDP-X200iPN. Did we mention it does Bluetooth as well?
3. NudeAudio Studio 5
Minimalist design and customizable bass
Weight: 2.3kg | Dimensions: 241 x 241 x 241mm | Bluetooth: Yes | Colors: White
The Studio 5 is inspired by furniture design, and it shows. This curvaceous 2.1 speaker dock offers crisp non-directional, uniform sound from its 3-inch subwoofer, which can easily fill a lounge, and comes with a control knob offering three bass settings that actually make a difference.
The top of the unit boasts an elegant glass-backed Lightning dock with a chrome dial, volume buttons and playback controls. And if you want to keep hold of your iPhone in your hand it supports Bluetooth – with aptX codec support and dual pairing no less, so you can switch between connected devices seamlessly.
There's an auxiliary jack hidden away in the back, so non-Apple devices can play too.
4. Bose SoundDock XT Speaker
Big sound, small size
Weight: 1.18kg | Dimensions: 131.8 x 168.1 x 155.8mm | Bluetooth: No | Colors: White/Dark Gray, White/Yellow
Available in a duo of two-tone colors, Bose's vaguely plasticky iPhone dock might have speaker grilles that resemble the giddy waveform of a Winamp visualizer, but this being Bose, it's the audio that counts, and the XT comfortably holds its own when compared to Bluetooth speakers almost twice its size.
Tapping up the touch-sensitive controls on the top, the mains-powered dock easily fills a medium-sized room with big sound that's rich and clear for such a small package, with decent bass coming from the rear where the diaphragm is located, along with the power cable and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
5. KitSound Kingston
Seriously loud and well connected
Weight: 12kg | Dimensions: 318 x 422 x 380mm | Bluetooth: Yes | Colors: Black, White
Create your own carnival, because with this one-of-a-kind dock, you can! Essentially it's a mobile speaker system packing an absurd amount of connectivity, including Bluetooth, USB, auxiliary RCA in, standard aux-in, a 6.3mm jack and XLR input for microphones, not forgetting a Lightning dock, of course.
It's got a three-channel mixer (you can play more than one device simultaneously), a five-hour rechargeable battery, a telescopic handle, integrated wheels and a tough MDF/epoxy chassis that can withstand the outdoors. Best of all though, it's loud! If you need a dock that can fill a hall or drive a beach party, this is it.
6. Pure Contour D1 Dock
Weight: 2.2kg | Dimensions: 165 x 290 x 125mm | Bluetooth: Yes | Colors: Black
Pure has put a lot of thought into this 20W speaker dock. It comes with 30-pin and Lightning connectors (clip-in adaptors) to fit in the dock tray, which revolves back into the main speaker unit when not in use - when you're using the mini jack around the rear, or Bluetooth connectivity, for instance.
That's right, you can also wirelessly stream to the D1, which packs DAB and FM radio into its alarm clock functions. It's just a shame the display is a bit dim and uninspired. Still, the dock packs a remote, it's a breeze to set up and ticks plenty of boxes, as well as sounding rich, crisp and clear, without lacking in the bass department.
7. Bowers & Wilkins Z2 Wireless Music System
Wireless room-filling sound
Weight: 2.6kg | Dimensions: 100 x 320 x 180mm | Bluetooth: No | Colors: Black, White
The rounded glass-reinforced compact enclosure of this space-agey dock offers plenty of bass, a decent soundstage and good dispersion around any medium-sized room.
AirPlay is a rare thing in third-party audio equipment these days, but the Z2 supports the lossless wireless protocol, so you don't even have to dock your iPhone to connect up to it (you can use the Bowers & Wilkins Control app or the included Ethernet port to set up your connection).
Once you've linked your device, the Z2 performs admirably, with DSP that keeps distortion to an absolute minimum regardless of how high you crank up the volume. Grab one before they're discontinued!
These are ordered by price at the time of writing - however, some variation may occur over time!
- Want to keep your music to yourself? Then check out our guide to the best headphones