The dock connector on the DS3000 is worthy of praise, too. The spring mechanism means that there are no rubbish interchangeable dock inserts to mess about with; instead you just slot your iPod on top of the dock and it will hold it securely in place. We had a little trouble getting a current-generation iPod touch to slot in, but that seemed to be a by product of the design of the dock connector on the iPod rather than the DS3000.
The most annoying thing about the DS3000 is that it will prompt you to install the Philips Fidelio+ iPhone app every time you connect one (or an iPod touch). Although this application is free, it doesn't really offer anything worth the effort of installing it - which you will, if only to avoid the nagging. This offers an alarm with either a few sound effects or selected music from your library and pretty much nothing else.
The 8W power rating of the DS3000 proves deceptive, as even at low volumes (we're talking under a quarter on an iPod touch scale) the output has a good deal of punch and vigour to it. Turned up all the way, the output gets pretty distorted, as the small drivers can't really cope with such loudness, but the DS3000 maintains its poise even at volume levels that might have your neighbours demanding you turn down the racket.
Importantly, the output is able to be this loud at the expense of quality. Unsurprisingly we're not talking Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, or even DS9000, levels of fidelity here, but for £52 it's better than we expected. The punchiness of the output definitely works best with certain genres of music.
Music from the likes of The Veronicas work well, with a real sense of energy. There's enough detail to reproduce the more technical works of Biffy Clyro well, too, with background tones merging well with vocals and lead instrumentation to develop a wider and more involving soundstage than we expected of such a small speaker dock.
It’s not a flawless bill of health, though. Put on something a little less heavy, say the Shins or the Beta Band and you aren't going to be blown away by the detail, clarity or poise on display - because there isn’t as much as we want. But then, we're talking relative to speaker systems costing several times the money the DS3000 does, so it's not so much a criticism as an observation.
As a fairer benchmark, we can safely say that the DS3000 sounds tangibly better than the almost four times more expensive Sony RDP-X80iP. For the money, the DS3000 really is an excellent sounding iPod speaker dock.
It might not have the size or distinctive looks of the larger, more expensive DS9000, but what the DS3000 lacks in presence it makes up for in value. It offers excellent sound quality for its asking price, has a neat docking mechanism and can even be battery-powered, and we can't ask for more than that.