- Loads of features to choose from
- Great touchscreen interface
- Easy to use remote
- Easy network setup
- Design and build is clearly a bit budget
- Sound quality only on par with units half the price
Review Price £170.00
MagicBox Beam Extreme
iPod docks come in all shapes and sizes, and with all manner of extra functions tacked on. However, it's not all that often you find one that does just about everything. The MagicBox Beam is just such a device, though, with DAB and FM tuners, internet radio connectivity, DLNA media streaming, a touchscreen and, of course, the iPod dock. There's little it can't do. Apple's AirPlay is the most obvious omission. While it's not quite a master of all, it's a pretty solid all-rounder.
The MagicBox Beam appears a fairly stylish unit from a glance, with its wide and short stance, central touchscreen, and slim stand. However, up close its abundance of plastic and slight lack of finesse are evident. The dull grey plastic panels used to make up the bulk of the body looks bitty and a bit thrown together – unibody it most certainly isn't – while the section that surrounds the screen could really do without the MagicBox logo and the grey bezel. It's certainly not laughably bad but neither does it disguise its clearly budget construction all that well.
It's a similar story with the build in other areas. The buttons, while nicely positioned and easy to operate have a wobbly and - one hesitates to say - cheap feel.
One notable plus point is the inclusion of a separate wall mount. Just unclip the stand, screw the mounting plate to a wall and slide the device onto the mount. It's held fairly securely and looks pretty good too.
You also get a proper telescopic aerial, rather than a pathetic bit of wire as used on some cheaper radios.
Connectivity is mostly another positive. There's an auxiliary input for plugging in anything from an mp3 player to a TV, both Ethernet and Wi-Fi for all the various network functions and a rather pointless video out phono port (you can theoretically output videos from your iPod or iPhone but as on all such docks the quality is so poor it's not worth bothering with). There's also a USB socket but this is for firmware updates only. The only obvious missing features are a headphone out or any other audio output.