In technology size matters. And the best kind of size is "small", preferably with a side helping of thin and light. The Lenco IPT-223 is none of those things and is all the better for it. The successor to the IPT-2, a surprise hit with a bargain RRP, the IPT-223 comes with entirely new internals, additional functionality, a neat party trick and a larger price tag. So do the numbers still add up?
Out of the box little appears to have changed. As we head towards an increasingly minimalist period of gadget design this may not be to everyone's taste, but with its striking appearance the Lenco IPT-223 remains an obvious talking point. Less welcome are some unaddressed issues with build quality, namely the hollow moulded (detachable) stand and mix of matt and shiny surfaces. None of this is to say the IPT-223 is poorly-made, it feels extremely solid and the control buttons can take a battering, but it is frustrating to see the same grumbles resurface.
Reinforcing this sense of déjà vu are the IPT-2-matching dimensions of 208 x 189 x 870mm (315 x 305 x 933mm with the base), but when you look closer it is all change. The most obvious and unexpected addition is that of a DVD player. The Lenco IPT-223 has added SCART, video out and HDMI so the tower can double up as a DVD player as well as outputting photos and videos from an iPhone or iPod touch. There are also left and right auxiliary inputs so it can be used as a sound bar. Interestingly none of this is the party trick.
The new-found video friendliness hasn't replaced other aspects of the IPT-2 either, it still has an FM tuner, obligatory Apple dock connector and SD/MMC card slot while it can read MP3, WMA and Jpeg files from a DVD. Meanwhile the LED display is unchanged with a bevy of surrounding controls including function, eject, sleep timer and tuner memory buttons while the playback controls are positioned on top. There is also a new remote which adapts to its wider remit by looking more like one for a DVD player than your average dock. As with virtually all remotes it is 100 per cent plastic, but well made and the tower is responsive.
So to the party trick. DVD playback is a useful bonus, but where Lenco hopes the IPT-223 will sell is its sound and this has been completely re-engineered. Out goes the 80W combo of 2x 25W speakers to be replaced with 6x 10W speakers while keeping the same 30W sub. To further boost this surround sound ambition Lenco has teamed up with Sonic Emotion to license its 'Absolute 3D' spatial sound technology. The collaboration sees Lenco claim the IPT-223 now outputs like a true 6.1 system and while many audiophiles turn their noses up at artificially bolstered sound dispersion techniques we only care whether it works… and it does.