The Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus is a cheap and cheerful iPod dock that has a built-in alarm clock and can also be run from batteries. The unit is quite compact, and its design is quirky in that it has speakers that fire sound out both front and rear to help it better project audio around a room. Despite this, it's still very affordable, as you can buy it for around £50 from sites such as Amazon.
The Express Plus is quite small for a dock. It measures just 349mm wide and stands a mere 127mm tall. It's available in five different colours – black, blue, orange, pink and purple – but the only difference between these models is the colour of the cloth used to cover the speaker grills. We had the blue version in for review.
Taking the Express Plus out of the box it's immediately pretty clear that this is a budget rather than premium dock. While its build quality is reasonable, it doesn't feel anywhere near as solid as some of the high-end docks we've seen recently and the materials and finish look a little bit cheap. However, it's pleasant enough to look at with the polished black finish used on the central part of the dock contrasting nicely with the matt finish on the tops of the speakers.
The front houses a large volume dial that has a chrome finish, and beneath this there's an orange, alarm clock style display used to show the current time. Flanking the display are dedicated buttons for switching between repeat and shuffle play modes.
At the bottom of the control panel there are three buttons for setting the time, setting the alarm time and turning the alarm on and off. Setting an alarm is simply a matter of holding down the Alarm Set button and then entering the time you want it to go off at. The alarm function only sounds a built-in beeper, and unfortunately it can't be used to start playing tracks on your iPhone or iPod.
There are no playback controls on the dock itself. Instead these are found on the remote. In truth the remote control is a little bit disappointing. We can forgive the fact that that it's really very, very small - standing not much taller than a match box - but it's the Spartan controls that are the main issue. Apart from basic play/pause, track forward and backwards and volume controls, the only other features it gives you access to are the repeat and shuffle modes. There's no way to move through the menus of your iPhone or iPod -- instead you have to just get up close and personal and actually prod your iPhone or iPod's screen.